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Do Mint Leaves Attract or Repel Ants?

Ants forage into homes, contaminate food and leave humans and pets with painful and itchy bites. Hundreds of chemical ant killers line store shelves but can cause household fires, respiratory problems or danger to the environment.

Mint grown around the foundation of a home also deters ants from foraging inside.

Safer at-home remedies for repelling ants from the home include such pantry and household items as mint leaves.

Use

Mint leaves produce a scent that most ant species dislike and avoid. Place mint in areas frequented by the ants and in places ants use as entrances to deter them from entering your home or returning to their nests.

Applications

Administer mint in various ways to repel ants. Place mint tea bags over openings in a wall that ants use as entrances, dry and sprinkle mint leaves in door thresholds or rub mint oil into countertops to produce pleasant scents that repel ants. Sticks of mint gum or candy with strong odors also may help to repel many ant species.

Misconceptions

Mint repels some ant species, while other species do not notice the scent of the leaves, says Jack Paxton of the University of Illinois. As of 2010, no evidence suggests that mint leaves attract ants.