please could someone help me. I poured white vinegar over a small hole where ants where coming out in my patio steps. There was some sand on the step and it started to bubble and fizz. We have been laying MOT one sub base and grano dust which may have gone on to the step also. I just wanted to know if it is safe and whether it is ok to leave.

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    $\begingroup$ What is "MOT one sub base" and "grano dust"? Do you have amazon links or an msds or something? $\endgroup$ – FailureGod Jul 20 '20 at 3:25

MOT Type 1 sub base appears to be made from limestone (which, chemically speaking, is mostly calcium carbonate).

Assuming limestone and vinegar are the only materials present, the relevant reaction is that of calcium carbonate with an acid (vinegar):

$\ce{CaCO3 + 2H+ -> Ca^{2+} + H2O + CO2}$

i.e. Assuming that nothing else is present, the gas is carbon dioxide. You will, however, slightly dissolve the sub base, so pouring large quantities of vinegar down there might not be desirable. And if your surface paving is limestone too, you’ll mark the paving.

  • $\begingroup$ On a non-chemistry note, from a vegetarian who used to have an ant farm as a kid: be nice to your ants. ;-) $\endgroup$ – owjburnham Jul 20 '20 at 7:21
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    $\begingroup$ Ants are not spared while making formic acid ;-) $\endgroup$ – Nilay Ghosh Jul 20 '20 at 8:09
  • $\begingroup$ Heavy CO2 gas likely suffocates ants. So, it was possibly also the CO2 gas that encouraged the ants to escape. $\endgroup$ – AJKOER Jul 20 '20 at 23:56
  • $\begingroup$ @NilayGhosh Historically, true! Not these days though. $\endgroup$ – owjburnham Jul 22 '20 at 6:56

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