Vegan Insect Repellant

Jane and I live in Southern California, but we're both originally from New York.  So when we moved here we were both thrilled with the winter climate, but we do pay a price.  Once it gets brutally hot outside (usually in August), we seem to be invaded by ants, and we're not the only ones.  Jane jokes around that all the homes in our neighborhoos were built on a giant anthill.

In the past we've purchased the "greener" ant deterrents, but they don't work all that well.  We're not all that concerned with the insects, but we don't really want to add toxic elements to the environment, and we don't want to poison the birds who eat those pesky bugs!  Jane was poking around the library the other day and she found The Natural Foods Garden by Patrick Lima (it's so old only has copies available thru their resellers!).  Lima has a "vegan" rememdy which Jane is going to try next time we have unwelcomed visitors.  The conconction is a mix of onion and garlic, minced, plus a tablespoon of cayenne pepper in a quart of water.  Add whatever pungent herbs you have on hand... peppermint, coriander, cedar leaves or wormwood.  Steep for an hour or longer, strain mix and transfer liquid to a spray bottle.

We've used a very similar mix for our rose garden.  But we also add a bit of olive oil and dish soap (about 1 teaspoon each) to the liquid, and it really helps with the aphids.  However, you really have to spray at least twice a week.

Anyway, it's worth a try.


  1. We are fortunate not to have much of a bug problem. I don’t recall where I read it, but something I was reading suggested using a dilute solution of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap to spray around as a deterrent. Sounds like the same principal, though.

  2. Hi Sue,
    That would probably work. I remember Jane trying Dr. Bronner’s straight out of the bottle once. It was too strong for her (she’s got delicate skin).

  3. Tell Jane the next time the ants invade, sprinkle some black pepper OR cinnamon where you see them congregating and watch them scatter. Follow them to where they’re exiting (or entering) and sprinkle in that spot too. Bye, bye ants!

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