Ask the Hippie, Vol. 2, Issue 4

Q. Is there an organic way to get rid of ants?

A. Yes.

I discovered an infestation of ants in our kitchen just before we left for Clinton a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t have a chance to do anything about them before we went out of town. Of course my negligence gave them a chance to multiply, and by the time we got back, they were all over the counter and sink.

I sort of like ants. Like honeybees, they’re hard-working, single-minded little critters who understand the importance of sacrificing self-interest for the greater good. I appreciate the lessons they offer, and I’m loathe to kill a teacher, however small it might be.

That said, I didn’t want a colony of ants marching across my counters, tromping through my food, and stealing anything that wasn’t hermetically sealed, so I decided to let them know it was time to leave.

Ants hate the smell of peppermint. I think it messes up their sense of smell and makes it hard for them to detect the trails of formic acid that they lay down to help each other find food sources.

I had some peppermint essential oil and an empty spray bottle on hand, so I mixed about a teaspoon of the oil with about a quart of water and spritzed down the sink and countertop with it.

Two treatments, spaced a couple of hours apart, took care of the entire problem literally overnight.


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