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Kiko Denzer on Art

[Cob] RE: Coblist Digest, Vol 4, Issue 2

claysandstraw kindra at
Thu Jan 5 10:19:39 PST 2006

Hi Robert,

You are correct to have concern with ants.  I have known at least one cob
builder to tear down a significant portion of the wall during construction
in order to remove a colony who had literally dug in.  Here in Texas our
ants make houses in any protected location: tarps carelessly flung on the
ground, flower pots upside down, piles of sand waiting to make cob, cob
ovens over dry stacked foundations.  Therefore when preparing for a project
I take the very important precaution of mortaring the stone/urbanite in the
foundation to close up any potential pathways into the house.  I am not sure
of the behavior of your ants, but ours never enter a house above ground
level, unless of course they build a monster ant pile against the house and
raise the ground level up a bit.
Also you might try mixing boric acid into your first foot or so of cob -
boric acid is non toxic to humans but destroys the digestive enzymes of wood
munching insects such as termites - it might work for ants too.

You might try a test project, a cob oven, see if you can strategize around
the ants.  If they don't bother your oven, a house should be fine.


Date: Tue, 3 Jan 2006 18:51:25 +0100
From: "Robert Matthews" <rob at>
Subject: RE: [Cob] re: ants??

Hi Tys and all
I am planning a cob house in an area considered by some, due to the
enormous number of ants, to be a very large ant hill.  It's actually a
mountain range, the Sierra Nevada,  in Spain. Nevertheless the ant
problem does worry me as every house I have been in around here has ants
in the summer. These houses are of a more conventional or traditional
build - including stone/mud or brick/cement - yet they all fail to keep
the ants out. We don't mind the odd family coming to stay in the summer
- it has its bonuses but I don't want them making huge colonies in the
walls and causing the house to fall down.
If anyone has experience of building an ant ridden area do speak up.
Many thanks