Ants do not like the aroma of essential oils like citronella because they have a powerful smell and affect their strong sense of smell as they have more odor receptors than others.
Can You Use Citronella Oil To Kill Ants? You can use citronella oil to kill ants, as its grassy smell masks their body odor when they touch it. It can be an effective repellent as it irritates the odor receptors of ants and make them confused about movement direction. You can use a citronella-scented string and spray the solution prepared with water, vegetable oil, or rubbing alcohol.
Most commonly, it can help avoid the risk of ants’ infestation inside the home or outdoors due to its repelling or killing nature, but citronella ants naturally produce a similar odor.
Its effectiveness reduces against these small or large yellow ants because they give off a citronella-like odor when threatened.
Why would you use citronella oil to kill ants?
It is obtained from the citronella grass varieties that are native to tropical areas. Its color is yellow or yellowish brown having a grassy odor, making it suitable for aromatherapy.
It has many beneficial applications and benefits humans as it helps relax your mind, boosts energy, and uplifts the mood.
However, it is not desirable for the insects like mosquitoes, bees, and ants due to its strong scent. This grassy odor makes it a suitable insect repellent that can be used to repel nuisance pests.
Its main components are geraniol, citronellol, and citronellal, which collectively provide a characteristic odor to this extracted oil.
Its effectiveness is determined through a test conducted under controlled conditions when this oil killed half of the ant population in 24 hours, while others died after a day.
It commonly repels insects by irritating their odor receptors as its strong scents mask the other odors in the surroundings, making it difficult to reach the food source.
In the same way, citronella oil affects the foraging trails because these tiny creatures cannot detect the pheromones left by their fellow on the ground.
The erasing of chemical trails or masking of odors can confuse them about the direction of movement, resulting in random movement in different directions.
Accordingly, they can reach far areas and get lost while moving without any clear direction, ultimately leading to their death because they cannot survive alone for a long time.
Furthermore, it can kill a few of these insects when they touch the oil drops, as this material covers their bodies and make it challenging for other ants to recognize their nest mate.
Similarly, this coat of oil on their tiny bodies becomes responsible for their death as they cannot release enough pheromones to dominate its odor.
So, it affects the natural behavior of insects and kills them as they cannot detect chemical secretions by their fellows and cannot produce detectable pheromones.
How do you use citronella oil to kill ants?
You can use citronella oil in pure form by directly leaving the drops on a platform or mixing it with other ant-repelling substances to increase its potential.
Use citronella-scented string
You can dip a long string of thread in this oil and spread it on the possible entry points of ants to restrict the undesired entries.
This thread absorbs the odor and remains effective in repelling the nuisance insects away from the particular spot for a long time.
In addition, you can use this scented string to make a boundary at the doorstep and around the plant pots when there is a risk of infestation.
Use citronella and vegetable oil solution
Prepare a solution by mixing citronella in vegetable oil for spraying it on the nests of insects in the garden or backyard.
Mix almost 15 to 20 drops of this repelling oil in 6 to 8 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Put it into a bottle and shake it slightly to mix both ingredients.
Spraying it around the mounds can help restrict these insects within their nests until their odor remains viable because they consider strong scents as threats.
This way, they can die if you spray the solution to retain its effect after some time because these insects cannot tolerate hunger for more than 2 weeks.
Spray citronella oil solution
You can prepare a repelling solution for ants by mixing the citronella in the water. Add 18 to 20 drops of the oil in a spraying bottle filled with water, around half a cup.
Mix them well by shaking the spraying bottle and spraying on the infested areas. Spray the solution on mounds or plant surfaces as it is not harmful to the environment due to its non-toxic nature.
You can also spray it on the narrow spaces holding colonies of insects, like areas under the countertop, kitchen cabinets, wall voids, and baseboards.
It depends on your choice whether you want to wipe it or leave the solution on the spot. So, you can wipe out the solution from the countertop after 5 to 10 minutes.
Make rubbing alcohol and citronella solution
It is better to prepare a homemade repellent to control the ants’ population instead of using expensive insecticidal sprays or repelling products from stores.
You can prepare an ant-killing spray using citronella oil and rubbing alcohol because both of these ingredients are not favorable for their survival.
Mix boiled water and rubbing alcohol in 1:1 and put a few drops of oil into it.
Spray this solution on the trails of insects moving indoors or the mounds outdoors. It can effectively kill indoor pests also hidden behind window frames or appliances.
How long does citronella oil take to kill ants?
Using citronella oil is an effective and quick method to get rid of an infestation of ants if there is a small population of insects indoors or in the garden.
Removing insects from a particular spot takes only a few minutes because its scent irritates their receptors and makes them run away.
Moreover, it is observed that it can efficiently kill half the population of these insects in only 25 to 30 minutes, while the remaining population dies in approximately 20 to 24 hours.
In addition, it can protect from these nuisance pests for almost 3 to 4 hours, depending on the amount of solution sprayed on the spot.
You have to reapply the solution after a few hours to retain its repelling effect on the insects because it can help deter insects until its scent remains.
Is it safe to use citronella oil to get rid of ants?
Citronella oil is a safe and effective ant killer because it is non-toxic and seems safe to use outdoors or indoors, as it has no negative impact on the environment.
Moreover, it leaves no stains on the sprayed surfaces, so you can use it on the furniture to repel insects crawling on the bed and sofas.
It leaves no marks on the fabric of the sofa and bedding if you are using pure oil without mixing it with other repelling substances.
It effectively kills insects and shows toxicity against pet animals like dogs sometimes, so it is better to avoid growing citronella plants in your home if you have pets.
Additionally, it does not pose any problem for children and adults if they do not lick it. It can irritate the skin of some people, so it is better to wear gloves before using them.