View Full Version : Herbal Studies; I reek of mint, but...

Red Emma
06-03-2004, 06:08
We have a kind of moderately severe problem with ants in our kitichen. Someone told me they were sugar ants......whatever they are they're driving us crazy.

In Valerie Ann Worwood's book on aroma therapy, it is suggested that ants don't like mint. This morning the little terrors were on all the counters, and even the stove. Just foraging, I think, because there was not food out. Sometimes someone will leave a drop of jam or peanut butter on the counters. Such drops become a wriggling black mass of ants.

So this morning I reached in the cupboard for a little bottle of peppermint my husband bought the last time he had a cold. I took an eyedropper and put some -- probably about 1/3 of a teaspoon -- on a folded paper towel and wiped down all the counters. And the stove top. I went back in about an hour. Only one ant in sight.

He happened to be in a spot that I had missed with the mint wipe, so I tried an experiment. There were a few drops of oil left in the eye dropper. I made a ring around him (about 6 inches in diameter) and watched for a while. He scurried from one side of the ring to the other, but would not cross it.

I took some time to make a cup of tea and went back to check him out. He was still circling furiously to get out of the mint circle. In fact he looked pretty desperate. Since I have no wish to torture the Goddesses creatures, I slipped a piece of paper under him and took him outside.

Worwood's book suggests that one should plant mint around the foundations of your house, also when you have an infestation, as we do, try to find their entry point and stuff it with cotton balls soaked in mint.

Now all I have to do is get a package of cotton balls.

06-03-2004, 06:59
I wonder if a bottle of mint terpines would do the trick with those cotton balls? Talk about mint stink... whew! I wouldnt want to be in your house after a mint terpine treatment... ant or not! :) Still, it could work!

You can find mint terpine pretty cheap at www.poyanaturals.com I believe.

06-03-2004, 07:15
Red Emma, I would give you this caution: unless you really love mint, do not plant it anywhere other than in a closed container! It is a persistent and hardy plant that spreads quickly; once established in a garden, it is almost impossible to get rid of permanently. Having said that, there are certainly far worse things to reek of than mint!


Red Emma
06-03-2004, 09:24
Originally posted by Le_Corsair
Red Emma, It is a persistent and hardy plant that spreads quickly; Having said that, there are certainly far worse things to reek of than mint!


Thanks, LeCorsair. I'd forgotten. I once planted three kinds in a small space in a garden we had in Tacoma. The little dummies cross-bred. We certainly had some interesting mint in those days.

Red Emma
06-03-2004, 09:29
Thanks, Alissa,

I didn't know what mint terpines were. That looks to be a very interesting web site.

06-03-2004, 17:36
Maybe I should try that at work, I think we were built on an ant hill! The Orkin guy doesn't seem to be doing a good enough job.

08-03-2004, 16:12
I thought I would add a couple of the other benefits of using mint.

peppermint is excellant for upset stomachs, I drink peppermint tea for that.

It is great for after a meal for freshing the breath.
And I love to put a candy cane in my hot cocoa ;)

Red Emma
01-04-2004, 11:41
I thought I'd bring this to the fore considering a recent 'growing mint plants in the house' discussion.

Goddess Bless

All Is One
01-04-2004, 14:27
I am ecstactic to learn about the ant who would not cross the peppermint oil circle. I will be buying the oil and the cotton balls long before I get to planting anything.

(Red Emma - you are surely Karmic Queen for deeds like that, while I will burn in the ninth circle of somewhere for the Raid, hairspray and shoe attacks on legions of crawling insects. Terror inspires Terrorism, I guess.)

As for my dumb question~~ I have seen it growing in gardens and in the wild, but does it matter if it is peppermint, spearmint, - ha - wintergreen???

Obviously I am a novice gardener, among other things, and probably I am thinking of chewing gum, but living in Nipomo (all sand) on central coast of California, where it never freezes, we can't avoid piles of ants, inside and out. If mint mystifies and repels them, may it take over our small acre.

I always ponder on the ants love of a dish of dry cat food. What do they get out of it? Then one day I saw that cats refuse to touch a dish of food with ants on it.

That must be their victory: to claim the territory and steal the food of such a large and feral creature is no tiny acomplishment.

01-04-2004, 15:14
Originally posted by Red Emma

In Valerie Ann Worwood's book on aroma therapy
;) I just realized that's a cute psudonym! "Valeri-an" and probably Worwood came from "Wormwood," which among its many uses, is the key ingredint in Absinthe.

01-04-2004, 15:59
I've heard catnip will keep ants out too, but was mostly used to stop cockroaches! So I think any sort of mint would work.

Plant it in containers & don't let the seed blow away when the flower heads ripen or it'll be all over the lawn. Sometimes the mower will kill it, but usually it just goes miniature & keeps growing. However, it draws bees like crazy! So if you have a vegetable garden you want polinated, put some mint plants around the edges (in pots) and you'll get the bees where they're supposed to be.

You can simply uproot mint too, but wait till after a rainstorm, the roots come up easier that way.

All Is One
02-04-2004, 14:11

I was spreading out fresh catnip for my cat this afternoon, because trying to do leather work, with fresh fur hides out also, which makes any feral creature need to destroy things, so I try and distract...

I was smelling my big pot of the brand "Cosmic Catnip" and wondering if I should use it to stuff my smallest bags - as cat toys they excel - then thought of mint vs ants and wondered if catnip had similar power.

hudson ~ you must be on my cat wave length...

So ~ my experience with catnip suggests it is a strong herb. We have no cockroaches here - no idea why. Silverfish hide out in my Los Osos apt. - mostly in books and drawers - yuck -but no real roaches.

Note: I put a bowl of catnip and dry catfood out on front porch this morning, the few ants on the rim of the empty bowl started running in frantic circles when I put the catnip in there. This seems to work!

15-04-2004, 08:26
Originally posted by jlbvt
;) I just realized that's a cute psudonym! "Valeri-an" and probably Worwood came from "Wormwood," which among its many uses, is the key ingredint in Absinthe.

Whoah, well spotted!

I've got one of Valerie Ann Wormwood's books, and I'm ashamed to admit I'd never spotted this..

15-04-2004, 12:10
Thanks, Hedgecub! ;)
I didn't notice it the first time I read through the post and saw the name. But a week or so later, I was skimming through, and almost mis-read it. I have a mild dyslexia that affects my reading now and then. I stopped to re-read it, and I broke out laughing. It's not really obvious, which is what makes it a good name...