Why does cucumber skin kill ants?

Why does cucumber skin kill ants?

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I recently read that cucumber skin is an effective repellent for some ants:

Set out cucumber peels or slices in the kitchen or at the ants' point of entry. Many ants have a natural aversion to cucumber. Bitter cucumbers work best.

Source: Natural Insect Pest Control

See also: How to Use Cucumbers to Prevent Ants from Entering the Home

But when I tried it out they died instead. What made this happen?

Cucumber contains a compound called trans-2-nonenal (reference 1 and reference 2) that repels insects. This particular compound (reference) has can also be used in insecticide foams for repelling ants (reference)

Using Dish Detergent to Get Rid of Ants

Ants can infest any home, especially if they detect something they can eat inside. Once ants decide to move in, it's hard to make them leave. Luckily, you can kill and drive out ants using only simple household materials. You can even discourage them from coming back.

Ants send out scouts that return to their homes leaving a scent trail for others to follow. Fortunately, this is their weakness. If you can block their scent trail, you can confuse ants into thinking that your home isn't interesting. Using only ordinary dish detergent, you can take back your home from these pests.

Step 1 - Set Up

Fill your spray bottle with water, and mix in about 1/4 cup of detergent. The exact measurements aren't that important, but you should have much, much more water than detergent.

Now you need to track down the source of your ant problem. Usually if you find one ant, you will find all of them, since you can follow their regular trail to where they are getting in. If this happens, make a note of both the entrance the ants are using and the thing they are traveling to, whether it is a spill, an open container, garbage, or something else.

If the ants are less organized, you will just have to spend some time hunting down their entrance.

Step 2 - Spray Access Points

Once you have found out how the ants are getting in, spray any ants that have already gotten in with your spray bottle. Then, spray around the entrance the ants are using. Don't be stingy. You want them to have no option but to cross the dish detergent if they want to get inside, which will confuse them and prevent them from summoning friends even if they survive it.

WARNING: Dish detergent is toxic enough to be dangerous when inhaled for long periods, so open your windows and be sure to keep all small children and pets far away.

Step 3 - Prevent Further Infestation

The ants are gone now, but they could try to come back. Preventing ant infestations is easier than wiping them out, so this is a good opportunity to plan ahead.

Take a minute to think about how the ants got inside and what attracted them originally. You should come up with a strategy to stop both of these problems.

With regards to the problem of how the ants get in, you will need to examine your house carefully. Are there any cracks? What about gaps between boards? Doors and windows that do not seal off properly? For all problems like these, you need to implement a solution. Use caulk on any cracks or gaps. Install weather stripping on doors and windows. Make your house as hard to get into as possible.

In terms of attracting ants, a different set of solutions are needed. You need to keep your eating areas, food storage areas, and garbage free of spills, open containers, and anything else that might give off a smell that could attract ants.

Side Effects Of Eating Too Many Cucumbers

(1) Can Cause Toxicity

Although cucumber is a healthy fruit it contains small patches that make it tastes bitter. These small portions of cucumber contain extremely toxic triterpenoids or cucurbitacins compounds. It is, therefore, important for us to make sure that we keep our cucumber consumption within limits and don’t overeat them.

Many of us have experienced eating cucumbers that taste very bitter and we just want to spit them out. These cucumbers are highly toxic in nature and it is better to just avoid them in all circumstances. In the same way, we should also avoid drinking cucumber juice that tastes bitter because such juice is highly susceptible to this toxic compound.

(2) Can Cause Fluid Loss and Imbalance

Eating too many cucumbers can increase the risk of fluid loss and this can result in the imbalance of the body. The main reason behind the fluid loss by overeating cucumber is because of the presence of cucurbitacin and fatty oil in the cucumber seeds.

These compounds are mild diuretic in nature, which means overeating cucumbers can increase the frequency of urination which ultimately results in loss of fluids and electrolytes from our body, causing imbalances and in extreme cases it can even lead to dehydration.

(3) Vitamins and Minerals

Cucumber flesh is a good source of vitamin C and skin of cucumber is rich in minerals in like silica,potassium and magnesium, along with the dietary fibers All these compounds are very beneficial for our health but only until they are consumed within the limitations as over-consumption of these minerals and vitamins can trigger their dark side and cause harmful side effects.

Too much of vitamin C can promote the growth of free radicals which can harm our body cells, under certain conditions and in the same way too much potassium can put a negative effect on our kidneys and excessive fiber can cause intestinal gas, bloating and abdominal cramps. We will know more about these, shortly.

(4) Side Effects Of Excessive Vitamin C

Cucumber is an excellent source of vitamin C which is an antioxidant and plays a very important role in boosting our immune system and also prevents us from many diseases and give our immune system strength to combat various diseases like scurvy and flu. Being antioxidants, it fights with the free radicals of our body, stabilize them and prevents them from damaging our body cells.

However, all these benefits of vitamin C are only when it is consumed within the recommended dosage as too much of vitamin C can harmfully effect on our body. Ingesting vitamin C acts as a pro-oxidant when it is ingested in large quantities and can trigger the growth and spread of free radicals ( instead of stabilizing them) and these free radicals can then freely roam inside our body, damage our body cells and increase the risk of cancer, acne, premature aging, etc.

Although vitamin C is water soluble and excess vitamin C get flushed out of the body along with the urine but it is best to keep vitamin C intake within limits as the frequent urination is not at all good for our health and can increase the burden on our kidneys.

(5) Excessive Water

Cucumber is an excellent source of water. In fact, almost 90 percent of cucumber’s weight is water and this water makes us feel hydrated and refreshed ( on eating cucumbers) and also provide nourishment to our skin.

However, excess consumption of cucumbers can have a very harmful effect on our body because excessive water intake can increase the total volume of blood in our body, put the strain our blood vessels and heart and can cause excessive wear and tear of kidneys by putting the burden on them.

Having too much water in our system can also imbalance the concentration of electrolytes in our body and this can give rise to health conditions that range from headaches to impaired breathing.

(6) Harmful Wax Coating

Cucumbers are a fragile fruit which means they can get broken easily. This is not at all liked by the farmers and most farmers wax the skin of cucumbers at the growing or plucking stage. This wax coating protects cucumber from insects and also minimize the risk of damage while shipping. The bad part of this step is that the wax used for coating is made up of compounds like ethyl alcohol, soaps, and milk casein ( milk casein can trigger allergic reactions towards milk in certain individuals ).

These compounds are not at all healthy for our body and-and can even cause skin reactions in certain individuals ( when peels are applied topically). It is, therefore, important for us to make sure that we only eat peeled cucumbers and, if possible, try to get organic cucumbers ( or grow your own cucumbers).

(7) High Risks of Pesticides

As per the Environmental Working Group, cucumbers ranks nine in the fifty fruits and vegetables tested for pesticides. In other words, cucumbers are highly exposed to pesticides and most of these pesticides are very bad for our health. Because of the pesticides’ risks associated with cucumbers, it is best to eat organically grown cucumbers ( or grow your own cucumbers).

However, if you find it difficult to find organic cucumbers then it is best to eat cucumbers only after thoroughly washing them with fresh water, and don’t forget to remove their peels.

(8) Was In News For Causing E. Coli Infection

Around 2014, the cucumber was in the news for causing E. Coli infection. The main factors that can lead to cause these infections by cucumbers are improper handling of cucumbers, use of animal manure as fertilizers and some other factors. Because of these factors, it is important for us to make sure that we get cucumbers only from the reputable organic sources that use properly composted animal manure as fertilizer.

(9) Can Cause Bloating, Flatulence, And Gassiness

Cucumber seeds contain a compound known as cucurbitacin. This element is toxic in nature and can trigger indigestion in certain individuals, especially in those with a sensitive digestive system. Indigestion caused by cucurbitacin can give rise to digestion problems like bloating and flatulence which then results in burps and farts ( as this is our body’s way of controlling bloating).

There are also some other vegetables like cabbage, onion, broccoli, radishes, cauliflower, etc. that can trigger gassiness in certain individuals and if you develop gas by eating these veggies then you are more likely to experience bloating, flatulence and gassiness by eating cucumbers. Because of this side effects of cucumber, it is best to eat cucumber in moderation or look out for burpless variants of cucumbers.

(10) Harmful For Renal System

Cucumber is a good source of potassium which is very beneficial for our health as it helps in controlling blood pressure, is good for our heart, prevents kidney disorders and is great for our nervous system. However, Over consumption of cucumbers can prove fatal as too much of potassium is bad for our health as it can trigger a medical condition known as hyperkalemia.

This condition can initially lead to bloating, abdominal cramps, intestinal gas, etc. and then the condition can get worse over time and starts hampering our kidney functions and damage our renal system.

(11) Can Trigger Allergic Reactions In Certain Individuals

According to American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, some individuals are allergic (swelling or hives around your mouth, throat, and tongue ) to certain foods like ragweed pollen, melons, chamomile tea, bananas, sunflower seeds, etc. Those who are allergic to these foods are highly likely to be allergic to cucumbers because of a phenomenon known as cross-reactivity.

Those who experience these allergic reactions should avoid eating cucumbers in raw form and should replace it with another healthy salad like raw zucchini ( This is because although cooking can remove the threat of allergic reactions but traditionally cucumbers are served mainly in the form of salad in their raw form and it is, therefore, better to replace it with zucchini ).

(12) Not Suitable For Consuming While Suffering From Respiratory Problems

If you are suffering from sinusitis or any other chronic respiratory disease then you should avoid eating cucumbers. This is because cucumbers possess cooling effects ( as per Ayurveda) and this cooling effect of cucumbers can worsen the conditions of the respiratory problems resulting in complications.

(13) Eating Cucumber During Pregnancy

In general, cucumber is safe food and can be eaten during pregnancy but only when they are consumed in moderation and as per the consultation of the doctor as too much of cucumbers can cause frequent urination which will make a pregnant woman feel irritated and uncomfortable most of the times.

Cucumber is a good source of fibers which is healthy for our system but too much of fibers can cause the digestive problem like abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, difficulty in the absorption of nutrients and so on.

The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.

Cucumber has a mild bleaching property that can help you get rid of skin tan. Just grate the cucumber and apply the juice on your face and you’re all set to face harsh UV rays!

DIY Cucumber Honey Face Mask

Honey is known for its exfoliating properties. It promotes elasticity and new tissue growth which gives you young and glowing skin.


  • Make a puree using both the peeled cucumber and the honey.
  • Apply the mixture on your face.
  • Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Wash your face with cold water.

DIY Cucumber Milk Mask


  • Peel and blend the cucumber into a puree.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the milk, honey and brown sugar.
  • Add this mixture to the pureed cucumber. Mix it well.
  • Apply the pack on your face for 15 minutes.
  • Wash your face with lukewarm water.

3. Bacterial Leaf Spots


Bacteria (Pseudomonas syringae, Septoria cucurbitacearum, or Xanthomonas campestris)

The bacteria that cause leaf spots are opportunistic, spreading through lesions created by insect bites and through seeds that spread the bacteria through contact with water. However, they are not as hardy as other pathogens. Although they can overwinter in plant debris, they need wet and cool conditions to thrive.


Small, brownish, angular or circular spots—sometimes with yellow edges—or black spots on the leaves.

Depending on the genus of bacteria infecting your plant, the symptoms may differ slightly𠅎specially in the early stages. Xanthomonas infection usually causes brown spots with yellow edges, while Pseudomonas infection usually causes reddish-brown spots. In both cases, spots will quickly turn black.

Spots on the leaves and fruit can give other pathogens𠅎specially fungi—the opportunity to infect. This disease often causes leaves to fall off, making fruits vulnerable to sunscalding.


There is currently no effective treatment for bacterial leaf spots.

Prevention is still considered the best control method.

  • Look for cucumber beetles starting early in the spring, when the weather starts to warm up. They usually come out in early evening. Remove them as you see them.
  • Use plant covers or row covers to prevent beetles and other pests from accessing your plants.
  • Clear your garden of weeds, which cucumber beetles also feed on.
  • Plant tansy, catnip, and/or radish plants nearby, which can repel the cucumber beetles.
  • Spray insecticides to control the beetle population.
  • Sanitize gardening tools, including boots, gloves, spades, and shears.
  • Provide plenty of air circulation by spacing plants apart and propping them up above the soil.

Both striped and spotted cucumber beetles can spread the bacteria that causes the cucumber leaves to turn yellow and wilt.

How To : The Unexplainable Trick to Removing Bitterness from Cucumbers

Every now and then, you'll bite into the end piece of a perfectly good cucumber only to get an unwelcome bitter and acrid taste. This happened to me for years, no matter how carefully I selected my cukes, although I generally had better luck with ones I got from local growers and the farmer's market.

Oregon State explains the culprit is an organic compound called cucurbitacin, which tends to concentrate in the leaves, stems, and roots. However, it can travel to the fruit itself, but is more likely to be found at the stem end for just that reason. It rarely moves toward the center of the fruit.

Purdue University points out that stressors like lack of water or excessive heat can cause cucumbers to produce more bitterness. Most places recommend peeling cucumbers of their dark green skin, since other than the stem end, that's where cucurbitacin is most likely to gather.

However, most of the nutrients in cucumbers are concentrated in the skin and the seeds. Plus, I hate losing the rich color and crisp snap the skin provides. So how else can we rid cucumbers of their bitterness without sacrificing the skin? Thankfully, there's an old trick I learned from my Indian friend's mom to remove the bitterness from cucumbers, and it's super easy.

First, wash your cucumbers thoroughly. Then cut a small piece off from both the stem and blossom ends. I usually try and make the piece no larger than about half an inch.

Next, place the cut piece back on the cucumber and start rubbing the flat ends together.

Pretty soon, a white foamy substance will appear. Keep doing this for a minute or two until the cucumber stops producing fresh foam.

Then repeat on the other end. Rinse it off, and the cucumber is ready to eat. Watch the complete how-to video below from YouTuber etriliun to see this process in action.

I'm not really sure why this works. The video above speculates that the action draws out the curcurbitacins. Others say it's just an old folk tale with no basis in science. All I know is that I've never eaten a bitter cucumber when I've remembered to perform this little trick, but I've bitten into many an unpleasant one when I haven't.

What do you think? Science, folk tale, or placebo effect? Tell us you theory below in the comments, or hit up Food Hacks on Facebook or Twitter to share your thoughts.

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Cucumbers Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

Cucumber growing problems can be avoided if you give cucumbers the right conditions–warm, sunny weather and consistent water–and they will be one of your top producing garden crops.

Give cucumbers the right conditions–warm, sunny weather and consistent water–and they will be one of your top producing garden crops.

To keep ahead of cucumber problems, pests and diseases, here is a troubleshooting list of possible cucumber problems with brief control suggestions.

Cucumber Problems and Solutions:

Plants are eaten or cut off near soil level. Cutworms are gray grubs ½- to ¾-inch long that can be found curled under the soil. They chew stems, roots, and leaves. Place a 3-inch paper collar around the stem of the plant. Keep the garden free of weeds sprinkle wood ash around base of plants.

Small plants turn yellow and break off. Southern corn rootworm is the larvae of the spotted cucumber beetle (See below). Cultivate the soil before planting to expose larvae and interrupt the insect’s life cycle.

Leaves curl under and become deformed and yellowish. Aphids are tiny, oval, and yellowish to greenish pear-shaped insects that colonize on the undersides of leaves. They leave behind sticky excrement called honeydew which can turn into a black sooty mold. Use insecticidal soap.

Leaves turn pale green, yellow, or brown dusty silver webs on undersides of leaves and between vines. Spider mites suck plant juices causing stippling. Spray with water or use insecticidal soap or rotenone. Ladybugs and lacewings eat mites.

Leaves yellow tiny white winged insects around plants. Whiteflies will congregate on the undersides of leaves and fly up when disturbed. Remove infested leaves and the whole plant if infestation is serious. Introduce beneficial insects into the garden.

Coarse white speckling or stippling on upper surface of leaves leaves may brown. Leafhoppers are green, brown, or yellow bugs with wedge-shaped wings. They suck the juices from leaves and stems. Use floating row covers to exclude bugs spray with insecticidal soap.

Trails and tunnels in leaves. The leafminer larvae tunnel inside leaves. Destroy infected leaves and cultivate the garden to destroy larvae and keep adult flies from laying eggs. Cover crops with floating row covers.

Water-soaked blotches on leaves–not enlarging past leaf veins water-soaked spot can appear on fruits Angular leaf spot or bacterial spot is a waterborne bacterium which causes irregular geometric patterns on leaves. Spots may turn yellow and crisp. Avoid wetting foliage with irrigation. Prune off infected leaves and stems. Clean up garden. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Rotate crops up to 2 years.

Holes chewed in leaves, leaves skeletonized runners and young fruit scarred. Spotted cucumber beetle is greenish, yellowish, ¼ inch (7mm) long with black spots and black head. Striped cucumber beetle has wide black stripes on wing covers. Hand pick mulch around plants plant resistant varieties dust with wood ashes.

Leaves have yellow specks that turn brown, then black vines wilt from point of attack. Squash bug is a flat, shield-shaped black or brownish bug with a triangle on its back it sucks juices from plants. Trap adults beneath boards in spring, hand pick and destroy.

Round white powdery spots and coating on leaves. Powdery mildew is caused by fungal spores. Spores germinate on dry leaf surfaces when the humidity is high spores do not germinate on wet leaves. Common in late summer or fall but does not result in loss of plant. Avoid water stress. Pick off infected leaves.

Irregular yellowish to brownish spots on upper leaf surfaces grayish powder or mold on undersides. Downy mildew is caused by a fungus. Improve air circulation. Plant resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Keep garden free of plant debris.

Mottled, distorted leaves. Mosaic virus causes leaves to become thickened, brittle, easily broken from plant plants are stunted and yields are poor. The virus is spread from plant to plant by aphids and leafhoppers. Remove diseased plants. Remove broadleaf weeds that serve as virus reservoir.

Knots, galls, or swollen beads on roots plants wilt poor yield. Nematodes are microscopic worm-like animals that live in the film of water that coats soil particles some are pests, some are not. Root-knot nematodes feed in the roots and stunt plant growth. Most common in sandy soils. Rotate crops. Solarize the soil with clear plastic in mid-summer.

Plants wilt and die beginning with crown or older topmost leaves. Verticillium wilt is a soilborne fungus. Light brown streaks can be seen in stem split lengthwise. Rotate crops. Avoid soil previously planted in cucumbers and family members, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes.

Vines wilt suddenly and die starting with one or two leaves. Bacterial wilt clogs the circulatory system of plants. It is caused by bacteria that live in cucumber beetles and is seen often where the soil stays moist. Remove and destroy infected plants before the disease spreads. Control cucumber beetles with rotenone or sabadilla. Wash hands and clean tools with a bleach solution.

Plants are stunted and yellow runners gradually die. Fusarium wilt is a fungal disease which infects plant vascular tissues. Fungal spores live in the soil and can be carried by cucumber beetles. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Remove and destroy infected plants. Fungicides are not effective

Water-soaked spots–sunken, brown or black–on fruit. Belly rot or bacterial spot or blight. Remove and destroy infected fruits. Remove all plants and plant debris at the end of the season. Promote good drainage adding organic materials to planting beds. Avoid over-head watering. Rotate crops. Stake or cage plants to keep fruit off ground.

Water-soaked or pale green spot on leaves that turn white fruit cracks. Scab is caused by soilborne bacterium. Disease can be cosmetic. Plant resistant varieties. If scab occurs, change varieties next year. Sulfur may be worked into soil to make it slightly acid and reduce disease.

Early flowers don’t set fruit. A couple of possible reasons: (1) the first flowers to appear are male female flower appear next. Fruit is produced by female flowers. Wait until female flowers appear and are pollinated. Plant all-female (gynoecious) cucumber hybrids–a few male plants will be added to the seed mix. (2) There may not be enough pollinators, mostly bees, to carry the pollen from male to female flowers. Pick off male flowers and dust the pollen into the female flowers.

Plants produce few fruits, mostly foliage. Plants are likely spaced too close together. Space plants at recommended distances, 8 to 12 inches apart. Plant spaced too close or too far apart yield fewer fruits as a result of poor pollination.

Plant fruit but then stop fruiting. Pick fruit as soon as it is the right size to use. This will allow the plant to put energy into additional fruit production. If you fail to pick mature fruit, the plant will quit producing.

Fruit tastes bitter. Uneven watering will cause plants to produce bitter compounds that affect taste. Uneven temperatures–swings of temperature by 20° or more–will do the same. Keep the soil evenly moist and mulch to conserve soil moisture. Grow varieties that do not turn bitter: Marketmore 70 is a bitter-free cucumber.

Symptoms of Ant Bites/Stings

Many a times, we fail to notice that we have been bitten by an ant. In such a case, we tend to feel burning sensation at the site of the infection without realizing that we have actually fallen prey to an ant sting.

The burning, redness and swelling are the striking features of an ant bite. The instant you feel that tingling sensation which only escalates, it has got to be an ant bite and nothing else. make sure that you take the necessary precautions in order to avid falling into that situation completely. If you do happen to encounter an ant bite, make sure that you take the necessary treatment measures to cure it.

Even for your children and also your pets, you can recognize an ant bite from other itching patterns just by the look of it. Look for less hairy and furry areas on your pets. That’s where ants tend to bite usually.

Keep your kids away form hiking and camping places in order to keep them from ant bites and other insect stings. Children, though less vulnerable to ant bites, are too young to understand the scenario and take necessary required precautions from ant bites and stings.

Why does cucumber skin kill ants? - Biology

The Exploratorium is more than a museum. Explore our online resources for learning at home.

All foods are continually assaulted by many kinds of microorganisms, racing to eat as much as possible. When you pickle vegetables by fermentation, you help one type of microbe win this "race."

More specifically, you create special conditions in your pickle crock that keep away "bad" spoilage-causing microorganisms, and that allow a unique class of "good" bacteria, called lactic acid bacteria, to colonize your cucumbers.

Why are lactic acid bacteria good?

As lactic acid bacteria grow in your pickle crock, they digest sugars in the cucumbers and produce lactic acid. Not only does this acid give the pickles their characteristic sour tang, it controls the spread of spoilage microbes. Also, by gobbling up the sugars, lactic acid bacteria remove a potential food source for bad bacteria.

Salt gives the good guys an edge.

Adding salt to your pickling brine is one important way to help lactic acid bacteria win the microbial race. At a certain salt concentration, lactic acid bacteria grow more quickly than other microbes, and have a competitive advantage. Below this "right" concentration, bad bacteria may survive and spread more easily, possibly out-competing lactic acid bacteria and spoiling your pickles.

Too much salt is also a problem: Lactic acid bacteria cannot thrive, leaving your vegetables unpickled. What’s more, salt-tolerant yeasts can spread more quickly. By consuming lactic acid, yeasts make the pickles less acidic—and more hospitable to spoilage microbes.

Oxygen gives the bad guys one leg up.

During fermentation, it’s important to keep your crock covered to seal out the air. That’s because oxygen encourages the spread of spoilage microbes. Any exposed pickle or brine becomes a breeding ground for the bad microbes, which can spread to spoil the entire batch.

Too hot . . . too cold . . . just right.

A pickle-maker can also control the microbial garden in a pickle crock by adjusting the temperature. The ideal temperature range for lactic acid bacteria—and successful fermentation—is 70° F㫣° F. If it’s too chilly or too toasty in the room, other microbes may gain a competitive advantage over lactic acid bacteria.


There is no more need to wonder how to kill ants in and out of your home. We’ve laid out all the best solutions for you so you can take hold of your household.

Pick the options that you think will work the best in your surroundings and be sure to take your financial budget into consideration. You are just one person, battling an army of ants, but with the right tools and tricks, you’ll overcome them.

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