I’m more tolerant of insects in my house than most people. I’m the guy you’ll find either casually ignoring spiders in the corner of the room in the winter or kindly taking them outside when the weather is nice. The occasional scutigera (the “eyebrow bug”) running across the house does not even bother me.
At some point, however, you’ve got to acknowledge when you’ve got a problem. When an army of ants have formed a military column straight to your cupboard, with the intent of emptying it of anything and everything sweet, it’s time to figure out what to do.
I understand that most people don’t think twice about laying an ant trap. As a vegan, not only do I find this inhumane, the poison can be hazardous to pets and children.
I will always find the most humane way to deal with animal problems. The fact killing is the most common way to deal with pests does not mean that cruelty-free methods cannot be just as effective. Rather, it says more about our society that the first solution that comes to mind is to kill. There is always a better way if you care to look.
In the past, I have dealt with ants by laying down cinnamon over the areas where the ants are entering. This worked fantastically in my old bachelor apartment when I was a student, but I desired a less messy solution.
I read about peppermint oil working the same way that cinnamon does. Essentially ants have an extreme dislike for cinnamon and mint because the strong scents interfere with their pheromone communication. Ants cannot communicate and navigate properly in their presence.
Mint is not only helpful at banishing ants, it also makes your house smell fresh and has been shown to enhance concentration and memory. It really is a fantastic solution!
You can find peppermint oil for about $8 dollars in many natural food stores. There are a couple of great ways to use it.
If you’d like to cover a wide area, or if you aren’t sure exactly where the ants are entering your home, you can mix a little mint oil with some water in a small spray bottle. You can keep this bottle in the kitchen and re-spray every couple of days to keep the kitchen smelling nice and ants at bay.
Another technique is to pour a few drops of the oil on cotton balls and keep them in your cupboards, or near entry points.
Finally, you can smear a little of the oil with your hands near the exact spot they are entering if this area is inconspicuous and will not stain.
You’ll be amazed at how well this method works. Within a day or two you will notice the ant activity drop to near zero. Give it a try!