Ant Control: Compassionate Ways of Dealing with Ants

So, you’ve decided to walk more lightly on the Earth.  You buy organic fruits and vegetables.  You’ve rid your home of toxic cleaning products.  Heck, maybe you even drive a hybrid!  Some of you gradually went vegetarian or vegan, and now it really bothers you to think of killing anything.

Except ants! 

What happens when they invade your pristine eco-home?  What happens when you don’t want to kill them, but you also want to avoid “protecting” your home with poisonous pesticides?  I’ve faced this very same dilemma, especially when moving to properties left vacant for awhile.  Through experimentation, animal communication and sheer luck, I’ve discovered a few helpful hints:

What Doesn’t Work

When my now-husband lived on Vashon Island near Seattle, he got one of those sonic “rat deterrants.”  Practically everyone on that island has rats, and we didn’t want to kill them.  This plug-in device would supposedly encourage them to live elsewhere because the sound interrupted their enjoyment of our inner walls.  It worked great … for getting rid of rats.  Unfortunately, the sound or electrical current also drove all the carpenter ants out of the walls and into his kitchen and living room!

These were no ordinary ants, either.  They knew how to camouflage themselves, lining up along carpet patterns and linoleum seams.  They could mimic shadows and create their own tile designs.  I still had remnants of my brain injury and chasing those little guys around was somewhat maddening.  I didn’t want to kill them, but even if I had, they were big ants, with thick segments- – not exactly easy to squash. 

We looked online for non-toxic, compassionate ways to deter ants.  Several sites suggested spraying a mixture of lavender and peppermint essential oils in water.  I did this religiously, all over his counters, along cracks in the floors, over door thresholds.  Imagine my horror when the next morning I found not just six or seven aunts creeping along the counters and floors, but dozens to hundreds of black, crunchy beasties eagerly gobbling up their repellant.  They loved  it! 

Peppermint and lavender do NOT repel ants.  I have tried this on numerous occasions, always with the same result.  Adding peppermint and lavender to countertops invites ants to have a party, not depart.

Eventually, my husband and I decided to go the “old fashioned route” of sending telepathic messages to the ants to leave.  It took a great deal of concentration to get the attention of so many of them, and we temporarily needed to unplug our rat repellant.  Eventually, the queen revealed herself and we “relocated” her to a giant woodpile.  The ants followed their leader.  Anytime I used peppermint or lavender, though, a few of them wandered back in for a sniff!

What attracts ants

Most people know not to leave food particles around, lest ants invade the kitchen, but some things attract them more than others:


coconut oil




Yes, water.  Many times when ants invade your home, they seek water rather than food.  I have occasionally seen ants crawling all over my Brita trying to find the entrance to its little reservoir.  Even if I have crumbs messing up the counter, these ants don’t care about the food; it’s liquid they want. 

Ants are also highly sensitive to energy vibrations.  When we lived at Lake Tahoe, we had no ant problem except during my daily yoga routine.  The moment I unfurled my mat and put on a yoga DVD, these large, high desert ants marched out to join me.  They surrounded me like my own miniature class, and no, I’m not making this up!  When I finished practicing yoga, they would retreat until the following afternoon’s asanas.  I even noticed that they liked some DVD’s better than others.  Yoga for Beauty seemed like a particular favorite, judging by their numbers.  It felt a bit difficult to do my pranayama (breathing) and suvasana (corpse pose) with all those ants around me, but they never bit me.  Apparently, they just liked the yoga vibe. 

Ants often appear when your money luck is changing.  Perhaps because they work so hard, or because they can carry ten to twenty times their body weight, or maybe because there are just so darned many of them, ants often represent abundance.  If your intuition tells you that your financial struggles will soon end, consider ants a friendly acknowledgment from the universe.

If, on the other hand, you have felt precarious in your good fortune and feel like it could crumble beneath you, pay attention to the behavior of your ants.  Do they just hang around in small numbers like little reminders, or do you see them invading you in droves?  Have they stung you?  Are they eating your foundation (literally)?  These sorts of encounters often serve as warnings.  Check your finances and investments.  The ants might actually save you a great deal of stress.

How to get them to leave

In the event that ants have arrived to give you a message, the sooner you receive that message, the sooner they can move on to someplace else.  Consider some of the qualities of ants and ask yourself how those might relate to current questions or concerns in your life. 

If you just want them to leave and really don’t care about their message, then concentrate on the following word-image, “This is not a safe place for you.”  Hold that feeling and then imagine the slaughter of ants that would occur if you still used Raid.  “This is not a safe place for you.  This is not the right location for your home.  Thank you for visiting, but this is not a safe place for you.  I don’t want to kill you, but if you stay, you will leave me no choice.  This is not a safe place for you.” 

If you do kill some of the ants, make sure you continue holding these thoughts strongly and repeatedly in your mind as you do so.  Eventually, the ant scouts will carry away the dead ants and bring “word” to their queen and the other worker ants to go somewhere else.  If you hold these thoughts strongly in your mind, you will need to kill far fewer of them before they understand your boundaries.



Laura Bruno is a Life Coach, Animal Communicator, Medical Intuitive and Reiki Master Teacher. In addition to private coaching and intuitive sessions, she teaches Conscious Eating 101 classes, Intuition workshops and Reiki Certification classes around the US. For more information on classes, animal communication, raw food coaching, transitional coaching, and letting your gifts shine through your career, please see: or call 775-750-9140.

23 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Giacinta on September 15, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    This is a great post! Coincidentally I was sharing about the presence and invasion of bugs and ants with someone the morning you posted this! I have done a variety of things to get rid of some bugs and what you share here is definitely something that has worked. I really appreciate your encouraging to send messages as this has seemed to work really well for me also. There was a time a few years back when I had ants and did all I could not to kill them. Finally I got a small ant trap or two and continued talking with them compassionately. I did not want to kill them but needed them to leave. I told them that I looked up their significance and was embracing their message as fully as I could. After a day or two of setting the little traps I noticed that there were very few ants in them but they all disappeared within the one or two day span – or at least chose not to come back. They are very intelligent creatures! Thanks for supporting compassionate living and thanks again for this post! It’s great! Blessings and gratitude, Giacinta


  2. Posted by Giacinta on September 15, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    ps – I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the story you shared about the ants, yoga and vibration they’re attracted to. I myself experience a lot of interesting phenomena when it comes to bugs (among other things) Just the other day I went outside for a walk with Poser… my four legged friend! 🙂 As we were walking a fly landed on my chest near my shoulder and proceeded to walk to exactly where I would imagine my heart chakra to be. As we continued walking the fly sat there for quite some time. As I embraced it’s presence and appreciated it coming to say hello I could feel the subtle yet very noticeable warmth of it’s energy gently penetrating my heart chakra just under where it was sitting very still! I have been experiencing things of this nature for such a long time and yet I always ask myself, “Is this my imagination – or – Is this all in my head”. One way or another I cannot deny the consistency of how things happen in regard to the energy and communication that goes on between humans and nature – bugs being a part of that! 🙂 Just a week or so ago I was outside once again walking with Poser and I was also picking some blackberries. All of a sudden I noticed a large brown butterfly with orange spots land on a leaf not far from where I was standing. I looked at the butterfly and with a sense of wonder, awe and curiosity I slowly approached it. I whispered my greetings and then slowly put my flattened out hand near it’s legs asking it if it would like to climb onto my hand. It fluttered a few inches back onto another leaf and I again slowly approached it with my hand sharing that it would make me very happy if it climbed onto my hand. I placed the back of my flattened hand right near it’s legs and low and behold it climbed onto my hand! It was such a gift that it put a smile on my face and in my heart of enormous proportions! I could feel it’s tiny legs tapping themselves on my hand and it was such an awesome feeling! When the butterfly flew away I realized that the smile I had on my face was one that I had never experienced before! It felt like it would remain forever!!! and in a way it has! 🙂 I also felt that the message given to me by the butterfly and it’s action was that my energy had shifted and that I had gone through a transformation prior to the incident. Otherwise I don’t think the butterfly would have climbed onto my hand and I most likely would not have even thought to approach it in the way I did and ask if it would climb onto my hand. The significance of having confirmation and validation regarding changes and growth in my life truly helps me to take the next step and propels me forward! What a beautiful gift and blessing! This morning when I was taking my dog for a walk we walked on a short wooden bridge where there is a stream that runs below. Poser and I stopped to look down and I spotted a dragonfly fluttering around. I connected with it and asked it to come up to my level of vision. It did not do that but it did come and hover just below where I was standing with Poser – as we both looked down at the dragonfly there was such a sweet connection. Feeling that we both were present and connecting with the dragonfly and the stream below was such a beautiful gift in itself! Connecting with nature is one of the most significant and profound ways that I have in my every day life to not only balance and deal with stress and worry but also to relieve it and revitalize. It’s also a way to give back to nature and this beautiful planet. To celebrate the many gifts it has to share is to honor it and how beautifully connected we are! Many blessings and eternal gratitude for extending yourself into this realm of existence and for sharing it. Love, Giacinta


  3. Posted by bshs on August 28, 2013 at 12:58 am

    You are kinda weird with your dumb thought stuff and raid works good. If your house wasn’t dirty you wouldn’t have ants.


  4. LOL, and you are kinda weird spraying a neurotoxin where you can inhale it. FYI, they were carpenter ants eating the wood of a rental house.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Posted by Kim on September 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    When we were white water rafting in the grand canyon, our camp set up one eve around several ant spaces. People were spraying around their sleeping bags and the ant ‘hills’ surrounding said belongings. I had a chat with my ants and said that they could remain in their space and I would remain in mine…I would be leaving by morning. We had an honest to goodness enjoyment that no ‘OFF’ appeared to be needed and even though, they were very busy and we had invaded them, they stuck to our agreement! They even began to convene near my sleeping bag as morning was rolling along and we had yet to depart. Apparently, I was lingering through the morning and our agreement was clearly ‘morning!’


  6. Oh, I love that story!


  7. Posted by Ashley Vita Verde on April 24, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    This is so amazing – I have been asking these ants to go away (they have been crawling all over my things and me during the day, when I sleep..). I finally decided to look up a nice way to get them to go because I have told children “ants are our friends!” So I can’t justify killing… Yours was the first and best communicative, empowering message. Thank you. Immediately after I read the part about money luck changing I thought, “wow, I think that could be it” and when I looked up again they were gone! So amazing! I had previously asked a few to get off of me or certain items but they are so quick and curious… But thank you so much for your gentle compassion for God’s creatures. So interesting to hear about their yoga practice =) blessings ❤


  8. Wow, isn’t it amazing how things shift when we get the message?! Blessings to you, too!


  9. Posted by Michael King on May 2, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    This was an amazing post. Many ideas about the presence of ants in it, I related to. Thank you for sharing this, I have learned more and been reassured about what these ants represent in my current life. (I recently moved, and am having financial obstacles.)

    Thanks again for your knowledge Laura Bruno!


  10. Posted by Cheryl on May 14, 2014 at 3:08 am

    I’m going to try this with some moths that made their way into my home and nothing has worked to get them to go. They’ve taken up residence in the pantry – it amazes me what they get into -sealed jars, bags of things that haven’t even been opened. Maddening. (and to bshs – I don’t have a dirty house either =))


  11. Posted by nu2u on September 6, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Make a pact with spiders and snakes, too, it really works!

    The spider kingdom and I have had an agreement since a Brown Recluse got me as a kid. I intuitively declared a peace treaty with all spiders and their webs, and they have held up their end without fail, and even kindly let me relocate the dangerous ones without issue.

    As for the snakes, I have had many “close calls” with some of the worst, including even stepping right next to and ON them, without incident. I can’t help but believe that on some energetic level they since my intention to keep peace with them. I can’t say thus is true for others around me in such instances, though!. I live in a place where these can be daily encounters, so I am grateful.

    Been trying the same with ants, as they are so helpful to man, such as the fire ants controlling tick numbers, and it gets easier with time and effort.

    Thanks, Laura for remembering the seemingly littleist, when in fact they account for a large portion of Earth’s mass! We have much to learn from Nature, if we listen. Can’t wait to try your tips!

    PS Working with mosquitoes, they are tricky!


  12. Cool, thanks for sharing your stories. I’ve found that the mantra “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasu Deevaya” works like a charm as a mosquito repellent, so long as I remember to use it. It I don’t, I’m a mosquito magnet, but whenever I get that mantra going in my head, it’s like the bounce off a shield around me, even in swampy areas. You’d think I’d remember it all the time, but unfortunately, I only do some of the time. As soon as I start, though, the bites immediately stop. 🙂


  13. Posted by Tufqifo on January 9, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I have to say that parts of this sound like an over-active imagination and confirmation bias, but I respect that your belief is based, at its heart, on a true understanding that we are connected more than most realize to even the smallest details of the world around us. If you want compassionate practices to spread, however, I would recommend that you tone down the more personal/spiritual parts in public forums, so you are not quickly dismissed before being heard. That being said, thank you for sharing your approach of having the ants carry back the message to stay away! I will probably have to kill a few, but it is worth a try to see if a couple carcasses gives ample warning to the rest. I have observed them enough to know that their communication is quick and intelligent. Any idea how long the colony retains this message? My guess is that it likely evolved as a temporary response to a predator or a seasonal hazard.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Well, I do have a highly active imagination, but since that’s how we create new worlds, I’m OK with that. 😉 Thanks for your comment! I don’t know how long a colony retains the message. That would be an interesting experiment. I used to move every 3-6 months, so I was never at an ant heavy location long enough to conduct a full test. Our current place where we’ve been three years does not have any indoor ant problems. We have tons outside, though. Maybe if you provide a great habitat for them outdoors they won’t want to go inside?


  15. Posted by Carson Hall on April 19, 2016 at 12:53 am

    Today I was at my Mom’s house and she has a problem with tiny ants in her kitchen. It seems they are coming from a nest under the house, and she keeps her place clean, but they just keep coming back. Today she was killing them with her finger and every one she squished hurt me deep in my soul. I was searching for another subject and your blog popped up and this was in the sidebar. I will try this tomorrow when I go to her house. It is so amazing how these things pop up when you need them.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Organic Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil. Try it. If you need ants to leave your space alone without killing them, it genuinely seems to work to get them to shift their territory from your house. I get this oil from Mt. Rose Herbs as their version seems quite strong, but other companies also make it. A few drops on counters and on a sponge makes ants avoid the space and they disappeared altogether from my kitchen. It’s not like peppermint and lavender, which I’ve tried before also, as well as many other things. (I’ve also tried asking them, which can be helpful, except when they are very determined that they want to be in your kitchen.)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Haha, so true about the determination. Asking does not always work. Thanks for the extra tip. 🙂


  18. Posted by Eve on June 19, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Hmm! Tried this yesterday … came across a nest in the garden about 18″ by 3″ absolutely masses of ants …. politely asked them to leave, said they had 10 minutes or I would have to pour boiling water over them and I really didn’t want to hurt them! … went back out about 20 minutes later and they had all gone! WOW!


  19. That’s so good to hear!


  20. Posted by Alison Smith on July 31, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Coconut oil repels ants. It contains Lauric acid. When we rub it on the outside of our window tracks, around the light switch covers or anywhere we see ants they immediately avoid the area and do not return. If they do we just put down fresh coconut oil.
    We also feed our dogs ( around 40lbs) one 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil on their food daily. No fleas for more than seven years. Also just good for their health.
    Try the coconut oil again. It works!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wow, thanks for the tip!


  22. Posted by Em on August 8, 2017 at 9:07 am

    I was following every thing you had written up until you started anthropomorphizing the ants. Claiming that ants are “little reminders” of good and bad financial fortune is quite the stretch. How can someone “intuitively” assume that ants have any awareness of you and your financial circumstance? If you have friends visiting, why doesn’t that have the same financial impact as when the ants come? How did you make that connection? Is it anecdotal?

    It’s frustrating coming across blogs misinforming the public. I mean, if you’re making claims, it’s appropriate as long as you give a reasonable explanation and/or show proof.

    Don’t fall for everything y’all read on the internet, people. Anyone can write anything.


  23. It’s anecdotal, but based on many anecdotes from a wide variety of people. Shamanism is an ancient tradition. You might want to read up on it if you’re interested. If not, then just move on. Not everything I post is for everyone. 🙂


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