7 Candle Scents That Keep Ants Away (And How To Use Them)

Close up of three black ants around the home's foundation

Ants can be an annoying invader in the home and around the yard. Luckily, scented candles may be able to deter these pesky insects. This article will explore various odors that can repel ants and how to make the most of these wonderful little aromatic torches for ant control.

To understand why scented candles might be effective in deterring ants, it’s essential to grasp a bit about ant behavior. Ants rely heavily on their sense of smell to communicate and navigate their environment. Thus, utilizing scented candles with specific fragrances can disrupt their normal activities and encourage them to find a new place to call home.

We will dive into these scents and discuss how they can be best implemented around your home, from commonly infested areas to understanding different types of ants and their preferences.

Key Takeaways:

  • Utilizing scented candles can disrupt ants’ sense of smell, making them an effective natural deterrent
  • Selecting specific fragrances can help combat different types of ants and target infested areas
  • Pairing scented candles with alternative pest control methods may provide optimal results in managing ant invasions

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How Scented Candles Affect Ant Behavior

Pheromone Trails

Ants communicate using pheromones, chemical signals emitted by each individual in the colony. As they move, they leave a pheromone trail behind them – sort of like invisible breadcrumbs!

This pheromone trail acts like a GPS system for ants, guiding them to and from food sources. Sugar plays a central role in luring ants, so sweet-scented candles can often counteract and disrupt the ant trails, causing confusion in their navigation. But why not jazz things up and combine sugar with some creative fragrances?

Different Scents Affect Different Ants

When it comes to the vast world of ants, there are numerous species with varying preferences. Carpenter ants, for example, prefer wood, while fire ants may opt for warmer locations and moisture-loving ants thrive in damp environments.

However, one commonality they all share is their undying loyalty to their queen. Ant colonies rally around her, motivated by her pheromone signals. But if you confuse the ants with candle scents, their colonies could be thrown into disarray!

Remember, the key to a successful ant defense is identifying their entry point. These tenacious critters can exploit any tiny crack or crevice to invade your home. Successfully blocking their pathways of entry can hinder an infestation in its tracks! Combine this strategy with sweetly scented candles to confuse their pheromone trail, and you’ve got a winning, all-natural ant barrier.

Using Scented Candles for Ant Control

Scented candle to keep ants away

Choice of Candle Scents

When it comes to keeping ants at bay, certain scents are more effective than others. An article from the Journal of Agricultural And Food Chemistry found that chemicals such as menthol, camphor, eucalyptol, and eugenol were all effective at repelling ants.

Not familiar with those names? How about peppermint, clove, and eucalyptus? The main chemical ingredients of these three essential oils are menthol, eugenol, and eucalyptol, respectively!

While citrus smells can be helpful in repelling ants, citronella candles are not as effective as many people think. However, other scented candles with strong aromas like cinnamon or peppermint can prove useful in keeping ants away!

Here are some scents to consider:

  • Peppermint or menthol
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Cedar
  • Pine
  • Clove

Remember, your goal is to choose candles with strong aromas that will deter ants from approaching. Candles with mild scents might not provide the desired results.


It is important to note that using scented candles as an ant control method is typically a temporary solution. While they can help mask the scent trails that ants use to navigate, they may not eliminate the ant problem completely.

For a more lasting solution, consider trying other natural ant repellents like coffee grounds or combining scents with other strategies like ant traps or cleaning up food sources.

Consider the following ways to use scented candles to repel ants:

  1. Place candles near entry points where ants are known to enter your home.
  2. Light candles in areas where you’ve seen ants foraging for food.
  3. Combine candles of different scents to create a more potent aromatic barrier.
  4. Position candles along the ant trail to disrupt their scent navigation.
  5. If you have an outdoor gathering, surround the area with scented candles to deter ants.
  6. Rotate the candle scents regularly to keep ants guessing and avoid resistance.

While using scented candles to deter ants may not be the most potent form of pest control, they can provide a pleasant-smelling temporary solution to keep these unwanted guests from invading your space.

Candle Scents To Repel Ants

cinnamon essential oil to repel ants

Essential Oils

Peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil are excellent examples of essential oils that ants dislike. Apply these oils to a candle to make a natural scent-repellent. When you burn these candles, they will emit their scent, disrupting the pheromone scent trails that ants use to communicate their location.


Ants tend to avoid strong-smelling spices like cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and clove. Make your own candles with these spices by blending the spice powder with melted wax, or adding a few drops of their essential oils.

Cinnamon oil is especially effective at deterring ants because it disrupts their scent trails. The result is a natural way to keep ants away while adding a cozy vibe to your home! Alternatively, you can purchase a cinnamon-scented candle like WoodWick Cinnamon Chai Candle.

Citrus Scents

Citrus scents like lemon and orange can be your secret weapon against ants! These refreshing smells tend to irritate the ants’ olfactory senses. You can easily create citrus-scented candles using essential oils like lemon eucalyptus oil or lemongrass oil. Or, try out Lulu Candles Wild Lemongrass for a premade candle!

As you light the candles, not only will they add a fresh and energizing scent to your space, but also effectively drive the ants away!

Other Scents

Other scents can also play a role in repelling ants. Take lavender oil for instance, a popular scent in perfumes and well-loved for its calming aroma. However, for ants, lavender can be extremely disruptive, making it difficult for them to navigate and send signals.

That being said, try using citronella candles which are popular for repelling mosquitoes. While not as powerful for ants as for mosquitoes, the citronella scent can deter ants in smaller concentrations. With these candles around, ants will think twice before entering your home!

Here are a few other scents that ants dislike:

Sure, here’s a table of scents that are known to repel ants, including some common household items:

ScentDescription of Why Ants Don’t Like ItCommon Household Items
VinegarThe strong odor of vinegar is known to repel ants, as they find it unpleasant and avoid it.White vinegar, apple cider vinegar
Bay LeavesAnts dislike the strong scent of bay leaves, which can be overpowering to their sensitive senses.Bay leaves

Common Areas Infested By Ants

Ants in the house on the baseboards and wall angle


Your kitchen is a popular hotspot for ants as they are constantly on the hunt for food sources! Cracks and entry points around countertops, sinks, and appliances provide easy access for these tiny invaders.

To deter ants, try burning candle scents like cinnamon or peppermint near their entry points. Here are some creative ways to use candle scents in your kitchen:

  • Place scented tealights around the kitchen perimeter.
  • Use scented wax melts in a decorative wax warmer.
  • Display an aroma diffuser with essential oils near the primary ant trail.

Ants dislike these scents because they disrupt their ability to communicate with their colony through pheromones.


Your garden provides another enticing buffet for ants, as they are drawn to the sweet nectar of flowers and plant debris. To keep ants away using candle scents, place citronella candles around your garden, particularly near known ant colonies or frequented areas.

Some other scent strategies include:

  • Planting aromatic herbs like lavender or mint near problem spots.
  • Incorporating scented candles in your outdoor seating areas.
  • Sprinkling essential oil-infused wood chips as mulch.

By incorporating these scents, you can create a fragrant barrier that ants will want to avoid!

Wood and Baseboards

Ants often target wood and baseboards, exploiting small cracks to create entry points into your home. Some ants, like carpenter ants, even make their nests inside wood structures. To prevent ants from invading these areas, burn candle scents such as eucalyptus or lemongrass nearby.

Consider these additional ideas:

  • Place scented drawer liners along the baseboards.
  • Diffuse essential oils in a room with wooden furniture or structures.
  • Apply a scented wood polish to keep ants at bay.

Remember, the key is to keep these fragrances consistent and persistent enough to disrupt the ants’ pheromone communication and deter them from making your home their next target.

Effects of Ant Infestations

Damage to Property

Ants, especially carpenter ants, can cause quite a stir when they invade your home! These little creatures are skilled in damaging wooden structures. Carpenter ants specifically excavate wood to build their nests, which can weaken the structural integrity of your property.

The damage may not be visible immediately, but over time, it can become a significant issue if left unaddressed.

How To Use Scented Candles For Different Types Of Ants

Odorous House Ants

Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) are quite peculiar when it comes to their smell. Research indicates that they give off a blue cheese-like odor, which makes for a funky surprise when discovering an infestation.

These ants have a strong attraction to sweets, such as fruit and corn syrup, making your sugary treats their ideal meal. To keep them at bay, using scented candles with a citrus or minty fragrance can disrupt their olfactory senses, preventing their invasion of your goodies!

Pavement Ants

Pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum) are known for their love of grease. You’ll often find them near paving stones or sidewalks, and they won’t think twice about invading your home in search of greasy, fatty treats. Aphids are also a favorite food source for pavement ants, as they produce honeydew.

To deter these ants, try using peppermint or eucalyptus scented candles. The strong aroma can deter their keen sense of smell and keep them from entering your space.

Carpenter Ants

These nuisance ants, Carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.), are not only drawn to sweets and fruit but can also cause structural damage to your home. Unlike termites, they don’t eat wood but excavate cavities to nest inside, compromising the integrity of wooden structures.

To discourage these ants from settling in, opt for lavender or lemongrass scented candles. These scents can both mask the odor of food and irritate the ants’ senses, encouraging them to seek shelter elsewhere.

Managing Ant Invasions

Take the garbage out promptly can prevent ant infestations

Preventive Measures

Keeping ants at bay requires a combination of preventive measures. One critical step is storing food properly to reduce their attraction to your home. Always keep food in tightly sealed containers or use plastic bags with zip closures.

Sealing gaps and cracks around your house also prevents ants from gaining entry, ensuring your home stays ant-free!

Regular cleaning is another critical aspect of prevention. Make sure to clean up spills, crumbs, and food waste immediately. Regularly empty your trash cans and keep your kitchen and pantry areas clean.

Homemade Ant Repellents

If you’re looking for a natural way to eliminate ants, homemade remedies can be your best bet. For instance, you can use candle scents to deter ants as they just don’t like certain fragrances. Using scented candles like peppermint, lemon or cinnamon, you can create an aromatic atmosphere ants would avoid. Plus, your home will smell fantastic too!

Here are a few unique ways to use candle scents to keep ants away:

  • Place small scented candles around your home, specifically by entry points like doors, windows, and cracks
  • Light scented candles in your kitchen and dining area during meal times
  • Strategically place candle scent diffusers or wax warmers in high-traffic ant areas

Natural Ant Traps

Consider safe ant traps using natural ingredients like baby powder. Create a barrier in areas where ants are entering your home by sprinkling powders like baby or talcum powder. Ants dislike the texture and scent of powders, and this creates a simple yet effective barrier.

Ant bait stations are another safe ant trap option. Mix a solution of boric acid with an attractive bait, like sugar syrup, and place the mixture in small containers around your home. Ants are attracted to the bait, consume it, and take it back to their colonies, thus gradually eliminating the infestation.

Professional Services

When natural methods don’t seem to be working, it may be time to call in the professionals. Pest control professionals and exterminators can assess your home and figure out what is attracting ants, how they’re getting in, and how to stop them.

Use our nationwide pest control finder to connect with a local pest professional.

Alternative Methods to Get Rid of Ants

Use of Boiling Water for Anthills

Boiling water can be a simple and effective way to get rid of anthills in your yard. Pouring it directly onto the anthill penetrates the colony and effectively eliminates the majority of ants, including the queen. However, be cautious not to pour boiling water on grass or plants, as it can harm them.

Remember, timing is everything! The best time to do it is in the morning or evening when ants are most active.

Use of Vinegar and Juice

Another alternative method is using vinegar and juice to deter ants. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and your favorite fruit juice. Spray the solution near ant trails and around the house. Why does this work? Vinegar’s strong scent disrupts ants’ communication and navigation abilities, while juice acts as bait.

In addition, wiping surfaces with coffee grounds can further help – ants dislike its aroma! Take note: don’t forget to rinse surfaces with water later to avoid stickiness from the juice.

Effective Store-Bought Options

If you prefer a more convenient option, there are store-bought natural repellents available. These repellents often include essential oils that ants find repulsive. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Dish soap: Mix equal parts of dish soap and water in a spray bottle. Dish soap has a dual effect – it not only repels ants but also Eliminates them upon contact.
  • Essential oil candles: Scented candles with essential oils, such as peppermint or eucalyptus, have been known to deter ants. Light these candles in areas where ants gather.
  • Honey traps: Create a mixture that is two parts honey and one part Borax. Place the mixture on small plates around the house. This will attract ants and substantially reduce their population.

That’s A Wrap!

Candle scents can be an effective and natural method for keeping ants at bay! Ants rely on their sense of smell to navigate and communicate, so introducing strong scented candles can disrupt their scent trails and deter them from entering your home.

Here are some creative ways to utilize candle scents for ant-repelling purposes:

  1. Place scented candles near entry points: By placing candles with strong scents like cinnamon, peppermint, or eucalyptus near doors and windows, you can disrupt the ants’ scent trails and make it harder for them to find their way inside.
  2. Create a barrier: Arrange scented candles around your home’s perimeter to create a scented barrier that can deter ants from coming close.
  3. Mix and match: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different scents! By combining various fragrances, you can create a customized scent profile that’s more effective at keeping ants at bay.
  4. Opt for essential oil infused candles: Many candles are infused with essential oils, which can provide a more concentrated and long-lasting scent. Choose candles containing oils like peppermint, lavender, or citrus to maximize ant-repelling potential.
  5. Keep the scents fresh: To ensure the effectiveness of your scented candles, make sure to regularly replace them as their scents dissipate.
  6. Incorporate other scent-based methods: Alongside scented candles, you can also use potpourri, air fresheners, and essential oil diffusers to maintain a scent-driven ant-repelling strategy throughout your home.

It’s important to note that while candle scents can help deter ants, they may not be the most effective solution for a major infestation. However, they can certainly be a useful tool in your arsenal of natural ant-repelling methods. So, go ahead and light up those fragrances, and keep those pesky ants at bay!

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