There are many ways to get rid of ant infestations, such as the use of ant baits or insecticides. But some homeowners prefer natural methods. One of the most common natural pest control methods out there is the use of essential oils… But how do you get rid of ants with essential oils?
Are essential oils effective against ants?
Yes, essential oils are effective against ants. And the great thing about essential oils is the fact that they are natural. They don’t contain the toxic chemicals found in ant baits and insecticides that can be risky for you and your family.
Here are the reasons why essential oils are great for these annoying crawlers:
- Ants don’t like the strong smell of essential oils. Essential oils are concentrated extracts from various flowers, plants, and trees. Most of them have strong smells, making them great repellents for bugs, insects, and other pests. Ants are just some of the many pests that don’t like the strong smell of essential oils.
- Strong smells disrupt the ability of the ants to mobilize. Ants leave pheromones behind as they travel around your home looking for resources. These pheromones help their fellow ants to track them down once they find food and water. They are the reason why you always see ants marching in a line. Essential oils mask these pheromones and make them harder to detect, reducing the ants’ ability to mobilize and infest your home.
- Some essential oils are toxic to ants. Citrus oils in particular are deadly for ants. This is because they have d-limonene, a compound that attacks the respiratory system of ants. It destroys the wax coating of the respiratory system and ends up suffocating the ants.
How do you get rid of ants with essential oils?
You get rid of ants with essential oils by disrupting the ants’ ability to move around your home and making them uncomfortable with strong scents.
Some essential oils are more effective than others. The most effective ones for ants are cedarwood, clove, peppermint, tea tree, and the citrus variety like lemon and orange because of their d-limonene content.
You can use the essential oils by themselves or dilute them in water. It will depend on how you are going to spread the essential oils around your home. If you choose to apply the essential oils directly on surfaces, it’s best to use them by themselves. But if you choose to spray the essential oils around, it’s best to dilute them in water.
Making the ant-killing solution
If you choose to spray the essential oils, here is how you should make the DIY ant-killing solution. You will need the following materials:
- Essential oil of your choice
- Spray bottle
Simply mix 10 to 20 drops of the essential oil with 2 cups of water. Put the solution in a spray bottle. It’s that simple.
You can also make a more effective ant-killing solution by combining different kinds of essential oils. Just make sure that the essential oils you use are all effective for ants. Also, you will need to add about a quarter cup of vodka to hold all the essential oils together in the water.
Spreading the ant-killing solution
Spray the ant-killing solution around your home, especially on the spots where you see a lot of ant activity and all possible passageways. Here are some of the most common spots where you may see ants:
- Concrete slabs
- Cracks and holes
- Doors and windows
- Kitchen cabinets
- Kitchen countertops
- Moist areas like bathroom floors
And that is if you choose to use the essential oils with water. As said earlier, you can also use essential oils on their own. For this method, you will only need the following:
- Essential oil of your choice
- Cotton swab
Simply soak the cotton swab with the essential oil and rub it on the surfaces with ant activity and possible passageways.
Whether you choose to spray or swab, you will have to reapply your ant-killing solution multiple times a day. You know it’s time to reapply when its smell is already faint. You can consider this as a disadvantage compared to other pest control methods. Using essential oils takes a lot of effort and time.
Are there safety concerns?
The biggest advantage of natural pest control methods is that they are mostly non-toxic. But they are not perfect. Natural methods are often ineffective against severe infestations. And many times, they only end up repelling instead of actually killing the pests.
Here are some more disadvantages of using essential oils in particular:
- You can have allergic reactions to essential oils. Some people experience skin irritations and other bodily reactions when they get into contact with essential oils, even if the oils are already highly diluted in water. Make sure to wear gloves, masks, and maybe even long-sleeved tops when you are handling essential oils.
- Some pets react negatively to essential oils. Essential oils can be a health risk to your pets too. They can ingest essential oils and experience stomach problems or get into contact with them and suffer from skin irritations. Some pets even get killed because of essential oils. Make sure you are supervising your pets when you are spreading essential oils around your home.
- Essential oils can be toxic when ingested. Essential oils are great when you apply them topically or use them for aromatherapy. But they are not when you ingest them. Make sure you don’t accidentally ingest some when you are using them to get rid of pests.
Get rid of ants with essential oils
Yes, you can get rid of ants with essential oils. Use cedarwood, clove, peppermint, tea tree, or the citrus variety like lemon and orange. Dilute them on water and put them in a spray bottle or use them by themselves and soak them in a swab.
Natural methods such as the use of essential oils are great, but remember that they are not always effective, especially against advanced infestations. And they are not 100% safe too because they can be a health risk for you, your family, and your pets.
If you can’t DIY your way out of your ant problem, don’t hesitate to call a pest control professional.