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7 Essential Oils For Ants: Naturally Repel & Kill (Mint, Clove, Lemongrass…)

So you have some ants in your kitchen? Most ants aren’t harmful, but they are annoying. Using essential oil to repel ants is a natural and expensive method. Here’s what essential oils repel ants.

The best essential oils for ants include cinnamon, lemongrass, clove, peppermint, thyme, patchouli, and cedarwood. Some of these repel ants, others will kill them. Essential oils mask ant pheromones to interrupt ant trails and help ants out of your house. Ants have exceptional odorant receptors.

essential oils for ants

Once you see a line of ants in your kitchen, it’s time to learn how to stop the pests from entering. Thankfully there are many ways to naturally keep ants outside without resorting to harsh and dangerous chemicals.

Using an ant repellent spray made from plants that naturally repel ants is one of the best ways to get rid of ants. Below you’ll learn about this product, how it works, and what are seven essential oils to repel ants from your home.

Why Are Ants Affected by Essential Oils?

Ants have one of the most highly-developed senses of smells among insects. They have four to five times more odor receptors than most fellow insects, which makes them highly susceptible to being affected by strong smells.

They found the industrious insects have genes that make about 400 distinct odorant receptors, special proteins that detect different odors. 
By comparison, silk moths have 52, fruit flies have 61, mosquitoes range from 74 to 158 and the honeybee has 174.

Vanderbilt University
essential oils to get rid of ants

Few smells are stronger than pure essential oils. Ants are attracted to many plants and fragrances, but several plants have oils and toxins to keep ants off – making them prime candidates to produce essential oils useful at keeping ants out of your home.

7 Essential Oils For Ants: Naturally Repel

Here are seven essential oils to repel ants.

  1. Cinnamon
  2. Lemongrass
  3. Clove
  4. Peppermint
  5. Thyme
  6. Patchouli
  7. Cedarwood

1. Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon has long been used as an insect repellant. It has a strong scent, and if used in powdered form, it can suffocate ants.

Powdered cinnamon is also easily blown away and made ineffective by rain making it an ineffective choice unless you plan to regularly monitor the area and constantly reapply.

Durability is one of the things that makes essential oils more effective than their herb and powder counterparts. Liberally apply cinnamon oil along paths where ants are entering your home, and leave it to do its job.

Wind won’t blow the essential oil away, it can repel water, and the strong scent will have ants turning away to find their next meal somewhere else.

2. Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass essential oil is perfect to use when you notice a specific place and path ants use to get into your home. The essential oil contains high levels of citral, a substance heavily-marketed as an insect repellant.

Citronella has a strong smell, but the scent alone isn’t how lemongrass essential oil keeps ants out of your home.

Ants give off powerful pheromones and mark their path to your home and where they got in with these chemicals that tell other ants this is where they should go. Lemongrass essential oil is especially adept at masking those pheromones to help keep your house ant-free.

3. Clove Oil

Clove is another essential oil that works to repel ants on multiple fronts. The strong smell will help repel ants sensitive to strong scents, but clove essential oil also contains a natural pesticide.

Eugenol is a compound derived from cloves found in many commercial pesticides. The amount of eugenol in clove essential oil won’t be enough to kill insects on contact, but it should easily make ants uncomfortable enough through smell and touch so they quickly turn around and look for dinner elsewhere.

Clove oil is also proven to be an effective wasp repellent.

4. Peppermint

Peppermint essential oil is a classic scent humans love – ants not so much. The essential oil is a great ant repellant due to its strong scent aggravating their senses.

Studies have shown that peppermint essential oil not only repels ants but is also toxic to fire ants.

Introducing the oil to a fire ant nest causes the ants to abandon their home. So after you take care of applying oil to the spots of your home ants can get in and apply some to any nests around your home for a natural and effective way to repel them from your yard.

Peppermint has been shown in studies to be effective at repelling gnats and cockroaches.

5. Thyme

Thyme essential oil is a popular insect repellant due to its concentration of thymol. This volatile organic compound is used in many situations, from keeping ants out of a single household to treating large apiaries for bee-killing mites.

The amount of thymol in thyme essential oils isn’t on the same scale as the product used in commercial applications, but it is worth noting the potency of thyme and its effects on insects.

Liberally apply this essential oil to entrances to your home and anywhere else you find ants to keep them at bay.

6. Patchouli

Patchouli essential oil not only invokes memories for those who lived through the 70s but is also a very effective ant repellent and insecticide.

Patchouli is a popular component of many commercial insecticides. Essential oils effective at killing insects aren’t typically as effective as repellants due to not maintaining their potency over longer periods.

So while patchouli essential oil can be used as a repellent, it is recommended to use directly on ants in cases of large infestations.

7. Cedarwood

Cedarwood essential oil is a popular insect repellant due to its effectiveness and pleasant-to-humans smell. Cedarwood has been used to make chests and other containers to store precious clothing, paper, and other goods for thousands of years due to the wood’s proven ability to keep insects out.

Just a few drops of this essential oil on a cotton ball placed at entry points into your home can keep ants on the outside while keeping the inside of your home smelling great.

If you already have an infestation within your home, you can use this oil in a diffuser to make the ants leave while making your home smell great.

Learn more about using essential oils as a bug repellent.

what essential oils repel ants

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are plant extracts made by pressing or steaming plant parts such as leaves, flowers, or bark to gather the plant’s oils. These oils are often-gathered for their fragrance properties, but essential oils serve many functions.

Many claim essential oils possess health benefits, while others enjoy diffusing them into mist simply because they like the smell. Essential oils are used for many reasons by people across the world – including deterring unwanted pests in the home.

Note: Before using a specific essential oil, make sure that it’s safe to use around your children and pets. And that it won’t damage your furniture, decking, or nearby plants.

Here’s how to get rid of carpenter ants and sugar ants.

what essential oils repels ants

Keep reading: 28 Animals that Eat Ants

Enjoy an Ant-Free Home with Essential Oils

Ants belong outside, away from kitchens and our kid’s sandboxes. All of these seven essential oils to repel ants can be used to help deter ants from entering your home.

Essential oils are a great way to naturally serve this purpose and are also safer for you and your family than most commercial options.

Take note of the oils that also serve as an insecticide if you have an active infestation, and repelling is no longer an option.