The weather around here has been amazing lately. This past weekend is was a sunny 75 degrees F outside (that’s about 23 degrees Celsius). That’s winter in California for you. Unfortunately, with the weather heating up, it means BUGS!
Honestly, I don’t mind bugs too much when they stay outside. That’s their home, their source of food and water, so I’m fine with sharing my outside spaces with them. I can’t stand it though, when their are bugs in my house (particularly ants). Recently there has been a ton and I can’t for the life of me figure out what the ants are going after. They seem to be hanging out on our dining room table, bookshelf and on my nightstand, none of which have food present. The most annoying thing, however, is when I was walking my son around and noticed an ant about to crawl into his eye.
I’m not a huge fan of commercial bug sprays or ant traps. I try to do no harm to any living thing; not to mention they can cause some major damage if a child or another animal were to ingest it.
1. Keep clutter and open containers of food to a minimum – Although this may seem like a no brainer, eliminating things that ants are interested in is the easiest tactic. This means putting leftovers away promptly, keeping tabs on dishes, cleaning breast pump parts and putting fruit bowls in the fridge. That last one was hard for me since I love looking at a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter.
2. Live Plants – This one works the best for an outdoor garden, but can also be helpful around doorways as well. Consider adding live plants to your decorations. Herbs such basil, mint, or rosemary are all great choices. Plus, they can be quite tasty in cooking. Win win!
3. Chalk – If you know where the ants are coming from, you can draw a line of chalk across the threshold which naturally deters them. I actually haven’t tried this one, but I have heard such good things about it, I thought it would be worth mentioning.
4. Vinegar – Vinegar (either white or apple cider) repels ants and masks their scent trails. Place it in a spray bottle and spray onto doorways and known entrances to help repel ants. Using in conjunction with essential oils amplifies this effect.
5. Essential Oils – One of my favorite ways to deter ants is with essential oils. Black pepper, tea tree, cinnamon, clove, citrus, eucalyptus and peppermint are all good options. I find that peppermint oil works the best for all household. I simply place a few drops on a cottonball, and rub down any areas I don’t want ants to be. I’ll also place the cottonballs in our cabinets where food is stored for an extra boost. Just make sure to keep out of reach of pets – ingestion of essential oils (particularly eucalyptus,tea tree and peppermint essential oils) can be fatal. DoTerra makes a blend of essential oils called Purify that contains lemon eucalyptus, citronella, and lemongrass that may help to protect against environmental threats. I love diffusing it in my problem areas. You can purchase it at my DoTerra shop.
Note: If used as a spray, I recommend spraying the area rather than the ants themselves as some essential oils can harm ants.
Ants can be a very annoying problem, but there are a lot of natural remedies to prevent them from taking over your life. Sometimes one thing will work, but other times several different options need to be used in conjunction with one another. So try a few methods and see what works.
Do you have any tried and true methods to repel insects? Share in the comments below.