Does salt attract or repel bugs?

If bugs pretty much eat anything do they enjoy salt? I was wondering this so I decided to look it up and this is what I found.

Bugs are not only attracted to the food we eat such a sweets and breadcrumbs left around, some insects are attracted to human tears, blood and sweat and other bodily fluids.  These fluids provide a valuable source of salt which is pretty scarce in the environment. Thus some species of bugs even prefer salt over sugars. Some bugs such as ants love it while snails are totally repelled and or killed by salt.

What’s the deal with salt and bugs?

Salt is an organic carbon-containing energy source, insects use it for the proper functioning of muscles in their body.  This is why some insects don’t get killed by salt and why they are even attracted to salt. 

In other insects salt dehydrates them, killing them almost instantly for example snails. Other insects are simply repelled by it.

Snails and slugs

Salt is particularly dangerous to slugs and snails.  Because their skin is very moist and allows moisture to enter and exit quickly salt affects them in an extreme way.

When salt gets into contact with the snails skin the water is pulled out of the snails body by osmosis. As the snail skin dries out the skin tries to create a protective barrier by secreting a slimy substance on the outside. 

As air is forced out of the snails body this causes the bubbling.  As the salt increases on the snail’s body it will die from dehydration at a very quick rate. 

Half of the snail’s water supply is being lost during this time. In human terms this would be equivalent to pouring salt on an open wound and the water being sucked out of your body quickly by osmosis.  

Fortunately, our skin prevents this but snails do not have such an advantage.

You can also use a snail and slug killer to kill snails and slugs in your garden, this is a favourite and organic snail and slug killer you can use in your garden.


An experiment was conducted in the Caribbean forest. A group of scientists studying birds were ambushed by some ants.

The scientists realized that the ants were not attracted to any sugar but to their sweat.  This is because animals need salt survive, the salt activates the muscles and maintains the water balance in their body.

To test the theory the scientists littered the forest with sugar and salt pieces. They found that the ants were more drawn to salt than sugar suggesting that they have a noticeable preference towards it.  Baby ants ie: larvae and pupa prefer salt to sugar

Ant baits can be used to kill ants off. The ants see it as food and take it back to their nest for all the other ants to eat. The bait is poison and will kill off the whole nest. This bait is very effective.


Some insects die if they ingest salt. This is because when they ingest the salt it dehydrates  their bodies and they die.

This is not true for cockroaches as they only die from salt intake if they’re drowned in it. 

Salt is regularly used to repel roaches to some degree. This was common practice in food industry of the old days. People would soak packaging materials in salt. This is not only to keep the produce from going bad but also to keep roaches away.

If you want to get rid of cockroaches you will need to use a cockroach bait. Cockroach bait works just like ant baits do. This cockroach bait is effective.


Salt will cause the frogs discomfort by burning their tails and toes.  

You can sprinkle the salt all over the location that you don’t want frogs.  For example in your house or if you would like to deter frogs from your pond then you can spread salt around the perimeter. This will burn the frog’s toes deterring them from the area

I do not recommend doing this on new plants as it will to destroy the plant. If you are in the vicinity you can spray them with saltwater, it has the same effect.  A stronger solution is to use citrus. Citric acid will kill the frogs almost immediately.

Bed bugs

Salt had no negative effects on the bed bugs.  Bed bugs are not easy to treat, you might need commercial pesticide to get rid of your problem click the link to find out how to professional strength products.

Salt on bed bugs does not work the same as salt on snails and slugs because they don’t have thin skin which allows transfer of fluids in and out of the surface of their bodies.

Salt does not get through the bed bugs hard outer shell thus does not do much damage.

If you want to get rid of your bedbugs you need to use a targeted bed bug killer. This bed bug killing spray is non-toxic, child friendly and can be used around children. Read this article for more information on bedbugs and for more options on how to kill them.


Salt negatively affects termites. If you find that you have open pores in your wood then pouring in a mix of equal parts warm water and salt might do the trick. For this to work the mixture needs to be very salty. 

Fill up these holes with the mix and if there are any termites in there whey will drown in the water or will get dehydrated by the salt.

Salt can be used as a repellent. Apply salt all over your house as desired as a preventative measure. Focus on termite entry-points such as cracks in foundation, concrete slab and holes in masonry.

This won’t kill all your termites but it will prevent them. This termite killing foam is an easy to use and effective termite killer.


Spiders are killed almost instantly by being sprayed with salt water. Create a mixture of salt and water and keep it handy for all those pesky long legged creatures or spray their web with it.

Note that this works best with smaller spiders. It doesn’t work as well on bigger spiders but this is a good option if you want a natural type of spider poison. This spider killer spray will work to kill larger spiders.


Salt is an effective way to get rid of fleas in the house.  This may be very beneficial to you if you have a pet and are trying to avoid using toxic pesticides.

If you find fleas anywhere around your house ordinary table salt can do the trick to help get rid of them.  Remove all linens, rugs, curtains and drapes and wash them in hot water and dry them in hot temperature.

While your clothes are being treated start to treat the room.

Sprinkle salt at the threshold of the room at about 3 feet deep. As well as along the hallway carpeting.  Also sprinkle at the edges of the room going inwards. Move furniture and get salt under and on it as well.

Then start treating the insides of rooms one-by-one, fleas might try escape to other rooms which is why it is necessary to salt passages first. 

Vacuum the entire house after it is salted. Close the bag and seal it throwing it outside immediately.  Do this process twice or three times.  After vacuuming leave a little bit of salt in the rooms to prevent flea eggs from hatching. This flea and tick spray can also be used against fleas.


Salt does not kill mice if anything it attracts them. You will need some sort of bait to kill them. These bait stations work well against mice and rats.

If you would like to make a DIY mouse killing bait you can combine flour and dry cement into a bowl. Leave some water next to the mixture for the mice to drink. The mice will be attracted to the powder eating is happily.

The powder will make them thirsty, when they drink the water the mixture will turn to concrete in their body killing them quickly. If this mixture is not strong enough to attract them add cocoa powder to the powder mix.

Keep bugs away from your house

Salt can still be used to ward off a variety of other insects.

You can sprinkle the condiment around your house and let set for about an hour. It will not have the crunchy feeling under your feet when walking as it can hold water from the air and soak it up turning liquid over time

You can use salt in the car, in the attic, kitchen, garage, bedrooms, living room and anywhere else that you feel it’s necessary.

It is a simple product, more humane and less expensive than traditional commercial pesticides.

Read this article to find out why insects are attracted to your house in the first place.

If you enjoyed this article, found it helpful or think someone else would find it interesting or helpful please share it. I would really appreciate it.

Does salt attract or repel bugs?
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