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Do Mothballs Keep Ants Away? (Quick Answers)

Ants are pretty disturbing insects. Especially they can go any place and make a place messy. Moreover, the bite of an ant is painful. So, you might want to get rid of ants. You might have tried different ways to keep ants away. But easy ways and sources are the best for repelling purposes.

So, you might be confused about whether mothballs keep ants away. Mothballs are pretty effective in keeping away insects. But if it can keep ants away, you can easily use these for common purposes. Moreover, learning the application process is pretty essential.

Keeping ants away with Mothballs

Mothballs are not effective in keeping ants away. Generally, mothballs contain naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. The fume or toxic gas produced from mothballs is harmful insects for insects. Mothballs might not deter ants because the deterring elements in mothballs are in a tiny amount. 

However, you might want to know the reasons behind the deterring property of mothballs. Let’s see some reasons why mothballs are not effective in keeping ants away.


Generally, the smell of mothballs is similar to naphthalene. Because mothballs contain naphthalene. Though the amount of naphthalene is small, it can help prevent many insects and small animals.

You might have used mothballs in between clothes and beddings. Generally, these are used to deter moths. But these can also prevent some other insects. But ants are not repelled with mothballs.

But the smell of mothballs is dangerous for some small insects. But the repelling elements are so small in amount that they can’t repel ants. So, whenever they find any smell of mothballs, they might not avoid that place.

The smell might not be unpleasant for humans and animals but dangerous for moths. Though mothballs can’t repel ants well, overall, the mothballs are toxic. So, humans and animals should also not be in direct contact with mothballs. 


An essential element of mothballs is naphthalene. You might know that naphthalene releases fume. So, mothballs release fume also. You will see that the size of mothballs is decreasing gradually. This is because of the fume release from the mothballs.

Though you can’t see the fume, the fume is actually released. This fume is unsafe for insects. But this fame doesn’t affect ants dangerously. That’s why you might see that ants are not repelled after using mothballs.

Once you apply mothballs and ants are close to the fume, they will keep away from that place instantly. But ants will not go away forever. You might see that the ants are back within a couple of days. So, the fume of mothballs is not also effective for ants.

Can mothballs or naphthalene balls deter these ants?

Mothballs and naphthalene are known to deter insects. But these chemicals don’t deter all types of insects. They are not effective for different insects. So, you might want to know about the effectiveness of these chemicals on ants. Let’s see whether mothballs or naphthalene balls can deter these ants or not.

Carpenter ants:

Mothballs can’t deter carpenter ants from your house. Generally, mothballs have naphthalene that has a strong smell and fume. When you use mothballs in your clothes or beddings to deter moths, they can also be helpful for some other insects.

Mothballs can deter some insects. But they can’t deter or prevent ants. The strong fume released from the mothballs or naphthalene is not effective in distracting ants. Similarly, carpenter ants can bear the smell and fume of mothballs. So, these chemical balls are not suitable to deter carpenter ants.

Fire ants:

Fire ants are also not deterred by the use of mothballs. Mothballs are mainly used for preventing moths. But the strong smell and fume might prevent some other small animals from coming close to the chemical.

But this effect is not suitable for fire ants. Ants are able to bear the fume or smell. When you apply mothballs somewhere, fire ants might avoid that place for a while. But ants will not be repelled by the use of mothballs.

Do ants like or dislike the smell of mothballs?

Ants don’t like or dislike the smell of mothballs. Generally, mothball smell doesn’t have any effect on ants. People might hear the rumor that mothballs can deter ants. But this is not true. Mothballs are not good at deterring ants.

You might think that mothballs might attract ants since they don’t deter ants. But the smell of mothballs doesn’t attract the ants also. If you use mothballs to deter ants, other insects might keep away from that place. But ants will still be there after using the mothballs.

So, you can’t tell that ants dislike the smell of mothballs. The smell might be strong but is not enough to repel ants. Moreover, you don’t know that ants like the smell of mothballs. Because if you apply mothballs in a place, ants will not come close to the mothballs or go away from them.

Can mothballs attract ants?

No, there is no firm evidence that mothballs attract ants. You can’t use mothballs to attract ants unless the label of the mothballs indicates so.

Generally, mothballs have naphthalene and other chemicals that create a strong smell. The smell might be strong enough to deter or attract some insects and animals.

But the smell is not enough for ants to attract. Mothballs don’t have a strong effect on ants. So, these chemical balls don’t attract ants.

How do you safely use naphthalene balls for ants?

You might know that naphthalene balls or mothballs are not that effective for ants. Moreover, naphthalene balls are pretty toxic. The fumes released from the naphthalene balls are harmful to inhale. So, you might want to know the use of naphthalene balls for ants. Let’s see how you can use naphthalene balls safely for ants.

Finding the appropriate ones:

You might know that naphthalene balls have little effect on ants. So, you have to find the naphthalene balls that have a label showing repelling properties. A label indicating ant repelling properties might have the right amount of naphthalene. So, you have to choose the right one first.

Finding ant source:

Then you have to find out the sources from where the ants are coming from. Finding the source will help you to know where you have to apply the naphthalene balls. If you don’t find a source of ants, you don’t have to use the naphthalene balls here and there necessarily.

Applying the naphthalene balls:

Then you have to apply some of the naphthalene balls to the source of ants. Moreover, you can also find other sources of ants and use these balls. Don’t apply too many of these naphthalene balls because they are toxic.

You might think of using an excess amount of naphthalene balls to keep the house safe from ants. But you should not do this. Because naphthalene balls release fumes that can be dangerous for humans and animals. So, use these chemicals only where you need them.

Final Thoughts

Mothballs are not that effective in keeping ants away. You might have heard the rumor that mothballs can deter ants. But mothballs have a minimal amount of repellent. So, the mothballs might deter some other insects and animals. But they don’t have much effect on ants.