Does Cinnamon Kill Ants?

Bill Swank
First Published: | Updated: February 27, 2024

When it comes to pest control, ants are one of the most common culprits in homes across the country. Surprisingly, a common kitchen ingredient, cinnamon, has been attested by many to have a significant effect in keeping these tiny invaders at bay. But does cinnamon really kill ants? Let’s dive into and unravel this interesting relationship between cinnamon and ants.

  • Cinnamon, due to its cinnamaldehyde content, acts as a natural ant repellent, confusing ants’ scent trails and driving them away.
  • Cinnamon essential oil, when used in high concentration, can kill ants by disrupting their nervous system.
  • Cinnamon can be effectively used as a barrier, a deterrent spray, or even incorporated into the cleaning routine for ongoing ant prevention.
  • Though safe and natural, cinnamon might not be fully effective for large infestations and doesn’t address the root cause of ant infestations, the queen ant located deep within the ant colony. In these cases, professional pest control might be required.
  • Cinnamon, when used consistently and combined with other ant control strategies, can effectively contribute to long-term ant control and maintain an ant-free environment.

Table of Contents

What is the Relationship Between Cinnamon and Ants?

What is cinnamon and how is it commonly used?

Cinnamon is a widely popular spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. For centuries, it’s been utilized in cooking and baking due to its uniquely sweet yet spicy flavor. Beyond culinary uses, cinnamon also shows up in traditional medicine and natural health remedies due to its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

What does cinnamon contain?

Cinnamon is packed with potent compounds, with the most notable being an organic compound known as cinnamaldehyde. This compound is responsible for the rich, distinctive aroma and taste of cinnamon, but as we’ll soon discover, also plays a key role in ants deterrence.

How does cinnamon affects ants?

Cinnamon, especially cinnamaldehyde, acts as a natural repellent. Ants primarily navigate and find food through scent trails. The strong, overpowering smell of cinnamon disrupts these scent trails, making it challenging for ants to follow their established paths, thus effectively repelling them.

Does cinnamon repel ants?

Yes, cinnamon does serve as an effective repellent. By interfering with the ants’ ability to follow scent trails, it can disorient and deter them from particular areas. Extensive use can even prevent them from returning.

Does cinnamon kill ants?

While cinnamon in its powdered or dry form doesn’t outrightly kill ants, cinnamon essential oil, with its concentrated cinnamaldehyde, can disrupt the ants’ nervous system and kill them at high concentrations.

What are the Different Forms of Cinnamon that Can be Used Against Ants?

Can cinnamon powder kill or repel ants?

Cinnamon powder can effectively repel ants. The strong aroma disrupts their scent trails, thereby repelling them. But, cinnamon powder doesn’t directly kill ants. Its main role is to disorient and deter ants from particular areas in your house, such as kitchen countertops or pantry floors.

How effective is cinnamon essential oil in killing ants?

Unlike cinnamon powder, cinnamon essential oil can be lethal to ants. Cinnamon oil, bearing highly concentrated cinnamaldehyde, can interrupt the ants’ nervous system when used in high concentrations. When ants inhale this spice, it can lead to suffocation and consequently, their demise.

Does the form of cinnamon used (sticks, powder, or essential oil) affect its effectiveness?

Yes, the form of cinnamon used does affect its effectiveness against ants. Cinnamon sticks and powder offer a non-lethal, preventive measure against ants. Their strong odor repels ants and creates an impassable barrier. Conversely, cinnamon essential oil is a potent lethal agent against an active ant infestation.

How to Use Cinnamon for Ant Control

How to make a cinnamon barrier?

Creating a cinnamon barrier is simple. Sprinkle cinnamon powder around the perimeter of the area you wish to protect – be it your home, garden, or pantry. This barrier, due to its strong aroma, will deter ants from crossing, effectively protecting the area from an ant invasion.

How can one make a cinnamon spray for ant control?

You can create an easy and natural cinnamon spray to deter ants. Here’s how:

Cinnamon Powder Spray

Combine 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder with 1 cup of water. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle. Shake well before each use, ensuring the cinnamon is well mixed. Spray this solution onto ant trails, corners, or directly onto ants.

Cinnamon Essential Oil Spray

To a spray bottle, add 1 part cinnamon essential oil to 99 parts water. This is roughly equivalent to adding 10 to 15 drops of oil into a cup of water. Shake well, and spray where needed.

Can cinnamon essential oil be used to deter ants?

Absolutely, cinnamon essential oil is an effective deterrent against ants due to its potent concentration of cinnamaldehyde. Applying the oil or spraying a diluted version can disorient and deter ants. Additionally, you can soak cotton balls with cinnamon essential oil and place them strategically in problem areas, adding another level of protection against these tiny invaders.

How can I use cinnamon essential oil to kill ants?

For a lethal impact, apply the high-concentrated essential oil directly on the ants or their nests. It has the potential to disrupt their nervous system and suffocate them.

Can you make an ant trap with cinnamon?

Yes, by mixing cinnamon with water and sugar, you can create a sticky trap that will attract and eventually kill ants.

What are the other uses of cinnamon against ants?

Cinnamon can also be incorporated into your cleaning routines. Adding cinnamon to the solution you use to clean your floors, countertops, and pantry will deter ants and other insects.

Are there other household items, like vinegar, that can be combined with cinnamon for more effective ant control?

Indeed. Vinegar is another natural repellent for ants. You can amplify your ant deterrent by combining vinegar with your cinnamon spray. Simply replace some of the water with vinegar in the recipes for cinnamon sprays provided earlier.

Do Ants Like or Hate Cinnamon?

Does ants like or dislike cinnamon?

Ants heavily dislike cinnamon. The pungent aroma of cinnamon disrupts their scent trails and deters them. When they encounter cinnamon, be it in stick, powder, or essential oil form, they tend to retreat and look for different routes.

Are ants attracted to cinnamon?

No, ants are not attracted to cinnamon. On the contrary, they seem to find the scent of cinnamon overwhelming and offensive, making it an effective repellent.

How Long Does It Take for Cinnamon to Affect Ants?

How long does it take for cinnamon to kill ants?

The impact of cinnamon essential oil on ants can be observed in as little as 30 minutes, during which it starts repelling them. As for the mortality rate, cinnamon essential oil extract can kill ants within approximately 60 to 90 minutes. Hence, any ants exposed to the cinnamon essential oil should be expected to die within an hour and a half.

Do you need to reapply cinnamon regularly to maintain its effectiveness?

Yes, reapplication is necessary for continual effectiveness. The scent of cinnamon powder and sticks can dissipate with time, reducing their repellency. Also, environmental factors like rain or wind can wash away or disperse your cinnamon deterrent. Reapply every few days, or after any significant weather event to maintain its effectiveness.

Is Cinnamon a Safe Solution for Ant Control?

How safe is cinnamon as an ant control method for humans and pets?

Cinnamon is a natural, non-toxic substance that is safe to use around humans and pets. Unlike synthetic pesticides, it doesn’t carry health risks or side effects. However, certain individuals or pets may be allergic to cinnamon. Always use with caution if you are uncertain about potential allergies.

Where to safely place cinnamon for ant control?

Cinnamon can be safely applied in areas where you have noticed ants or suspect they might appear. These include kitchen counters, pantry floors, window sills, and any crevices through which ants may enter your home.

What are the potential drawbacks of using cinnamon for ants?

While cinnamon is effective at repelling ants, it might not be as efficient for large infestations. Also, cinnamon doesn’t address the root cause of why ants are entering your home – which usually involves removing their food source. Moreover, one key potential drawback is that cinnamon usually can’t reach the heart of the infestation, which is the ant colony and the queen ant.

To fully eradicate an ant infestation, it’s crucial to kill the queen, which breeding hundreds, if not thousands, of ants daily. Cinnamon, whether in powder or oil form, often fails to reach the nesting area deep within a structure or underground where the queen resides.

Are there any environmental concerns regarding the use of cinnamon as an ant repellent or killer?

Cinnamon is an eco-friendly alternative to chemical pesticides. It biodegrades and does not harm beneficial insects like bees or garden-friendly worm species.

What are the precautions or safety measures to consider when using cinnamon against ants?

Although, generally safe, always be mindful when using cinnamon essential oil, as it can cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals. Also, direct contact with eyes can cause irritation. Always wash your hands thoroughly after use.

How Effective Is Cinnamon Against Ants?

How effective is cinnamon for killing ants?

Cinnamon in its oil form can be very effective in killing ants. However, it’s crucial to reach a high enough concentration of cinnamon oil to have this lethal effect, which might need multiple applications.

How does cinnamon compare to other natural ant killers?

Cinnamon stacks up favorably against other natural ant killers, particularly in terms of its safety profile and ease of use. Its efficacy as a repellent is comparable, if not superior, to many other natural remedies, such as vinegar or diatomaceous earth.

Does cinnamon kill ants instantly?

High concentrations of cinnamon essential oil can cause ants to die within an hour to an hour and a half of exposure. However, death is not instant.

Can cinnamon completely eradicate an ant infestation?

While cinnamon can deter ants and even kill them in high concentrations, it might not be able to completely eradicate larger infestations, especially if the ants have established a large colony. In these cases, professional pest control assistance may be needed.

Is cinnamon a long-term solution for ant infestation?

Cinnamon can support long-term ant control when used consistently, along with other pest management strategies such as eliminating food sources, regular cleaning, and sealing entry points.

How can I use cinnamon to kill ants effectively?

Apart from spreading cinnamon powder or spraying homemade cinnamon spray, you can employ cinnamon essential oil. Directly applying it to ant colonies or where they frequently appear, or mixing the cinnamon powder or essential oil with boiling water to an anthill can be a great way to use cinnamon to kill ants effectively. Be aware though, this method may require several applications over a period of time to fully eliminate the ants.


Cinnamon is a safe, natural, and effective method for ant control. It can repel and even kill ants when used consistently and in high concentrations. Though it may not be a silver bullet for large infestations, it can serve as a significant aid in maintaining an ant-free home. Remember, success in ant control isn’t merely about repelling or killing existing ants—it’s about preventing new ones from entering. In combination with other control measures, the use of cinnamon may well be the key ingredient to keep your home ant-free.

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