A Study Comparing Essential Oils as Repellents and Pesticides Against the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta


  • Leah Danielle Voss


Solenopsis invicta, the Red Imported Fire Ant, is an invasive species that poses a threat to certain individuals by entering homes and living spaces. However, pesticides are overused and finding other more natural methods of repelling and killing these insects is necessary. In this experiment, the essential oils lemongrass, lavender, and tea tree oil were tested to determine their efficacy as repellents and insecticides against these ants. To test them as repellants, the ants were placed inside of a square, plastic container close to the wall opposite of the bait. There was a line of oil with a space left for the ants to walk through to access the bait. Tea tree oil proved to be the best repellant, deterring the ants from accessing the Oreo bait one-hundred percent of the time. To test these oils as insecticides, the ants are placed in small drops of each oil and left until they were deceased. Lavender was shown to be the most effective insecticide, but the results of this portion were deemed inconclusive. The results of this experiment were important in demonstrating that using natural insect repellants is possible to decrease the amount of chemical pesticides used globally.