Peppermint oil for ants - it’s not just a nice garnish to add to their cup of tea.
Peppermint is a potent pest repellent and it can work wonders when it comes to getting rid of ants in your home.
But how does peppermint oil work - and is it really that effective?
Here’s what you need to know.
Peppermint oil is an essential oil derived from the peppermint plant (which is a cross between spearmint and watermint).
This oil is often used in things like cosmetics and soaps.
It’s also used in cooking and can be taken orally for a
variety of health conditions.
Of course, peppermint oil is also an incredibly powerful pest repellant.
Although we love the minty-fresh aroma of peppermint, most pests (including ants) do not.
It’s no secret that store-bought chemical insect repellants can be very effective when it comes to getting rid of ants.
They also work quite quickly.
However, they also pose various problems to homeowners.
For one, these products can also harm other insects that you might not want to get rid of - such as pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Most pesticides don’t discriminate when it comes to the pests they target.
They’ll kill everything.
Some chemicals can be harmful in that they are
toxic to humans and pets, too.
Peppermint oil gets rid of ants in a different way.
Instead of killing them outright, it prevents them from being attracted to your home in the first place.
Because of this, peppermint oil is the ideal choice for pest control in kitchens, bathrooms, and other indoor areas.
Ants typically come into your home looking for either sweet or greasy (sometimes both) particles of food.
Kitchens are prime targets, as are places where pet food is stored.
Scout or worker ants will come into your home through tiny crevices and cracks, including the small gaps around windows and doors.
Once they lock onto a good source of food, the workers will return to the nest.
They’ll leave behind an invisible trail of pheromones meant for other ants to follow.
Then, more and more ants will arrive in your house looking for food.
These feeding patterns mean that the only way
to get rid of ants successfully is to get rid of their food source - and to
prevent them from being attracted into your home.
The problem that many people face is that even long after they’ve cleaned up the food or mess that originally invited the ants in, they keep having ants come inside because the pheromone trails still remain.
Peppermint oil can throw them off by masking the pheromone trails.
It doesn’t kill the ants but instead makes it difficult for them to find their way.
Eventually, they’ll stop coming inside.
You'll need to be patient when you use peppermint oil to get rid of ants.
It can take some time to completely eliminate the pheromone trails and stop ants from coming into your house.
Because of this, many people choose to use additional essential oils in conjunction with peppermint oil so that they can both kill and repel ants.
An example is citrus oil or tea tree oil.
Plus, it’s important that you identify the species of ant you are dealing with before attempting any kind of treatment.
Ants are attracted to different types of food so it can be tough to eliminate them without being aware of their habits first.
To get rid of ants, you will need to first remove their food source.
Store food items in closed containers and clean up any spills, grease, or mess as soon as you notice them.
If you can, try to identify where the scent trail that the ants might be following is.
Remember, ants rely on chemical signs to find food and their nests, so cleaning up the trail with soap and water is the first step you must take to get rid of these pests.
After you've done that (you can skip that step if you’re unable to locate the trail), you can put out peppermint oil.
Using peppermint oil for ants will mess with the chemical trail and make it difficult for ants
to come back inside.
Mix two to three tablespoons of peppermint oil with a quart of distilled water.
You can also use a half and half ratio of 50% distilled water and 50% high-proof alcohol (like vodka), which will make it easier for the essential oil to be disrupted.
Apply the oil liberally in areas where ants have been known to frequent.
You might wish to do a small spot test first to make sure it doesn’t damage surfaces.
Spray the mixture along sinks, baseboards, doors, windows, and various cracks and crevices.
If you want a more potent solution, you can always soak cotton balls with peppermint oil and place them in potential entry points, too.
You can buy peppermint oil for ants in a variety of places.
Some grocery stores sell peppermint extract, but be aware that this is not the same thing and will not be as effective since it is not as concentrated as peppermint oil.
Only peppermint oil will help get rid
You can purchase pure peppermint oil for ants online as well as at most health food stores.
There are other essential oils besides peppermint oil for ants that are toxic or work to repel ants in a manner similar to peppermint oil.
If you’re not sold on peppermint oil (or are looking for something else to combine it with), you may want to consider essential oils such as citrus oil or tea tree oil.
Cedarwood and cinnamon essential oils are two other awesome options that not only make your home smell great, but are highly effective at getting rid of ants.
Give these essential oils a try - and put peppermint oil at the top of your list!
You won’t regret it (but the ants certainly will).