Nobody wants ants in their home, but everyone deals with them at some point. The summer heat is essentially a giant invitation for ants to come inside the home. That doesn’t mean your home is filthy; rather, it just proves that ants have a willpower to survive. Typically, people use chemical ant treatments to get rid of these pests, but spraying them increases the presence of harmful pesticides and chemicals in the home. Fortunately, there is another way to get rid of ants.
Before you reach for the natural alternative to chemical sprays and traps, you have to make the home unappealing to ants. Check kitchen cabinets and pantry shelves for crumbs or open food sources and seal them up if they aren’t infested. Keep the sink and food preparation areas clean and free of food scraps or waste. Check the baseboards, windows, and doors and seal them up with the appropriate caulk. Lastly, wash the insides of garbage bins or recycling containers and keep pet bowls free of food.
Essential Oils Repel Ants
Believe it or not, essential oils help repel ants because they have powerful aromas. The strong fragrances are pungent and ants don’t like them because they interfere with pheromones that ants use for coordination. Essential oils basically mask pheromone trails, and that deters ants from entering the home. You cannot just use any essential oil, though. There are specific essential oils that are more effective than others. Some of the most effective ones are detailed below.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is high in menthol, which is beneficial for sore throats, headaches, and clogged nasal passageways. It is also an effective ant eliminator because they dislike the minty aroma. Some studies found that it also repels lice, mosquitos, fleas, moths, and spiders.
Citronella Essential Oil
Mosquitos, spiders, and ants all hate citronella. The aroma confuses their navigation, making it impossible for ants to coordinate. Laboratory tests found that citronella essential oil effectively killed 50% of the ants within 30 minutes after they encountered it. Furthermore, it killed 100% of the ants after 24 hours.
Clove Essential Oil
You have to be careful when using clove essential oil because too much can harm human senses. This is why you must properly dilute it before using it in the home. Similar to peppermint essential oil, clove essential oil interferes with pheromone trails that ants use to coordinate their movements. Several studies found that it is also effective at killing ants when sprayed on them.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is very similar to citronella, which is effective against mosquitos and ants. According to anecdotal reports, it also works to repel ants. It’s also included in various insect-repelling candles, which confirms its efficacy against ants. Apply this to an area that ants have infested and they’ll be out of there or dead within a day.
Tea Tree Oil
Last, but certainly not least, is tea tree oil. Not only can tea tree oil eliminate the scent of ant trails and put a halt to infestations, but the oil can also kill ants when they encounter it. The combination of tea tree oil with peppermint essential oil suppresses scents and kills ants within 24 hours.
DIY Ant-Killing Spray
- 6 drops each citronella, clove, eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint essential oils
- Distilled water
- 8-ounce spray bottle
- Remove the nozzle from the spray bottle and add six drops of each essential oil to it.
- Fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water, screw on the top, and shake to combine.
- Make sure that you shake the bottle before each use. You can spray this near windows, doors, or any place that you see ants.
- Spray as often as necessary.