Did you know that ants hate peppermint oil? This aromatic extract is also offensive to rats, mice, roaches and other pests.
So it’s possible to use peppermint oil, as well as other essential oils, around your home and garden, instead of potentially dangerous chemicals, if you want to keep these critters away.
This is a followup to an earlier article I wrote on how to use peppermint essential oil to discourage mice from coming inside. That is one of my most popular posts, because it offers a non-toxic solution to these pests. (Unfortunately, this post was written from the perspective of personal experience.)
I’ve also used essential oils to keep ants off the kitchen counter. Each spring, an army of ants used to invade my kitchen. This hasn’t happened in the last couple of years. We still get a few. But I like to think we’re keeping most of them away with an easy natural solution.
Peppermint Essential Oil and Ants
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Here’s what I do for ants, during the warm months of the year. About once a week, I put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a wet kitchen sponge. Then I use this to wipe down my counters. Although I can’t prove that’s what’s keeping the ants away, it does seem to help.
Further in this article, I’ll talk about how to use essential oils to keep mice outside, instead of inside. Peppermint essential oil is considered one of the best natural rodent remedies. I’ve also used fir needle oil to prevent mice from coming into a food bin I have in the basement.
Non Toxic Pest Control With Essential Oils
Plants contain natural insecticides. So they serve as deterrents to insects, spiders and even roaches. It’s also possible to find non-toxic mosquito spray made with essential oils. (If you already own an essential oil collection, you can also make your own non-toxic mosquito spray.)
Mosquitoes are blood suckers. This is why they pierce our skin and help themselves to a free meal. Although these bugs receive nourishment from others sources, they especially like the nutrients in human blood. Some species are entirely dependent upon blood. Without it, they won’t produce any eggs, to ensure a new generation of those nasty critters.
Natural Non-Toxic Mosquito Control
How do mosquitoes find their prey? They are guided partly by chemistry. This is why they gravitate more toward someone who is sweaty, instead of a person who’s just stepped out of a shower. This is why swarms of mosquitoes will descend upon you if you’re doing manual labor outdoors in warm weather.
There’s also evidence that these critters prefer people with certain types of blood. For some reason, mosquitoes like to drink the blood of a woman who is pregnant.
The idea behind bug repellent is to introduce an “offensive” smell (at least as far as the mosquitoes are concerned). Citronella and eucalyptus are two plants that mosquitoes seem to particularly detest. That’s why various aromatic insect shield blends have come onto the market. The ones you see below are made by Plant Therapy, a company that makes incredible essential oils, and doesn’t sell them through multilevel marketing channels.
Essential Oils to Keep Mosquitoes Away
The Nature Shield Synergy Blend on the left contains citronella, eucalyptus, cedarwood, lemongrass, lavender, May Chang, tea tree, patchouli and catnip essential oils.
The KidSafe Shield Me Synergy Blend on the right is made with citronella, grapefruit, geranium, rosalina and patchouli oils. The KidSafe label means it’s safe to use with children between the ages of 2 and 10. These blends could be used on the skin if you mix them with a carrier oil, such as olive or grapeseed oil. You can also use them to make your own DIY mosquito spray. (Keep reading and I’ll tell you how.)
The Problem with Commercial Insect Repellent
During summer, when mosquitoes are out, many people instinctively reach for a can of insect repellent. Although this might keep the critters at bay, this doesn’t happen without a cost.
One of the active ingredients found in many of these products is a chemical known as N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, otherwise known as DEET. This solvent has been linked to an increased incidence of seizures. It’s also been found that outdoor workers exposed to this chemical, for prolonged periods of time, complained of neurological symptoms and sleep disturbances.
Natural Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away
Although chemical repellents may be appropriate for areas where malaria, or other mosquito-transmitted diseases is a problem, you may want to rethink its use if you live in a temperate climate, and you merely want to keep bugs away from your backyard barbecue.
Safer, natural alternatives exist. You can buy natural bug sprays with plant-based ingredients. Or, you can easily make your own mosquito spray.
Natural Insect Repellent With Essential Oil
Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, mosquitoes hate essential oils. That’s because plants contain their own natural insecticides, and essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts.
There are numerous recipes for insect repellents floating around on the Internet, with different combinations of oils. Here is a very easy recipe, which I plan to use myself this year, with some of the leftover thieves blend oil I bought for cold and flu season.
Homemade Remedies to Keep Mosquitoes Away
Take an empty plastic spray bottle and fill it 3/4 to the top with water.
Add 50 drops of Nature Shield Synergy Blend (It’s available here)
Fill the rest of the bottle with alcohol-free witch hazel (It’s available here)
Store this mixture away from heat and light and use as needed. If you plan to use it on children, you should substitute the KidSafe Shield Me Synergy Blend for the Nature Shield Synergy Blend.
Essential Oils That Keep Mice Away
Peppermint oil has gained a reputation as a mice deterrent. As much as I don’t like to admit it, we did have a rodent problem in our basement. That’s partly because we used our basement to store food, and mice had easy access.
Once we realized we had a serious problem, I started using peppermint oil as well as fir oil to deter these pests. I do think these helped. But, since our problem was more entrenched, we had to use an electronic rat zapper, along with essential oils, to eradicate these little beasts.
From what I can see, essential oils probably work best as a deterrent. So you may want to think about putting some cotton balls soaked with peppermint oil in places where you think mice might want to enter.
Does Peppermint Oil Deter Roaches?
Although I can’t promise that any product or essential oil will solve your particular pest problem, I do like to pass along potentially useful information.
Peppermint oil is also considered good for keeping roaches away. I would maybe recommend putting a few drops on your kitchen mop, when you wash your floor. However, I would also test this aromatic in a corner of the room to make sure it doesn’t harm your finish. Essential oils are very strong, which is why they’re so effective.
You can also make your own non-toxic roach spray by adding 20 drops of peppermint essential oil to 1 cup of water, along with a tablespoon of white vinegar. (Or, you can double this amount. Put it in a small plastic spray bottle and use as needed.
Essential Oils to Get Rid of Fleas
In our house, we’re totally committed to non-toxic pest control. This even extends to our dog. I like to think that one of the reasons are dog is so healthy, even though he’s 16, is because we’ve limited his exposure to toxic chemicals. Never once have we put a chemical flea product on his body, nor have we used a flea collar. Instead, we use natural essential oils on his collar.
However, please check with your own vet before using essential oils on your own pet, and don’t use these aromatics with a pregnant or nursing female, or with young puppies. I’m not an animal healthcare expert, so I can’t give medical advice. All I can do is share my own personal experience of keeping fleas away with essential oils.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. People with health concerns should discuss them with a doctor. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils, unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.