Ants can be a sign of spring, like crocuses, greener grass and the extra sunlight at the end of the day. These six-legged creatures are among the most common and most widely recognized insect. We hold them up as icons of hard work, and reference them in our children’s fables and cartoons. And while we might smile when we think of those super-powered ants escaping with a picnic basket, we generally cringe when we see the real deal marching across our counter tops and floors.
Ant remedies for the home vary from professionally applied pesticides to commercially available traps. Boric acid and vinegar can also provide home-based solutions, and are found in many well-equipped laundry rooms or pantries.
Many people today, though, prefer herbal solutions that are more human and pet friendly, as well as gentle on the environment. While these solutions don’t necessarily kill ants, they do work as effective deterrents and can keep your home ant-free. What’s more, herbal remedies can be easy on the pocketbook. Many herbs can be grown in your garden or on your kitchen windowsill. The occasional chef will even find a few on the kitchen spice rack.
Essentially, herbal ant repellants work to change the environment for the ants, and make your home an unattractive place to forage for food. They change an area’s scent, or emit a taste that ants deplore. Among the more common herbal ant repellants are:
• Bay leaves
You can sprinkle dried herbs around baseboards and into cracks and crevices. You can also saturate thin strings or thread with essential oils like peppermint, then run the string at entryways and baseboards. Ants find the scent horrid, and will move to another area. After all, they are creatures of comfort like us!
Try placing whole cloves in cabinets, windowsills and crevices. Sprinkles of cinnamon will also add spice to your cabinet, and help keep ants at away. Strategically placed bay leaves behind toasters and canisters, in silverware drawers, or inside cabinets can emit an odor that repulses even the most industrious ant.
Once you’ve fortified your interior, take your natural ant repellant solutions to the great outdoors. Mint is an abundant ground cover, and can flourish in those hard-to-grow places. Start with a patch near your doorway, then around the foundation of your house. Mint provides a welcoming fragrance for you on a breezy day. But for ants, it’s truly odiferous.
Ground cloves and cinnamon can also be applied as dusting powder to nests, cracks and other outdoor traffic areas for ants. You’ll never find your backyard anything less than fragrant, and a great spot for picnics throughout the seasons.