The world wouldn’t exist without insects – but that’s not to say that we want them inside our homes. If you’re dealing with an ant issue, you might be wondering how you can safely get rid of them, and which natural, non-toxic options are best.
Tea tree oil is one of the most effective ant repellents. While most humans enjoy the smell of this oil, ants can’t stand it. To get rid of ants using tea tree oil, follow the steps below:
- Add up to 10 drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle and fill with water.
- Shake the bottle, then spritz around the ant-ridden areas.
- The ants should clear the area immediately.
Alternatively, you can soak cotton wool balls in tea tree oil and put them in the cracks, crevices and gaps that ants are using to get into your home. The smell of the oil will deter the ants from taking their usual routes, and they’re less likely to return after a few days.
When using tea tree oil to repel ants, make sure to keep the tea tree oil away from your pets, especially cats, as tea tree oil is toxic to animals.
Why does Tea Tree Oil Kill Ants?
Tea tree oil doesn’t only repel ants – it also kills them. When ants pick up the oil, they can then carry it back to their nests and contaminate their food sources. Tea tree oil acts as a poison to ants, and should kill them almost immediately.
Simply spraying tea tree oil directly into ants’ nests should kill off your home’s unwanted inhabitants deter ants from returning in the future.
What other Essential Oils are Bad for Ants?
Not got any tea tree oil in your cupboards? You may have another suitable essential oil that you can use instead.
Peppermint and citrus oil are also effective ant repellents. Again, fill a clean spray bottle with water and up to 10 drops of citrus oil or peppermint oil. Then shake the bottle and spray the solution around your home. You’ll get two benefits in one – you’ll repel ants and refresh your home with a nice-smelling air freshener.
Cedarwood, cinnamon and patchouli essential oils also work as ant repellents. Lemongrass oil won’t repel ants, but its high citronellal content will mask ant trails to food sources, reducing the occurrence of ant picnic parties in your kitchen.
How to Prevent Ants from Returning
Once you kill or ward off ants with tea tree oil (or another essential oil of your choice), you need to make sure they’re not enticed to come back.
If it’s safe to do so, you can continue spraying the oil around your home and plugging entrances with oil-soaked cotton buds. It’s also important to clear up any food spillages before ants can get to them, and lock away any sugary foods in airtight containers.
Ants are attracted to your food sources, so the harder you can make it for ants to get to these foods, the better. Ants even go after pet food, so try to limit how long your pet’s kibble is sitting out for.
Using essential oils instead of commercial or chemical products to repel ants is much kinder to the environment. It’s also far safer to use natural oils, which won’t cause respiratory irritation as some chemical products can.
Just keep in mind that essential oils can also be toxic to pets, so it’s important to be very careful not to allow your pets to sniff or lick an aera that has been sprayed.