We have an ant problem in our kitchen.
I believe these are sugar ants. They’re small and black (or dark brown).
As far as getting rid of the ants, I decided not to use any of the chemicals we had in the cabinet for insects & other pests. (I guess all this talk of ‘going green‘ is starting to have an impact on me!)
Instead, I searched for a natural home remedy that would work — hopefully using something that I already had on hand.
I found it… Bay leaves!
Yep, I tried the bay leaves and they worked — the very first time.
Our Problem With Ants In The Kitchen
Since I buy many of my groceries at Costco, I just so happened to have a lifetime supply of bay leaves on hand. That’s why I decided to try the bay leaf home remedy for taking care of ants first. (I was going to try Cinnamon next.)
While I’m sure that just one bay leaf would have probably worked just fine, I had so many that I knew I’d never be using them all before their “expiration date”… so I strategically placed a handful of bay leaves in the places in the kitchen where I’d been seeing the ants. Those spots were:
- The corner of the kitchen where an outside wall and a wall to the garage meet.
- The countertop near the back door in the kitchen.
I had seen a number of the ants coming in and out of this “space” between the hardwood flooring and the baseboard near the back door. So I stuck an entire bay leaf there. (It’s not crammed in, and could easily “blow” away with enough of a breeze or by tapping it.)
Then, to make sure I had the entire area covered, I dropped a few between the garbage can and the baseboards in that same corner. (Our dog doesn’t even know they’re there.)
Finally, I placed a single bay leaf on the countertop area where I’d seen several ants recently.
Do Bay Leaves Really Get Rid Of Ants?
Yes. We had no more ants! Not a single one since I strategically placed the bay leaves in our kitchen.
And I’d been having some fairly serious bouts with those critters (the very small black kind) for several weeks up until this point.
So I can highly recommend trying bay leaves to deter an ant problem in whatever room the ants are bugging you!
One of the biggest reasons I like the bay leaf method of removing ants is it’s so simple and clean. Most of the other methods are messy, or sticky, or smelly. Placing a bay leaf here & there is really simple and effective.
By the way, bay leaf ant removal method also worked for this frugal home-remedy searcher.
UPDATE: The Next Day
Believe it or not, the day after I wrote this, I saw a couple of ants walking all over the same bay leaves that had initially worked so well to deter them.
Since I had that “lifetime supply” of bay leaves on hand, I decided to try this remedy one more time — with fresh new bay leaves.
It worked! I’ve been ant-free again for 5 days and counting. I’m guessing the pungent odor from the bay leaves just naturally wears off after a few days.
I’ll post another update to let everyone know if I eventually have to replace the bay leaves with new ones every week or so, or if the ants are gone once and for all.
An Update To The Update…
As it turns out, I only had to “change” the bay leaves that one time (mentioned in the update above).
I thought I might have to change them regularly, after the ants returned that first time — but no.
After that first change to fresh bay leaves, the ants never reappeared again. Maybe changing the leaves so quickly gave the ants a clue that I was serious!
Years Later, We Had Ants In Another House
After we moved from Franklin to Spring Hill Tennessee into another house, we again encountered ants in our kitchen!
Other Tips For Getting Rid Of Ants
- Recipe For Bay Leaf Ant Remedy – This one goes directly to the source & takes care of the entire colony!
- 13 Ways I’ve Tried To Kill Ants In My Kitchen – #13: bay leaves. It was the last one she was going to try. I’m guessing the reason the list doesn’t go to 14 is because #13 worked!
- How To Get Rid Of Sugar Ants – He also mentions bay leaves, but says it’s a method he hasn’t tried yet.
- 13 Natural Home Remedies For Ant Problems – A great list of ideas to try… if the bay leaves don’t work for you — or you don’t have any on hand.
- Natural Insect Pest Control – This is where I first got the idea to try bay leaves for ridding the kitchen of ants.
I like to help people find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Household Tips and Life Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I'm super-organized. And I LOVE to clean! I even enjoy doing laundry (but not ironing). I’m also a lifelong dog owner — so I often share my favorite tips for living with dogs inside your home (like smart home design choices and dog-friendly cleaning & decorating ideas). Career-wise, I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). Prior to that, I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I'm truly passionate about instead. For example, I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. When I’m not cleaning, organizing, decorating, or fixing something… you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).