What Smells Do Ants Hate: Basic DIY Insect Repellents

What smells do ants hate? If you are looking for this information, most likely, the insect situation in your garden is out of control. On the one hand, ants are harmless and do good things for your garden. For example, they help branches decompose faster and fertilize the soil. On the other hand, too many ants lead to hung soil acidity, which can harm some plants. Homeowners most dislike when ants occupy the dining area in the yard or settle under the porch. You can use humane methods to keep them off your property.

Scents That Ants Hate

What do ants not like? They hate pungent odors that harm their sense of smell. Don’t rush to buy aggressive ant repellents. They can be toxic to you and your pets. However, among the smells we find pleasant, some make the pests more likely to flee away. Here is the list of remedies for the treatment of ants in the home and yard.

Citrus fruits

The smell of citrus can mask the odor of ant trails and bring them down, all thanks to the acidic oil d-limonene. Lemon juice for ants in intense concentration has an unpleasant odor and can kill pests on contact.

Citrus peel

Since lemon juice repels ants, the peels can be an alternative to it. They can be even more effective than juice, as the peels contain the highest concentration of a toxic substance for ants.

Lemongrass essential oil

This essential oil has a pleasant smell, and people typically use it to scent the room. However, this smell scares away ants and masks their own odor. This oil should be effective because it contains citral and citronella, which are used as repellents against all insects.

Vinegar

If your question is “What do ants hate most?”, it’s undoubtedly vinegar. The smell of vinegar is very pungent and repels ants. It affects the insects’ sense of smell. If an ant can’t perceive smells, it can’t find food and dies.

Coffee grounds

This remedy deters ants not so much by its smell as by its texture. You can put ground coffee or leftover coffee from the coffee machine where you don’t want them to see it. The insects will not like walking on such a surface and will avoid it.

Peppermint oil

This essential oil has a pungent smell that insects don’t like. It masks the ants’ tracks, and they become disoriented. A large concentration of peppermint oil can kill the pest.

Cucumbers

Opinions on the effectiveness of cucumbers vary from person to person. If there are no other remedies, you can place cucumber peels where ants congregate. Ants don’t like the smell. In addition, cucumbers contain a substance that can kill bacteria that pests love so much.

Chalk/baby powder

This product blocks the odors of ants and throws them off. If you draw a line with chalk in the place where ants move, once they reach it, they will lose their trail and will not be able to move on.

Cayenne powder & black pepper

What smells do ants not like? That was a question my neighbor once asked me. I advised her to use simple spices available in every kitchen. These products will not harm ants but will frighten them with their smell. Like other strong-smelling products, pepper blocks the scent of ant pheromones.

Tea tree oil

The smell of tea tree oil is also a repellent to ants, like peppermint oil. Pests hate the smell and can’t get near it.

Lemon eucalyptus oil

This oil contains citronella, which repels mosquitoes. Experimental results confirm that this substance is effective in the control of ants.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus

The name of the oil is similar to the previous one, but it has a different chemical composition. It contains the chemical PMD, which is used in many insect control products.

Cinnamon leaf essential oil

Does cinnamon get rid of ants? This is a question I have repeatedly received from housewives who are looking for a natural, strong-smelling remedy. I can say yes, it does. Moreover, this smell is dangerous for pests because it blocks their sense of smell.

Thyme

The plant has antifungal and antibacterial properties. That is one of the reasons why it is effective in repelling ants. However, this smell does not thrill the insects.

Chrysanthemum

These flowers can not only decorate your garden and make it cozier but also protect it from ants. Chrysanthemums contain the neurotoxin Pyrethrin, which is deadly to insects.

Lavender

People like its pungent aroma which has a calming effect. But do ants hate lavender? Yes, this plant contains a substance called linalool. It masks the ants’ pheromones, which they leave behind to communicate with other ants.

Rue

Like peppermint and the other plants I have mentioned above, rue has a strong repellent odor. It also masks the aroma of pheromones.

Rosemary

The smell of rosemary is capable of masking other scents. Thus, this plant will cause the ant to become disoriented, as it will not manage to find its trail.

Mint

The pungent smell of peppermint repels ants. Peppermint has always been used as an effective insect repellent because it can even kill in high concentrations.

Basil

This fragrant herb is an effective pest repellent because of its high concentration of aromatic oils. Make a basil decoction and sprinkle it in the garden and around the house.

How to Use Certain Smells From Ants

Now you know what smell keeps ants away. Most of the listed remedies do not require any special preparation. Stick to these tips to make your repellent.

  • Citrus juice. To make a solution, take three parts water and one part juice. Mix them and spray them with a sprayer.
  • Citrus peels. You can simply put them near the house, between the plants in the garden, and so on.
  • Essential oils. You can make a solution by adding a few drops of water. You can also soak cotton pads in oil and place them in the house or yard.
  • Herbs. You can chop basil and rosemary into small pieces, so they begin to emit an odor and leave the plants in places where you do not want to let ants in.
  • Peppermint, lavender, chrysanthemums. You can plant these plants around the perimeter of your yard.
  • Pepper, coffee. Spread enough around your yard to keep ants out.

If Nothing Works

If you need a more aggressive repellent than a natural one, you can look for one at a hardware store. Be aware that some repellents might be toxic to you, animals, and children. If you plan to use them in the garden where fruits or vegetables grow, make sure that the product won’t poison the plants.

You can buy a special spray and spread it locally in places where pests congregate. Some baits contain poison. When an ant comes to eat, it will take poisoned food with it and bring it to other ants.

FAQ: What Do Ants Hate Most?

What scent repels ants? If you are looking for a quick answer to your question, you will find it in this section.

What smell can kill ants?

Smells such as cinnamon can kill insects. The reason is that ants move around looking for food, so their sense of smell is their most powerful sense. Cinnamon deters ants because it can block the pests’ sense of smell. They can’t get food and die.

What kills ants instantly and naturally?

A strong vinegar solution can cause an ant to die instantly. Also, insects are killed immediately by contact with boiling water.

What scent keeps ants away?

If you don’t want to exterminate ants but keep them away from your home, you can use strong-smelling herbs such as basil or rosemary. Citrus and tea tree oil and other essential oils are also good remedies.

Don’t Let Ants Bother You

Ants are rarely a big problem for homeowners. In most cases, there is no need to call a service that will exterminate the insects. Even the use of poisonous substances is the last resort. The spread of ants is much easier to prevent. Don’t leave food scraps in the yard because ants will come to your property to eat. Thoroughly wipe down the table outside where you eat after each meal. Even a drop of jam can pick up ants on your table. But you have a long list of effective remedies if ants bother you.

Have you ever had an ant infestation in your yard? Which remedies have you used to deal with them?

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Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years. More about Nick

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