DIY Ant repellent
If you battle sugar ants in your kitchen, carpenter ants in your walls and fire ants in your yard, you are probably not a fan. All we want to do is get rid of them. Or at least make sure they don’t invade your house. Am I right? Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. We had entire stampedes of ants invading our kitchen up until a few years ago.
The ecological importance of ants
Even though you may despise the little creatures, they are incredibly important to the environment.
1. Ants aerate the soil and improve soil drainage
Earthworms get all the credit, but ants actually do a better job at improving soil structure than worms do. As ants build nests and construct tunnels in the ground, they improve the soil significantly. They redistribute nutrients as they move soil particles from place to place. The voids created by their tunnels improve both air and water circulation in the soil.
2. Ants improve soil chemistry
Ants store large amounts of food in and near their nest sites. This adds a lot of organic matter to the soil. They also excrete waste and leave food scraps behind, all of which changes the soil’s chemistry for the better. Soil impacted by ant activity is usually closer to a neutral pH, and richer in nitrogen and phosphorus.
3. Ants disperse seeds
Ants provide an invaluable service to plants by transporting their seeds to safer, more nutrient rich habitats. They usually carry seeds to their nests, where some seeds will take root in the fertile soil. The seeds carted off by ants are also better protected from seed-eating animals, and less likely to succumb to drought. The dispersal of seeds by ants, is particularly useful to plants in tough or competitive environments, such as arid deserts or habitats with frequent fires.
4. Ants prey on pests
Of course, ants are just looking for a tasty and nutritious meal. They are not actually choosing their prey based on their status as a pest. But many of the critters that ants eat are the same critters we’d prefer weren’t around in large numbers. Ants will munch on anything from ticks to termites if the opportunity arises. They will even gang up on larger arthropods, like scorpions or stinkbugs. Those pesky fire ants are particularly good at pest control in farm fields,
Conventional ant killer
Now that we have established that ants are annoying but useful, let’s talk about how to get rid of them. Because having these little critters all over your house is the worst.
There are a lot of super-toxic ant killer sprays on the store shelves. There are 3 reasons why you should NEVER use these:
- They kill the ants rather than repelling them
- It’s extremely toxic for you, your family, your pets and the environment
- It only works temporarily
Regular ant killer does just that, kill ants. Now that we know how important ants are to the environment, you don’t want to do that.
Why it doesn’t work
Pesticides are per definition extremely toxic. Not only for you but also for your family, children and pets. If you spray this in your home, you breathe this toxicity in the air in for days. If your pet licks it, or your child gets it on their fingers and put it in their mouth, you have a guaranteed trip to the emergency vet or hospital on your hands. Not to mention this stuff is terrible for the environment (as are all aerosol sprays).
It doesn’t work. It simply does not work. Killing ants is different than repelling them. If you kill them, the others will start working overtime to rebuild and make up for their losses. This may actually have the reversed result as they will ‘call in the troops”. You may end up with more ants than you started with. Or maybe they will pop up a few feet further down the road in your yard.
If you repel ants without killing them, they will leave and instinctively know not to return to that spot. Believe it or not, they have a very strong sense of smell. A repelling, bad smell, will be engraved in their instinct forever.
A simple, effective and non-toxic solution: DIY Ant repellent
Why would you use something that kills useful creatures, is toxic, and for the environment and doesn’t work? There is a very simple, effective and non-toxic DIY Ant repellent: Peppermint essential oil.
I told you earlier than up until a few years ago, we had a major ant problem. We had entire tribes coming in somewhere under our kitchen window, and make themselves comfortable around our dishwasher. I kid you not, we had an entire army hiding there. I made a Peppermint spray with the following simple ingredients:
DIY Ant repellent recipe
- 16 oz glass bottle
- 40 drops Peppermint essential oil
- Fill with cold water
Not too complicated, is it? They despise Peppermint. I sprayed it all around my kitchen area and outside around the kitchen window and the floor of the deck by the kitchen wall. I sprayed 3 times a day for one day. By the end of the day, they were gone. All of them. I have not seen them since. Every year in the spring I spray in the same area once or twice in the spring and summer, just to be sure.
Now, if your dog licks this, or your baby crawls over the floor, gets it on their fingers and puts fingers in their mouth, you have a dog and a baby with fresh breath. Nothing bad is going to happen. It’s non-toxic.
The bottom line is, toxic ant killers are ineffective, toxic, terrible for the environment and a big NO. An easy, effective, environmentally friendly, natural, non-toxic solution is a YES!
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