How To Get Rid of Ants With Mint

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Robert Pavlis

Ants seem to be everywhere this year, and many people want to get rid of them. A recommendation I found on social media was to place mint leaves near the hill, and the ants would quickly leave. Apparently the smell of the mint leaves is just too much for them. This seems a bit far fetched, but it is easy to test.

Ants and Mint
Ants slurping honey – almost as good as mint leaves, Photo Source: Andrea

Why get rid of Ants?

Before I get into the main topic I would like to make a comment about ants. They are very good for the garden since they improve soil structure. Sometimes they build their nest right under a precious plant and that may cause a problem–but they rarely kill a plant. Ants are predators and eat other insects, so they keep bugs from eating your plants. For the most part, their ant hills can be tolerated.

Ants in the home is a different story. I understand why you would want to get rid of them in the home.

But if they are in the garden, try to learn to live with them and leave them alone.

How To Get Rid of Ants With Mint Leaves

I planted mint in one bed and I have been trying to pull it out for years. I always miss a piece, and it comes back. I found a few growths in spring and potted them up. This stuff spreads too fast to keep in the ground. After a month I had enough to start testing it on ants.

Compost Science for Gardeners by Robert Pavlis

If ants really do hate mint, they should leave if some leaves are left near their home.

Ants, Mint and the Shed

I built a garden shed about 8 years ago. Almost from day 1, ants took up residence in the shed. There is a space between the two header beams across the main 6 foot wide door. In this space they are well protected, and unfortunately, the way I built it, I can’t easily get at them. I never really tried to get rid of them–they don’t harm anything.

I placed some leaves right at the opening, forcing the ants to crawl over the leaves to get to their home. They did not mind the mint. They just crawled over the leaves and continued on their journey.

Ants, Mint and the Patio

My patio always has ants living under the stones, and it makes a great place to test ‘how to get rid of ant’ theories. I placed some leaves near their entrance and stood back to watch them run for better digs.

ants and mint leaves before
Ants living happily under patio stones – before adding mint leaves
ants and mint leaves after
Ants enjoying the fresh aroma of mint leaves

As you can see from the picture, ants don’t mind mint leaves. The next day, the leaves were shriving, and the ants were still there.

Mint Does Not Bother Ants

There are a number of different mints, and many different types of ants. In this experiment I only tested one type of each, but my mint is not a good deterrent for my ants.

A previous post looked at How to Get Rid of Ants With Coffee Grounds.

Borax does work for getting rid of ants and it is the key ingredient found in many commercial ant killing products. Mix borax and sugar, 50:50, and put it where ants will find it.

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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

46 thoughts on “How To Get Rid of Ants With Mint”

  1. I have a chocolate mink plant on my patio table when all of a sudden it’s covered in ants. Then I’m the back side of the leafs were white eggs. How can I kill the ants but still be able to eat the mink?

  2. I use cinnamon OIL the high grade stuff in my house. It got rid of them. I previously used the cooking/spice like at the grocery store and that did nothing.

  3. Bought a house with a LOT of peonies around the patio. Friends told me they attract ants. I sprayed spearmint tea around the patio, and around the house, they stayed on the peonies and off my porch. Had to respray after a rain, but better than ants everywhere in the summer and with organic veggie beds, no spraying chemical stuff.

  4. I am only interested in keeping ants out of my house. Some observations: 1. I used Windex in my previous residence to interrupt trails and kill ants inside. Worked like a charm. Does not work in my current residence (right next door!).They are immune! 2. I had carpenter ants take up residence inside under the front door. While I was trying to decide what to do, the carpenter ant nest was raided and completely killed by black ants less than 1/2 their size. I watched and it was not pretty! Bonus, after the “war” was over, the black ants and the carpenter ants disappeared. 3. Always, without fail, kill any scout ants. They will bring all their friends and relatives if they find anything, even a dead fly. Also, even the little black ants can and do bite! 4. I am desperate enough to try anything. Right now, the dog food dish is sitting in a water trough, so that seems safe. For the rest of the house, it’s open season for the ants.

  5. Trying to get rid of huge infestation of red ants…1st day dusted heavily with diatomaceous earth; 2nd day cinnamon; 3rd day trying finely ground dried mint leaves from last year….so far few survivors but haven’t dug deep because I’m trying to get my onions to sprout and grow there.

  6. Boiled water works, but can kill grass/plants The ants are melted into non existence, i got rid of a large population in grass as a last resort, but it worked! You need big pots of boiled water so there is enough to get down deep and kill the nest. Borax kills them but they come back, and it’s messy and also kills plants (I sprinkle it directly on the ants).

    After reading about mint I threw Fresh peppermint and spearmint leaves on the ant holes, which made them run out of the holes. The next morning piles of dead ants were on the surface. So many that a baby opossum showed up to eat them. Surveying my garden, I found no ants living where peppermint, spearmint and catnip (white flower variety) were growing. Currently rooting mints and transplanting the constant supply of catnip seedlings growing between pavers.

    The war continues!

  7. I was sent a video of this guy speaking mint gets rid of mice and rats but as far as ants were concerned they said put something there that they would like to eat and spread the blue fake sugar over it it has formaldehyde in it and it’ll kill him same with the mice I really don’t want to kill him I just want to get rid of them and if they die in your wall they said you don’t have a smell will soon find out I’m gonna use the mint and they have a heart trap

  8. This was a great feed on ants . I can’t stand ants but I can’t stand killing them or anything either. I’ve done quite a bit of research on them and found that there is a particular kind of mint plant that grows in central Florida only and is protected so you can’t harvest it. One college is doing more research on it. Also , there is a mushroom farmer out west that was on a TED symposium discussing the benefits of mushrooms and curing cancer. I then listened to a broadcast of his where he discussed how he used a certain kind of mushroom to rid his house of carpenter ants . He tried to get a patent for it but the chemical companies have shut that route down or something to that effect he claimed – I tend to be a skeptic on everything till I see proof .

    • “He tried to get a patent for it but the chemical companies have shut that route down” – sounds like a lot of claims that don’t make sense.

      I used to love TED, but then found that many on their can’t be trusted in what they say.

      • My outdoor potted mint contains “billions” of ants! When I water the mint, the ants come to the surface for a bit, then go back down under. The mint still comes back every year when the cold months leave, and I’m sure it is totally root-bound, but as we know, mint is hard to kill! Should I try to rid the pot of ants or just let them be?

      • I received a video for natural stuff and was told that rodent mice rats do not like mint I’m going to read some mint flavoring Over some steel wool that I packed in a hole and I think they’re coming in to see if that works I will let you know Lilly


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