Bay leaves – nature’s double threat. Not only do bay leaves taste great in Italian dishes, but they also serve as a natural insect repellent. For centuries folks have used them to get rid of ants and other creepy crawlies. Most attribute the repelling nature of the leaf to its smell. Since ants can’t eat bay leaves – their smell is a natural turn off. So if they catch a whiff of the stuff, they will go the other way – it’s like us smelling garbage. Fortunately, bay leaves smell horrible to them, but not to us. To us, it is a fragrant herb.
So follow these three easy steps to getting rid of ants with bay leaves:
Keep you dry goods safe. A couple bay leaves in your dry goods such as rice, flour, and sugar keep the ants out of those containers. Place bay leaves in your cupboards and behind canisters. This should give the ants the hint that they are not wanted. If you find some persistent ants around your food, observe their movements and place bay leaves around the trouble areas.
Let’s make tea. Making bay leaf tea will take the repellent power of tea and make it spreadable. Take a few minutes to follow these instructions and you will be able to create a barrier around your home.
- Fill a medium to large to with water. Allow enough room for the water to come to a boil.
- Add 2 tablespoons of salt.
- Add one to one and a half cups of coarsely chopped bay leaves. (dried is fine, fresh is better)
- Let mixture boil for 5 minutes
- Turn the heat to low and simmer for two to twelve hours. (the more time you have, the more potent)
- Transfer the hot liquid into either a watering can or a plastic pitcher.
- Pour the liquid around the perimeter of your home. Make sure to leave not gabs. Some people recommend pouring the liquid directly on the nest – do not. They will only evacuate their nest and may take up residence in your home!
If at first you don’t succeed, keep pouring. Continue this for two weeks as needed. You should see decreased activity in two to three days and by the two-week mark, you should be ant free inside your home. The main thing to remember is to be your best informant. Continually look for ant activity leading into your home. Make sure if you see a fresh trail appear, cut it off with a fresh batch of bay leaf tea.