Keep Ants at Bay without Using Harmful Insecticides

Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated May 1, 2012)


Perhaps you have a house full of children and several pets, yet you also have ants invading your kitchen. If so, you might be leery of using bug sprays, insecticides, and insect traps. Thousands of children and pets are poisoned each year by ingesting insect repellants and chemicals. If you want to rid your house of ants, try using one or several common foodstuffs you probably already have on hand. Follow these guidelines to discover what to safely use to effectively keep ants away:

  • Since ants have a natural distaste for cucumbers, use them as a natural way to stop them in their tracks. Find where ants enter your home by observing their trail, and then set cucumber peel at their point of entry. Bitter cucumbers work best, since they are pungent. You can also place cucumber slices in a small dish inside of kitchen cupboards to keep ants away, or rub cucumber juice on your countertops.
  • Ants hate peppermint. While you could crush peppermint candy canes and dust your cupboards with the stuff, you'd only be inviting more ants since candy canes also contain an ant delicacy; sugar. Instead, go to your local drug store and purchase peppermint oil. You could use peppermint extract, but peppermint oil is highly concentrated, and a little goes a long way. Use a Q-Tip to dab it anywhere you've seen ant activity. Better yet, douse a few cotton balls with the oil and leave them in drawers, cupboards, along window sills and doorways, and atop counters. Not only will ants head the other way, your home will smell refreshing.
  • You probably have a can of cinnamon in your pantry. Use it to repel ants from your home. They dislike it for two reasons; it's a powder and they don't care for the feel of it in their mandibles, and they dislike the spice odor. Shake plain cinnamon (not cinnamon-and-sugar) into cracks and crevices and ants will not cross the spice. You can also purchase cinnamon oil and, as with the peppermint oil, douse a few cotton balls with it and place them all around your kitchen.

If you use cucumbers, peppermint oil, or cinnamon as an ant repellent, your house will be ant-free, and will smell wonderful. Keep in mind that concentrated food oils can burn your skin since they are highly concentrated. Use caution when using food oils around children and pets. While it won't hurt them to touch the oil, it will hurt if they rub it into their eyes.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...


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What is six more than 5?

2015-06-27 16:57:52


Hi, I have a problem with honey bees around our pool. I found a site that recommended using a spray bottle containing a mix of one quart of water to .25 cup of liquid dish soap. It seemed to drive off some bees but not all of them. Another site said bees don't like peppermint so for the next batch I used a very strong brew of peppermint tea (cooled) instead of plain water. It does seem to be a bit more effective. I'm planning to try a stronger peppermint tea plus a few drops of extract later today. I think the extract will mix better with water than peppermint oil would. Also, I have some extract in the cupboard and I don't have the oil. Just thought I would share this non-toxic solution in case others having a similar insect problem.

2012-05-19 21:12:36


Thank you SO SO VERY MUCH for these tips! I looked at my wall today and it was covered in citronella ants! They looked like they bite...couldnt tell what they were...I tried everything and they just kept coming!! Hundreds! EEEK! Until about an hour ago I saw this and used powdered cinnamon and knock on wood I havent seen anymore in a little over an hour! I cant say thank you enough!!! Sincerly, Christine