Using essential oils to keep away spiders, mice, ants, and scorpions

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It’s a frosty morning with windchill temperatures well below zero, so it’s no surprise that some creatures prefer to come inside to live with us for the winter. A month ago the box elder bugs made their appearance, although not nearly as thick as in some areas of the region, and more spiders are definitely leaning towards a more domestic existence. 

Dealing with mice and ants

Mice are another visitor that we don’t want. Friends of ours caught 15 running about outside of their house (in the gardens), but each fall we can pretty much guarantee we’ll have at least one try to bunk indoors. I’ve set out the traps, but they’re not working, so I’ve been searching for other options. I’m considering adding essential oils to my plan.

This summer, Sara from Earthkind sent me a sample of their Stay Away for ants, which was timely because they were swarming the garage anywhere honey spilled, and of course, I don’t want to spray the area with anything toxic because it’s so close to the hive boxes and honey. They use specific essential oils (lemongrass, peppermint, and thyme) to encourage the ants to avoid the area. I set the packet on the ground, actually drizzling honey on top of it, and observed it for several hours to see what they ants would do. For the most part, they preferred the honey that wasn’t close to the scented packets, although a couple of them still couldn’t resist and went near the honey drizzled over the bag. What impressed me the most is how good is smelled! Truthfully, even if the ants ran all over it, it would still be worthwhile setting it in cupboards or closets just for the fragrance. 

Spider repellent stocking stuffers

I’m going to get some of these for my mother since they make them specifically for spiders, too. They seem to always find her. I don’t know if we just don’t notice them as much, but anytime she visits, it’s like an arachnid armageddon. Spider alerts are frequent. And when we were back at her house several years ago, one of the biggest spiders I’ve ever seen in doors came out the air vent in the bedroom. So I think she’ll appreciate a few of these. I like the idea of using essential oils to repels unwanted visitors, and I’ve used them in the past by putting drops of oils on fabric or cotton balls, but it never seemed strong enough or lasted long enough to last very long. I think these will, and they smell fantastic in the process. 

Scorpions want love, too

It’s just that time of the year when critters come inside no matter where you live. I recently spoke with a friend in Arizona who said they’ve had a lot of scorpions in the house. Frankly, that’s the stuff of nightmares in my book, although my boys would love it. But, being a cousin of the spider, controlling them is very similar. Keep the vegetation around the house trimmed or, better yet, cleared, and seal up any openings around windows or doors. Supposedly, cedarwood, lavender, lemon, orange, and cinnamon (with the cedarwood being the most important ingredient) are effective to deter them. 

If you do have a problem with them in the house, they’re hard to find since they are active at night. But – and here is the really cool part – you can locate them using a black light. They glow so you can suck them up with the vacuum. Although most scorpion stings in the United States aren’t terribly harmful (although I guess they can hurt like the dickens), you don’t want to be stung, if you can help it. And, if you do, medical professionals recommend that you seek treatment. 

Sometimes we have to deal with the garden residents in the house. If you’re not into trapping, smacking, or vacuuming them (even if you get to use the really neat black light), give the essential oil remedies a try. 

Meet Amy Grisak

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