Ants vs. Essential Oils

Can Essential Oils Help Get Rid of Ants?

Ants are some of the tiniest and most persistent pests around!

And though we admire their work ethic—we draw the line when they invade our kitchens, pantries, bathrooms, and homes!

Fortunately, there are several essential oils that can help either kill or otherwise keep ants out of your home.

All you need is the right oils, a few common household items, and a little know-how, and you live ant-free!

Driving Ants Away with Essential Oils

Ants hardly ever venture anywhere where they cannot lay down a pheromone trail (a sort of breadcrumb trail of smell that ants use to find their way). This is why you so often see a group of ants following the same path!

To keep ants out, all you have to do is use your essential oils to erase those pheromone trails and/or prevent them from being laid down! This way, the ants won’t be able to create a path into your home.

This is most often done with a solution made up of 0.5-5% essential oils and 95-99.5% carrier—often distilled water, vinegar, witch hazel, vodka, or castile soap.

However, some like to put the oil (especially peppermint oil) directly onto a cotton ball and smear it along the baseboards to keep ants from entering the house.(Note that this approach should be used cautiously in homes with infants, small children, and pets who might encounter the oil you have laid down.)

Top oils for Ant-Spray Solutions: 

Peppermint

Citrus

Clove

Tea Tree

Dilution Guide for Essential Oils and Solution
Dilution Guide for Essential Oils and Solution

Killing Ants with Essential Oils

Many essential oils have been seen to kill as well as repel ants. Some have even been professionally studied (Wiltz 2007, Albuquerque 2013) for their ant-killing abilities.

Unfortunately, the minimum concentration needed for an essential oil to prove deadly to ants is rarely included and probably varies from oil to oil.

Top oils for Ant-Killer Solutions: 

Tea Tree

Cinnamon Leaf

Eucalyptus

Clove

Patchouli

Citronella

Extra Tips for Dealing with Ants

  • If you can, find where the ants are getting into the house (crawling in from behind a baseboard, pipe conduits, etc). Spray your repellant on or set your traps as close as possible to the ants’ point of entry as possible.
  • To protect houseplants and pet food bowls from ant invasions, set them in a shallow water dish. The idea is to create a moat that the ants won’t be able to cross.
  • Identify what is attracting the ants (sugar, certain household oils, etc) and use preventative measures (airtight containers, localized cleaning, bay leaves, baking soda, etc.) to keep them away.

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