Ants in the Mailbox: Why and How to Get Rid of Them?

Ants are the cleaner of nature and have a massive role in the ecosystem. But they are somewhat irritating in our household. Ant nest in the mailbox is a common scenario in the USA. Let’s learn why it happens and how to deal with it.

Why do I have ants in my mailbox?

Ants can invade your mailbox to get a shelter after heavy rainfall or if they found that place suitable for making their colony. Ants like hidden and protected places for their home. So, the mailbox fits well with their home. Keeping food deliveries in the mailbox for long can also attract ants.

The chances of finding an ant colony in your mailbox are more in the monsoon and spring. When it rains heavily, the colony of ants fills up with water and ants need some higher ground for shelter. Where else can be a better place to shift the colony than a mailbox.  

Sometimes, they can shift temporarily in a mailbox when it rains and they go back after a few days. But most of the time they choose to stay in the mailbox.

If your mailbox is unused for a while, ants are more likely to make their home there. However, a mailbox is not an ideal place to make their colony. They like to make tunnels and chambers in soil.

But unfavorable weather conditions like rain or snow can make them choose alternative homes. In the spring season ants try to expand their colony and find their new home. That is the reason behind the ant’s invading mailbox in the spring season.

If you find an ant nest in the mailbox, in most cases they may not harm you directly but some ant species like red ants can cause suffering if not careful enough. 

Carpenter ants can make their home and damage wooden mailboxes. Sugar ants and other species of ants are also the common invaders of mailboxes.

There are some easy ways to remove the ants from your mailbox. But it’s a little harder to prevent them from making their home in the future. 

Pesticide works well, but it can’t be harmful to nature and humans. There are several natural ways to prevent ants from colonizing a mailbox. 

Follow the tips to get rid of ants from your mailbox.

Use protective hand gloves:

After finding ant and ant eggs in the mailbox, don’t dare to touch the home without proper protection. If it is a biting species, use protective hand gloves.

Clean up:

Clean up the mailbox manually or use forced water to remove them.

Wash the mailbox:

Wash the mailbox with disinfectant.

Washing with Vinegar:

Washing with Vinegar will keep the ants away.

Put a fabric softener:

Put a fabric softener sheet inside the mailbox for further protection.

How to get rid of ants in the mailbox?

There are some effective ways to get rid of ants in the mailbox. Check out the points below to find the best method for you.

Dryer sheet in the mailbox:

Dryer sheets contain lubricants, liquid softeners, and fragrances. It’s a very useful item for laundry. The strong smell of dryer sheets feels very unpleasant to ants, so it is often used as an ant repellent in mailboxes. 

If you put a dryer sheet in your mailbox while the ants are there, the colony will move from the mailbox. Now you can clean the mailbox easily. 

Keep the dryer sheet in the mailbox. It’s effective to keep the bugs away from your mailbox. But, make sure to change the sheets after a few weeks as their aroma reduces with time.

Any kind of dryer sheet is okay to use as ant repellent as long as it has a strong smell.

Bounce Fabric Softener Sheets, Outdoor Fresh, 240 Count


There are some different ingredients you can spray with water to get rid of the ants. Vinegar works very well as an ant repellant. You can use different types of vinegar. After drying the vinegar, it will not produce any marks or smells.

Essential oils also work well to spray with water. Mix peppermint, me, tea tree, or lemon oil with water to deter the ants. Any of the ingredients will work like magic. 

They may not kill the ants, but the ants will move as quickly as they can with the eggs.


Various chemicals can be used to kill ants. But they may not be very safe for you and the environment. 

Boric acid is the most used chemical to kill ants. It also works against cockroaches and termites. In the market, you can find many insecticide sprays that kill ants effectively.

Spraying glass cleaner and detergent spray are also effective to keep the visible ants away.

1 Pound Boric Acid Fine Powder - 99.9% Pure Fine Powder - Highly Effective Multi-Purpose Anhydrous 1 Pound Bag - Industrial Grade Strength

Hot water: 

Hot water spray will expel the ants quickly. Using some peppermint oil in the spray will make it more effective. You can use normal forced water with your garden pipe to wash the ants away. 

How to prevent and keep ants out of mailboxes in the future?

Expelling the ants from the mailbox is quite an irritating thing to do, isn’t it? So, it’s good to take some steps to stop the ants from colonizing your mailbox again in the future. Follow the tips to keep the ants away.

Use a dryer sheet:

You may find a dryer sheet in your mailbox sometimes. The mailman keeps it to keep it safe from ants and wasps. If you find one, don’t discard it. Use a dryer sheet to prevent ants.

Sticks of cinnamon:

Keeping some sticks of cinnamon or cinnamon powder will prevent the ants from making a home in the mailbox.

Tansy flower plants:

Plant some tansy flower plants around your mailbox. It will keep the ants away from the mailbox. You get beauty in addition.

Do these repel ants?

Some common ingredients can be used to repel ants. While some ingredients don’t repel ants as effectively as others but are commonly used. Check out what works best to repel ants.

Coffee ground:

Don’t want to harm the environment? Coffee grounds are the best environment-friendly way to repel ants. It’s completely safe for kids and pets too. 

The acidic profile and high nitrogen content keep the ants away. Just put some coffee ground in the mailbox and spread it around the mailbox.

Bay leaves:

Bay leaves are another effective way to deter ants. The strong smell of the leaves creates signal disruption in their antenna. So they ran away from it.

Keep some bay leaves in your mailbox and change the old leaves every month. Both fresh and dried leaves can be used to repel the ants.


Some marigold plant roots release one kind of toxin that helps to keep the nematodes away. But there is no scientific evidence that marigolds help to repel ants. 

Orange peels:

Orange peels work like magic to deter ants. Keep dried orange peels in the mailbox to keep them away from ants and bugs. Ants hate everything that smells strong.

Fresh orange peels work the best but dried ones are better for long-term use. 


Cloves can be used as ant repellent but it’s not as effective as the other ingredients. It works best when mixed with other essential oils like peppermint oil, or orange oil.

If you don’t have other ingredients to repel ants, cloves can be an option for you. Note that essential oils are enough to keep the ants away, but it’s not good to use inside mailboxes for obvious reasons.


Lemons are useful as an ant repellant. Ants don’t like anything sour or bitter, so orange juice works well on visible ants. 

You can place lemon peels inside the mailbox, but it may attract one kind of small flies. Moreover, the lemon peels effect does not last as long as orange peels.

So, lemons should be used to remove the visible ants but not for long-term ant protection.

Mint leaves:

Mint leaves help to repel ants effectively. But it loses its power after drying. So it’s not a good option for ant protection in the mailbox.


Sliced onions help to keep the ants away when it is fresh. But it’s not good for the long term. It can be used to keep the ants away in the household, where you can discard the old onions and replace them with new ones. But for mailboxes, it’s not a good idea in the long run.

Does vinegar really repel ants?

Vinegar is one of the best ingredients when it comes to repelling ants. Check out if those vinegar works or not.

White vinegar:

White vinegar has a strong smell and acidic character that repels the and fast.

Apple cider vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid and has a strong smell. It works to deter the ants.

Malt vinegar:

Malt vinegar is also effective against ants. Add water with malt vinegar and spray it in the mailbox. The ants should run away immediately.

White wine vinegar:

White wine vinegar has a less strong smell and taste. So it is less effective to keep the ants away.

Rice vinegar:

Rice vinegar is one of the most effective vinegar to repel ants because of its harsh smell and taste.

Final thoughts

Ants are usually good for your garden but not for your mailbox and household. Use natural ways to repel them instead of killing them with harmful chemicals. Don’t underestimate ant bites, as they can cause allergic reactions and life-threatening situations to some people.