In our house, we prefer natural non-toxic ant control. Thankfully, it works. We used to have a huge ant problem. Each spring, an army of insects would invade my kitchen.
But we’re winning the battle. For the last few years, we’ve been seeing fewer and fewer of these pests. I attribute this largely to peppermint essential oil.
How to Use Essential Oils for Pest Control
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Ants, apparently, hate the smell of peppermint. So I make sure to put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on my kitchen sponge, before wiping down my counters.
My kitchen counters don’t have a glossy finish. If they did, I’d test this first in an inconspicuous spot. Peppermint oil is not a problem for my counters. But it seems to be for the ants.
Although I have no hard and fast proof peppermint oil is keeping the ants away, something is. Even my husband has noticed a difference.
Natural Non Toxic Ant Control
I believe it’s vitally important to tell my readers about non-toxic solutions. Every day, we’re exposed to multiple chemicals, including parabens, which mimic the female hormone estrogen.
Parabens are found in a wide range of products. I wish they weren’t. That’s because of concerns these chemicals could be another reason for the current breast cancer epidemic.
Getting Rid of Ants Indoors Without Chemicals
As bad as our ant problem had become, I never wanted to use a chemical insecticide. That’s because these products contain potentially dangerous ingredients. This includes a controversial compound known as piperonyl butoxide, now tentatively linked to developmental abnormalities in children.
Plus, I’m aware that safer, natural ant control options exist. This includes peppermint essential oil, an aromatic that is universally hated by household pests. Mice detest the smell of peppermint, which I’ve used in my own house as a natural rodent deterrent. More good news. Peppermint is also offensive to roaches.
As far as ants are concerned, peppermint essential oil has worked so well for us that I’m not sure anything else was really needed. But we did do a couple of other things, which I describe toward the end of this post.
Peppermint Essential Oil For Ants
Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, during the warmer months, I like to put peppermint essential oil on my kitchen sponge before wiping down my counters. It leaves a nice fresh smell behind. I suspect it smells much stronger to the ants, who seemingly can travel for miles to descend upon a stray food crumb.
This aromatic oil can also be put in a cold air diffuser, which will make your entire room smell heavenly. Another option is to add peppermint essential oil and water to a glass spray bottle. You can then use this mixture to wipe down your kitchen counters. (If you have highly polished counters, first test this on a small spot to make sure it doesn’t ruin the glaze.)
If you can find glass spray bottles locally, you can order them online. It’s important to use glass with essential oils because they have a volatile nature. They will eat away at the plastic they’re store in.
Where To Buy Peppermint Oil For Ants
The brand of peppermint oil I recommend for ant control is made by Now Foods. That’s because it comes in a big bottle, so you won’t be afraid to use it when needed. It’s also a good quality oil, suitable for inhalation or massage.
I like this brand of peppermint essential oil because I can use it both for pest control, as well as personal care. (I use either peppermint, or a blend made with peppermint, when I have a headache.) I rarely buy MLM essential oils, especially for ant control.
Cayenne Pepper For Ants
I also wanted to cut the ants off at the pass. So I sprinkled a bit of pure cayenne pepper on the bottom of my sliding glass door, which leads to my outside deck. This is where I think the ants like to enter.
Cayenne is another natural pest control solution. Ants, apparently, do not like to cross a path strewn with cayenne.
Ants don’t necessarily need top-of-the-line cayenne for ant control. But I like to use a high-quality organic cayenne when I’m cooking. Conventional spices are often irradiated. Since spices have potential health benefits, I want to make sure that I’m buying organic versions, which are not treated with radiation. So, in my house, we use Simply Organic cayenne for cooking.
But you don’t have to use organic cayenne powder for ant control. Any type of cayenne powder will do.
Borax For Ants In House
If any ants happen to cross the cayenne pepper path, and aren’t repelled by the peppermint essential oil I use to wipe down my kitchen counters, they’re still going to meet their demise.
That’s because one year my then-teenage son brought home some non-toxic borax powder and he put it where our kitchen counter meets the wall. We have a wooden baseboard that runs along the counter. Several years ago, he stuffed some borax powder in a small crack that separates the counter from the wood. We haven’t had to apply it again.
He was apparently serious about keeping ants out of the house. So he also made a natural borax trap. (From what I understand, borax consumption leads to fatal dehydration in ants.)
Borax Recipe For Ant Control
The borax trap consisted of a small salad plate with water-moistened sugar in the center. The outside ridge of the plate was coated with powdered borax. He told me to be patient. After a couple of days, I did see a few dead ants in the middle of the dish. I think we would have had more, if he hadn’t already applied borax to the walls. (Plus, I was also using peppermint oil and cayenne pepper.)
However, after doing additional research, I realized we needed to mix 3 parts borax with 1 part sugar, and then add enough water to make a liquid. This liquid can be stored in a clean container, and then used as needed. You could put this ant-killing formula in shallow dish, or in an empty jar lid. Or, you could put it in an area where ants enter your home, such as on the outside of a deck door.
Where to Buy Borax For Ants
Borax is a natural mineral salt. You can probably find it in the grocery store. Or you can also order it online. In addition to non-toxic pest control, borax can also be used in DIY laundry detergent recipes.
Cayenne Pepper for Ant Control
If you have an ant problem, you might as well attack it from a number of angles. In addition to borax and peppermint essential oil, you can also put cayenne pepper on the spots where you think ants enter your house.
Be careful to avoid areas where pets travel. You also want to keep the pepper away from any spots that small children have access to. Cayenne pepper is highly irritating. So you definitely wouldn’t want a child touching a spot treated with cayenne, and then rubbing his or her eye.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.
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