And The Ants Came Marching In ….

Lordy, Lordy was all I could say when I got up yesterday. This was something my Mom-mom would say a lot about different situations.

I had been super stressed and had went on ‘strike‘ over the weekend. As a result the house was a mess. The kids had cleaned up a little bit but there was a lot that they had missed. There was stuff everywhere and what I mean by stuff was cookie crumbs, dirty clothes, toys, and wet towels to name a little. There was also sticky spots from jelly and sweet tea all over the kitchen.

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The food and wet towels were like a flashing neon ‘Vacancy’ sign for the ants. The fact that we’ve been experiencing and extremely wet season doesn’t help either. The house had been invaded. 

Not just the house but the porch too. as someone had left a bag of trash out there overnight. Then the raccoon had gotten into it and knocked it over in front of the screen door. There was an infantry of ants lined up for the smorgasbord.

Oh my! I was ready to cry and probably did shed a few tears because it was overwhelming. I mean not only did we have a mess to deal with but all of the ants too. These ants bite and I really try to avoid them at all costs.

What to do? First was to take a deep breath and come up with a plan of action.

Please note: I have included some affiliate links to products that we use at no extra cost to you. If you make a purchase through a link it helps to support this blog and my family.

My plan of action was to:

  1. Get rid of the mess and stuff that was attracting them.
  2. Find something to repel them and rid of them.

(Warning: Some of the methods I used probably resulted in ant casualties so you may want to stop reading here.)

I began by grabbing a basket and throwing all the dirty stuff into it so it could be removed from the house and washed.

After that I emptied all of the trash cans only to find the bathroom trash full of gnats… Could this really get worse? I also cleaned up the ant filled trash pile on the porch and carried the bags to the trash bins.

Next I grabbed the vacuum and removed as many of the varmints as I could. I could quickly see that they were coming back in pretty fast so I began doing a bit of research.

Note: The kids are always playing in the floor so I really didn’t want to use chemicals in the house if it could be avoided. I also didn’t want to take a couple hundred dollars out of savings to pay for an exterminator.

I already knew that some oils like peppermint and lavender helped to repel pests. Also a neighbor had mentioned that they had been infested with flies and gnats and I had noticed that since using some of my natural cleaners we had a decrease with this issue.

Some of the best oils I found for repelling ants and other pests are:

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint or other mint oils
  • Tea tree
  • Citrus
  • Eucalyptus
  • Citronella
  • Lemongrass

I’m sure there are others but these are the ones I’ve found most useful.

Then I found several other natural solutions for the problem like a baking soda/sugar mixture. Vinegar seems to be a great repellant also especially when mixed with some of the oils mentioned above.

Unfortunately I was out of sugar. I didn’t have some of the other items for some of the other solutions I found either.

I did however still have plenty of DE  (Diatomaceous Earth) left so I checked to see if that would work. It appeared that it could be useful so I added that to my list of possible solutions.

Second was to put this plan of action into place and pray it worked.

I gave the kids some rags and had them clean off the tables, counters, and benches. The used Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbana scented Multi Surface Cleaner that we get from Grove Collaborators. Then they gave the floor a good sweeping. I still need to give a good mopping with the new Grapefruit Grove floor cleaner I got from The Honest Company.

While they worked inside I sprinkled some DE all across the porch and on the ant hills around the house. Please be very careful not to breathe this in as it can be dangerous if inhaled. This method will probably kill most of the ants so if you don’t want to kill them than you shouldn’t try this.

I then came back inside and started up the diffusers (these are our two favorites here and here) with some lavender and eucalyptus oils. This was an attempt to mask the scent trails left by the ants. The house started smelling really good so that was a plus.

After the diffusers I pulled out some peppermint oil and sprinkled it around the entry way, baseboards, and other problem areas. I also put some on cotton balls and placed them in the bottoms of the trash cans.

The boys said the house smelled like Christmas. It seemed to be working as the gnats were disappearing and the procession of ants was slowing down. I decided to run out to the grocery store and leave the oils to work. I also needed a break from all of the cleaning.

When we returned we didn’t see any ants outside or inside and only a few gnats remained in the bathroom. The house also smelled pretty amazing as well.

So it seems that we have conquered this battle for now and I think we have all learned an important lesson or two.

  1. The kids now understand why Momma is so insistent on keeping things cleaned up. They don’t like ants or ant bites so they are more aware of cleaning up their spills as they happen. I guess that’s a bit of unintended reality discipline right there.
  2. Momma has also learned that going on strike is not fun and sometimes it results in way more work and stress. Will I attempt to ‘strike’ again? Maybe but I’ll probably wait until the wet season is over.

I’ve made up a batch of anti itch cream too for dealing with the bug bites. I think I got the worst of them as I had cleaned up the trash mess where most of the ants had been concentrated.

Do you have any favorite natural pest repellents? If so, let me know about them in the comments below.

So far my favorite place for buying oils has been Simply Earth. They also have a monthly subscription box where you can get recipes and all the ingredients you need for them delivered right to your door. It’s so easy!

If you choose not to buy from there Amazon also has a lot of the same oils on their site as well.

Yesterday I received my first box from the discount shopping club I’ve mentioned. I hate being so ‘non specific’ and ‘secretive’ but that’s part of their policy, which I don’t like. I haven’t tried any of the products as I haven’t actually even opened the box yet but I’ll keep you posted as to how they work and how they compare to similar products from other companies.

I’ve also got laundry to finish and school work to check. Yep, the girls are still dragging that out. Hopefully we’ll be finished soon and I’ll be able to get next year planned out so I can share some of the new things we’ll be doing.

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I finally mixed up some cleaner, that I had mentioned in a past post, for the shower and we’ll see how it works when I go rinse it out in a bit.

We also need to start getting things ready for our upcoming adventure! We are so excited and the boys have started a count down.

Hope y’all have a blessed week!

Oh yeah, I posted a new recipe here. I experimented a little yesterday and this one turned out pretty darn good. I hope you like it and maybe you can play with it to make it a family favorite at your house.

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