There is no place on Earth that is absolutely pest-free, and ants or I would call them little terrors are a domestic nuisance. Ants might seem harmless, but they are quite irritating and anyone who had an ant problem can relate.
Science never stays back and we have tons of sprays and disinfectants that can kill or drive those ants away from our home. Are they efficient? Absolutely yes. Are they safe? Well, not so much as compared to these plants that repel ants.
An all-natural and safe solution to drive that colony of crawlers, some of these plants even have beautiful flowers like feverfew and marigolds. Several herbs like rosemary and lavender can be good repellants too along with the others in this list which repel most of the types of ants.
Types of Ants
Ants are that one houseguest that no one wants, and there are over 700 ants species in the US. The good news is, only a handful are home invaders. Let’s get to know them a little.
- Argentine Ants: Dark brown in color, mostly found near a food source. Possess no health threat.
- Carpenter Ants: They tunnel through wood and can cause severe property damage. Black in color, found in doors and windows.
- Crazy Ants: Found throughout the US, they enter homes in autumn or after rainfall when the food sources reduce.
These were the toppers and if there is an invasion in your home, the colony of insects might be one of these.
10 Plants That Repel Ants
A fragrant, evergreen perennial herb, rosemary is popular for its scent that is used in culinary condiments, perfumes, and essential oils. Rosmarinus officinalis or rosemary has needle-like leaves with a woody aroma and it can bear white, pink, purple, and blue flowers.
Rosemary essential oil has tons of benefits like stimulating hair growth, relieving pain and reducing joint inflammation, and so on. Rosemary is also super effective in repelling ants with its scent, which is intolerable to those insects.
Potted rosemary needs six to eight hours of sunlight every day and sandy, well-draining soil would make it happy. Water it only when the soil is dry and fertilize once a month. Some people believe that it is a demanding herb, but you can get along with proper guidance.
Okay, potted garlic is uncommon, but we are focusing on ant repellents here, nothing is invalid right now. Garlic can make everything taste better and those bulbs are crisper than any other grocery. Belonging to the Allium family, those heady bulbs have a powerful flavor and scent that is used for seasoning.
Not only vampires, that strong smell of garlic also keeps ants at bay. You can boil a few cloves of garlic, let it cool down and spray the mixture on ant-infested spots. The cloves can also be directly rubbed on ant trails and it works!
Using an optimum pot mix and loose soil and full sun for six hours is a must for garlic. You must ensure the soil is evenly moist while watering and the plant would be happy!
Lavandula angustifolia or lavender is a super-efficient herb that has hundreds of users and the list keeps on increasing. Lavender comes with a fragrant aroma and it is a hardy herb that is also grown in outdoor gardens for landscape settings. They have extremely showy, purple blooms that are drought tolerant as well.
My favorite herb is also an ant repellent! The mellow-scented flowers have a strong aroma that ants find repulsive. Use dry lavender flowers and keep it on the areas where insects hide and it will keep them at bay.
Lavender loves warm, sunny conditions and prefers well-draining, alkaline soil which enhances the fragrance in the blooms. The plant cannot tolerate overly wet soil, water it only when the topsoil is dry. With little care and good air circulation, this pretty herb will live and smile.
Not only herbs but flowering species can also repel ants effectively and marigold is one of them. Marigolds can be reliable houseplants and with little care, you get those colorful blooms.
Marigolds are easygoing as they love direct sunlight, poor to average soil, and plenty of air circulation. You must be careful with the size of the container as they don’t get much tall, but they bushy.
The plant has lacy foliage and the blooms are generally orange, rusty red, or yellow in color. It is believed that the roots of marigold release some chemicals that are toxic for ants and some other insects and your purpose is served!
Tanacetum vulgare or tansy is a perennial herb that is capable of adding potassium to the soil and can repel several annoying insects. Once heavily used in natural medicine, tansy is a prolific re-seeder and hence, considered a noxious weed in many areas.
The pretty yellow, button-like blooms of tansy are responsible for repelling ants. Their strong camphor-like scent and bitter taste make it unappealing for other insects as well.
Though tansy plants require a large area to grow, they can thrive on medium-sized containers. Place it in a full or partial sun location and water it when topsoil is dry since it is drought-tolerant. This forgotten herb has an ornamental appeal and it is believed that it is capable of killing parasites internally in humans!
6. Common Yarrow
Achillea millefolium is a flowering perennial that looks very appealing in a herb garden. Even as an indoor plant, yarrow hardly has any demands and it is virtually care-free.
Yarrow produces clusters of tiny, white flowers with a yellow, weed-like center. This perennial produces a pungent aroma that is disliked by ants and other insects. You can have this in your vegetable garden as well to keep rodents away.
Plant yarrow in full sun and it would do best in well-drained soil. It only needs to be watered in drought conditions and that’s it. Besides all the good sides, they are also capable of attracting non-harmful insects like spiders, ladybugs, and lacewings to your garden.
You must have come across lemongrass herbs in your soups and seafood dishes. Lemongrass herb is easygoing and you don’t need a great green thumb to grow this one. This seasoning herb is not readily available in the market and you are free to grow your own!
Lemongrass has acidic properties that are deadly for ants. Moreover, you can boil the herb in water and spray the mixture on the dwelling spots. The powerful aroma of crushed lemongrass can block the senses of ants and you will get rid of them.
Place the lemongrass pot on a bright, sunny window and water it regularly. It does good in well-draining soil and as mentioned, they are low-maintenance.
The tropical source of smoky flavored spice, clove trees has a tempting aroma. Extremely sensitive to cold, growing cloves in containers is a better option and mostly failsafe. Opt for the largest, feasible container for this one and you would be good to go.
Cloves bear aromatic flowers that have a strong scent that repels ants and you can even sprinkle the dried buds in affected areas. Clove oil and clove leaves are also potent ant repellents and they work efficiently.
As a tropical native, they have huge water demands and that could be a challenge if you are growing cloves in a container. These plants need full or partial sun and remember, they cannot tolerate temperatures below 4 C. It is very tempting to have a clove tree of your own and you can keep it healthy with little care.
Adding another herb to this list, Artemisia, also known as wormwood plant, is an adaptable and hardy plant. Wormwood is well-known for its sweet-smelling, silvery foliage and they could be a very good addition to any garden. They have yellow blooms that are used in floral decorations and wreaths.
Wormwood is very effective in repelling ants and moths. They have an aroma that is very similar to sage with a hint of mint which is intolerable for ants. It is bitter than coffee, therefore be very careful while using it in seasoning.
Grow wormwoods in a sunny location and well-draining soil. They hate overly wet soil and occasional watering would be fine. Fertilize it once a year and you would enjoy those blooms in spring.
Tanacetum parthenium or feverfew plant is mainly grown in herb and medicinal gardens. They can cure ailments like headaches, arthritis and by the name, fever as well. Feverfew looks like a small bush and bears small, white, daisy-like flowers, and has a bright yellow center.
Some leaves of feverfew are citrus scented while others have a bitter scent. Both the blooms and leaves are excellent ant repellent. You can border the edges of plant beds with feverfew for outdoor ant control.
Feverfew loves loamy, damp soil and it must be placed on a sunny window or garden spot. Water it regularly and it won’t make any fuss. Feverfew flourishes well outdoors, but with proper care, you can enjoy beautiful blooms indoors as well.
Extracting Plant Oils and Using Them to Repel Ants
Replacing your chemical filled sprays(toxic to human health) with natural disinfects would be so much better and they are quite efficient as well.
Ants are possibly the most common pests that invade our home and it is impossible to figure out their entry points. These social creatures form an ant colony and they are pretty much everywhere. We can spray the affected areas and get done with them, so let’s get all natural! From DIY sprays to natural repellents, all are toxin-free disinfects and the most effective compound here are plant oils. Plant oils or essential oils are concentrated plant extracts, derived from several parts of plants like flowers, leaves, fruits, etc. They have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and these extracts can solve multiple insect issues.
It is believed that ants leave a pheromone scent trail as they enter your home, and make sure other ants follow. These plant oils cover that trail and ensure the ant colony doesn’t grow.
You can make DIY sprays by boiling the leaves of the above ants repelling plants and they are super-efficient. Other effective essential oils include peppermint oil, cedarwood oil, tea tree oil, and lemon oil. You can even combine some of these extracts and convert it into a strong ants repellent spray.
Plants that Attract Ants
Most people believe that only left-out food has the potential to attract ants, and nothing else. Surprisingly, certain plants living outside or inside your home might also be the reason for attracting ants. There are various plants and flowers that could increase the chance of an ant infestation in your home.
Some common examples of ant attracting plants are peonies, wild parsnip, and desert willow. Peonies have sweet-smelling flowers that ants can’t seem to resist. Some flowers that attract ants include roses, clematis, and penstemon. If you want your home ant-free, stay away from these plants and flowers!
Other Items That Attract Ants
Ants are highly attracted to concentrated sweet ingredients like maple syrup, sugar, jelly, ice-cream, etc. Some ant species also appreciate oily foods and artificial sweeteners as they are good carbohydrates and protein sources.
Just like every other living being, ants cannot survive without water. These bugs not only drink water to quench their own thirst but they also collect water back to their colonies. Stagnant water, leaky plumbing, and damaged roofs might attract ants.
Other Natural Ant Repellents
One of the best home remedies, chalk contains calcium carbonate that is intolerable for ants. You can draw a line of chalk at the entrance or spray chalk powder on the affected areas to keep ants away. This is an easy solution and chalks are very easy to get as they are readily available in the market.
Ants love sugar, but they hate the opposite of sugar. Ants hate cayenne pepper or black pepper and just like chalk, you can sprinkle pepper at the entrance of your house to keep the ants at bay. You can also make a pepper and water solution and spray it on the affected areas.
3. White Vinegar
A well-known ingredient in DIY disinfect sprays, white vinegar has a foul smell that ants hate. You can use diluted white vinegar as a spray or add a few drops of essential oils to make it more powerful. This might not kill ants, but they would prevent them from entering your house.
One of the cheapest remedies for keep ants at bay, table salt is an efficient method to repel ants. You can sprinkle it on the borders of the kitchen or main doors and windows to prevent them from entering your house. However, since salt gets liquified easily due to the moisture and create a fuss, most people avoid this solution.
Are Ants a Health Hazard?
Most homeowners hate the sight of a colony of ants invading their home, and the overall distaste for these insects is not supposed to be the only reason. Though it is a matter of debate, ants can be a health hazard which is not a severe one. They contaminate food by walking all over it, just like flies.
All types of ants are capable of biting humans and they pinch our skin when they feel threatened. These bites cause pain and irritation, but they aren’t dangerous and are curable.
The scenario is totally different from ants that can transmit venom when they bite. Like, fire ants sting cause extremely painful lumps on the skin. If the reaction is more serious, the symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and so on and it can be life-threatening if not treated properly.
Most of the ant species do not pose a public health risk, but they are carriers of disease-causing organisms. Since they sway in our food, bacteria are easily transmitted to our body and you cannot ignore that risk.
Some species like carpenter ants create a hollow nest in your wooden furniture, tunneling through it. The damage is very similar to what termites do. Therefore, it is always better to keep these little terrors at bay!
Not only ants, but an uncontrolled invasion of any insects or pests also are not good for our home. Nobody loves uninvited guests at their home and these plants would help in both ways. Establish the green thumb and say goodbye to ants at the same time. Don’t wait, get to work!