Mythbusters: ants and cinnamon

There are plenty of DIY pest control solutions floating around on the Internet. But are all of them true? Are they safe? In 2018, our resident doctor of entomology and author of Ask the Bug Doc, Nancy Troyano, takes on these Internet solutions in a new series: Mythbusters.

Can cinnamon keep ants away from your home?

The Internet says:

You can prevent ants from getting into your home by sprinkling cinnamon near where you see them.

Myth: Busted

There is at least SOME scientific basis for this myth, but the truth is that the cinnamon you buy at the grocery store is not going to solve your ant problem.

The roots of this Internet solution may spring from an article published in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications in 2014. In a laboratory setting, researchers extracted chemical compounds from cinnamon and used the highly concentrated oils to see if they’d repel ants – and it showed some effectiveness.

However, the cinnamon you use in cooking and on your morning toast won’t have the same level of concentration. If you sprinkle it in an area where you see ants, you may indeed notice that ants avoid that area – but they’re going to go somewhere else, and that will likely be to another area of your home. Ants are persistent in their quest for food or moisture. If your home has it, they’re going to keep looking for ways to get to it. A sprinkle of cinnamon isn’t going to stop them.

The truth is that to truly solve an ant problem, you need to get to the source by finding the nest and eliminating it. Depending upon the species of ant, that could be a complex and even dangerous undertaking.

If you have an ant problem in your home, your Ehrlich Specialist can identify the ants in question, which will reveal some significant clues about where they may be nesting. From there, he or she can put together the most appropriate plan of action, provide recommendations on keeping the ants out of your home, locate the nest, and provide the most appropriate treatment for resolving the issue.

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