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How to kill ants with citronella

As one of the environment's garbage cleaners, ants serve an important purpose. Having a few ants in your yard is good for the balance of the ecosystem. When the ant population gets out of control, however, the presence of ants progresses from helpful to nuisance. A variety of commercial products exist to get rid of ants in your yard and home, but you can use citronella to rid your home and yard of ants. Citronella is a natural product that repels ants without introducing chemicals into your home or yard.

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  1. Apply citronella oil to a length of string long enough to lay in front of doors or windows where ants have been seen entering your home. Ants are repelled by the scent of citronella and will not cross over the citronella-scented string. Wear gloves when working with undiluted citronella oil as it can irritate the skin.

  2. Mix 20 drops of citronella oil with 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a spray bottle. Spray in and around all ant hills and nests found in your yard. Once the citronella oil spray is in place, ants will not cross to leave or enter their ant hill and eventually will die.

  3. Combine 20 drops of citronella oil and 1/2 cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake the solution, then spray along baseboards, countertops and inside cabinets where ants have been spotted. Allow the citronella spray to sit for a couple of minutes before wiping it up with a clean cloth.

  4. Tip

    Citronella repels a variety of insects, such as ants, mosquitoes and fleas. Burn citronella candles while enjoying a picnic outdoors.


    Supervise children and pets when applying citronella oil in the home. The oil is not toxic but can irritate skin and eyes if contact is made.

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Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Citronella oil
  • Eye dropper
  • String
  • Measuring cup
  • Vegetable oil
  • Spray bottles
  • Clean cloth

About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.

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