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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Power of Peppermint For Pest Control


No one likes being cold, and that includes unwelcome guests entering our homes such as spiders and rodents. With the arrival of cold weather, keep this in mind as you prepare your home for the chill of winter.

Take action at the first sign of mouse droppings because if there is one there are more. Mice breed at an incredible rate and with each litter consisting of six to twelve young it only takes a few weeks of ignoring the signs to find yourself with a real problem. The spots we have had the most trouble are under the kitchen sink, the cabinets nearest the vent for the stove and in our unfinished basement. All areas where there are most likely gaps in construction and should be remedied. 

Killing with mouse traps, glue traps or poison works in the short run but in the long run they only open up space for another mouse to move in.
Should you want to avoid dealing with the smell of death but unable to find the source, or disposing of the dead or dying caught in traps, a humane method of pest control is best. 


Peppermint essential oil is the essence of peppermint leaves. These oils are obtained by steam distillation and contain the volatile oils within the plant itself.  It is strong and offensive to the sensitive noses of our little rodent pests and being they find it repulsive they avoid it and the hope is that they move out or don't enter our homes in the first place. Don't buy the type of peppermint oil used for flavoring in the cooking section of your store. Purchase at a reputable health food store where you'll find 100% pure, therapeutic essential oils. Synthetics may smell the same but it is more than the smell that does the trick. You want the real thing. 

Add a few drops to cotton balls and leave them at the points of suspected entry or activity. Add fresh oil to the cotton balls on a weekly basis as a preventative measure. Or use the spray bottle method of 10 - 15 drops peppermint essential oil to 8 - 12 oz. of water. Spray around doorways, counter tops, baseboards, garage doors, basements, etc. 

Spiders are more common in our homes than we think. If we leave them alone, usually they try in earnest to leave us alone. According to David Bodanis in his book, "Secret House", the typical clean and tidy home still houses many, many spiders. These beneficials prefer to stay hidden in dark corners and quietly give us a hand in keeping those insects at bay who can do us harm. While we don't want visible spider webs we also don't want to contribute toxins to our home by spraying with pesticides.

As with rodents, spiders and ants also hate peppermint. Ants can be a problem in any home but those with mortar and brick seem to be more susceptible for entry points. Be sure to keep your kitchen counters and cabinets free from open food and crumbs. Ants follow a trail so take notice of where they are coming in and block the trail with undiluted peppermint oil or spray the peppermint oil/water mixture.
Use the spray bottle method of adding 10 to 15 drops of peppermint essential oil to 8 to 12 ounces of water. Spray wherever you suspect ants and spiders are entering your home.
Planting peppermint outside near your doorways can help deter pests. Just be sure to plant in tubs or pots since mints spread rapidly and can easily take over a flowerbed or garden area.

Aside from spiders and mice, peppermint oil also is a natural insect repellent for fleas and mosquitoes. To use as a bug repellent spray for yourselves or your dogs (not to be used on cats) add a bit of vodka to distilled water at the ratio of 10 - 15 drops peppermint essential oil to 8 - 12 oz of the distilled water/vodka mixture. Rubbing alcohol can be used in place of the distilled water/vodka mixture. Peppermint is strong and though known to be safe test first on a small area of skin to check for any skin sensitivity.


Check out the many uses for using peppermint oil as a body spray