This week, we discovered an ant infestation in a kitchen drawer that contained candied pecans that was left open. It’s a bit of a mystery how they got in the house, we never saw a trail. And even now, we’re not sure and are closely monitoring activity.
The ants caused us to thoroughly scrub down the kitchen to mask their trail so that others couldn’t find their way. I didn’t want to use ant poison, or any other chemical that’s dangerous to human health. So, what to do?
I heard about vinegar, but wanted to try another route I’d read about. So I added some of these Uncle Harry’s “All Natural Breathing Mix” aromatherapy drops to some plain water and we mopped the entire floor and close to all the floor boards at the edges of the room, wiped down the cabinet – inside and out – they had entered. This really caused confusion because at this point, they were running all over the kitchen trying to find the original trail. They still never climbed up the cabinet again, so this has assured us we removed the trail.
Next, it was onto squishing ants and trying to block entry points. They suggest finding the entry point and caulking it closed. It seemed they were coming in through the floor vent or under the dishwasher. So I thoroughly cleaned those areas with the aromatherapy water, then sprinkled diatomaceous earth all around the vent and under the dishwasher.
I tossed a couple live ants in the water solution. Ants are good swimmers and typically don’t drown. But, one curled up and died, and the other tried to swim out to escape, but every time approaching the bowl surface, was repelled by where the oil had collected around the rim. It finally died.
I thought, well maybe by some small chance, they drowned. So another experiment. I put one undiluted drop of the aromatherapy on a live ant and it instantly curled up and died. Another live ant was close by and kept running strangely in circles. It kept getting slower in movements and died.
Now, the formula that’s currently sold has Peppermint, Pine, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Niaouli, Geranium and Oregano Essential Oils. But the formula I have (same brand and name), that I got a couple years ago, has Pine, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Niaouli, Geranium, Thyme, Cinnamon, Cloves and Oregano Essential Oils (and it works wonderfully well on human chest and nasal congestion). I don’t know why they changed the formula, and hopefully the newer formula will work.
Elsewhere, I’ve read that peppermint or lavender oils alone will work. Plain lavender, without water, did not work (but I may have had an inferior brand of oil). Plain peppermint worked but took longer. Same with Eucalyptus. Pure clove bud worked the same as the breathing mix. But the cost of the breathing mix is less than pure clove bud oil, and it has various elements that will help the mix be more comprehensive. The newer mix does not contain clove bud, so you may have to get it anyway.
Next, I will be making up a batch of this to pour down a growing ant hole in our garden. Now, I know ants can be beneficial by eating aphids and other bugs. But in our case, we aren’t having issues with those, only the ants!
We’re still in the midst of battling the ants… any suggestions on finding the source of their entry would be appreciated!