Last month, I shared my excitement at finding an easy-to-make tick-repellent formula that works really well for me.

I also promised to share, with her permission, one more recipe from Stephanie Tourles’ wonderful book, Naturally Bug-Free: 75 Nontoxic Recipes for Repelling Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, Ants, Moths & Other Pesky Insects.

Please Don’t Crash My Kitchen, Ants

To give you context, every summer, we get these little “sugar ants” showing up inside the house.

They find the cat food (and then the cats don’t want to eat it). And any dish that’s left in the sink is quickly interpreted as an invitation to an ant picnic. (Although I have to admit this is an excellent incentive to be extra diligent about keeping on top of the dishes!)

I know there are insecticides you can spray all around the foundation of your house seasonally to keep them at bay.

But I’m not too keen on that. So far as I know, these teeny, little ants don’t do any actual harm.

Still, I’d rather not have ants partying in my living space. I want them to enjoy their lives outside, where they belong!

Enter refreshing lavender-mint potpourri.

Not only do the ants not like it (yay!), but it smells really nice to me (double yay!).

Refreshing Lavender-Mint Potpourri

Particularly effective against ants, clothing and pantry moths, flour and grain beetles and mites, houseflies, fruit flies, gnats, mosquitoes, and mice.

  • 1-1/2 cups dried peppermint leaves
  • 1 cup dried lavender buds
  • 1/2 cup dried lemon peel
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a widemouthed, quart-size glass jar (a canning jar works well), and stir with a spoon or chopstick until well blended.
  2. Cap the jar and leave it in a dark, cool cabinet for 72 hours so that the herbs can completely absorb the essential oils and the scent can fully develop. Give the jar a few good shakes each day.
  3. To use, simply fill small decorative bowls, common custard cups, small muslin sachet bags, or seal-and-brew tea bags with your chosen blend and place them in food pantries; under beds and bathroom sinks; in clothing closets, drawers, and armoires; on open-closet clothing hangers and in garment pockets; on the kitchen counter; in the attic; in the basement; on the foundation sill; near open windows or directly on window sills; in the garage or garden shed; by the garbage pail; or close to heating and cooling vents.
  4. Recharge the containers every couple of weeks by adding another drop or two of the essential oils. Just drop it in and give the bowl a stir or the bag a squeeze.
  5. Make a new batch of potpourri every three months to maintain maximum bug-repelling effectiveness. Sprinkle the spent herb blend (which still has mild pest-deterring properties) around the edges of your landscaping beds or veggie garden; otherwise dump it into the compost pile, fireplace, or woodstove.

Recipe excerpted from Naturally Bug-Free: 75 Nontoxic Recipes for Repelling Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, Ants, Moths & Other Pesky Insects by Stephanie Tourles (c2016, Storey Publishing).  Reprinted with permission.

(In case it’s helpful, I found all of the ingredients for this recipe at Mountain Rose Herbs. I’ve purchased from them for years and always received high-quality materials.)

Naturally Bug-Free

There are seventy-three other recipes in Naturally Bug-Free, including several more for keeping yourself, your pets (cats and dogs), and your home pest-free. I’ve been putting several of the suggestions to combat flea season into practice with good effect.

It’s a fun and easy read and I’m really impressed by the results I’ve enjoyed so far!

I hope you’ll enjoy the two recipes Stephanie kindly allowed me to share with you, as well as further exploring herbs and their uses.

You can learn more about Stephanie Tourles at her website.

You can find Naturally Bug-Free: 5 Nontoxic Recipes for Repelling Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, Ants, Moths & Other Pesky Insects here.

Have you already tried herbal repellents? If so, what’s worked well for you?