Which Essential Oils Keep Bugs Away?

Let me make the case that essential oils keep bugs away.

Not all bugs and insects are bad but the ones that are can be very annoying. Take house flies, for instance, good luck trying to eat outside with flies buzzing around you and trying to land on your food. You swat them away and they come back again and again.

Too much of this going back and forth with a fly and it can take your appetite away.

I recently started burning essential oils all over my house and after a while, I noticed something interesting. I don’t see as many bugs and insects around as I use too. This got me to thinking do essential oils keep bugs away and if so which oils are the most effective at repelling bugs and insects.

I spent a few hours researching this topic. The findings were very surprising and I think this is something you’ll want to know more about. I’ve been experimenting more and more with essential oils. Now I’m even more impressed than ever about how effective essential oils are at repelling insects and bugs.

So, which essential oils keep bugs away? I found there are many essential oils that can repel or kill bugs and insects.

Essential Oils That Repel Or Kill Bugs Naturally

Bugs and insects are naturally repelled by the scents and smells of plant-based essential oils. These insects and bugs can also be killed if they come in contact with the right plant-based oil.

Here is our list of bugs and which essential oils you should use to control them.

Ants: cedarwood, citronella, peppermint, spearmint, orange
Beatles: cedarwood, orange, peppermint
Chiggers: cedarwood, lavender, lemongrass, orange, peppermint
Fleas: cedarwood, citronella, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, orange
Flies: cedarwood, citronella, lavender, peppermint, orange, lemongrass, tea tree oil, patchouli
Gnats: citronella, cedarwood, orange, peppermint, spearmint, patchouli, eucalyptus
Mosquitoes: orange, lavender, lemongrass, citronella, cedarwood, eucalyptus
Moths: cedarwood, citronella, lavender, orange, peppermint
Cockroaches: eucalyptus, orange, cedarwood
Spiders: cedarwood, citronella, lavender, orange, peppermint, spearmint
Ticks: tea tree, orange, lemongrass, lavender, cedarwood, eucalyptus, peppermint

How Do Essential Oils Repel Insects?

Essential oils can be combined with water used to make different products to repel insects and bugs. There are many applications for essential oils, you can make lotions, candles, or sprays. They can be burned or diffused too, or just use the oil mixed with water to aid in repelling bugs and insects that you want to keep away.

But how do essential oils really work to repel?

Insects and bugs can inhale or come in contact with the oils. The strong and unpleasant smell of the oils will drive them away from you and your home. When applied directly to the body, oils can affect insects and bugs in many ways ranging from irritation to death.

I like to place a few drops of oil in a diffuser and this repels like crazy. My second favorite is to mix oil and water and then spray this solution from a spray bottle. I’ll just spray the solution directly on the insect or bug.

Are Essential Oils Dangerous?

Okay so now we know that these oils can repel and kill insects and bugs. But what effect do they have on people and pets?

Although we have used essential oils for thousands of years they can still be dangerous. They are highly concentrated plant substances that have to be used responsibly.

You have to be safe and use caution when handling pure 100% essential oils. If improperly handled they can cause allergic reactions or skin irritation. If accidentally ingested by children or your pets essential oils can be poisonous.

So you should take extra care when working with essential oils. Wear protective gloves and do not let the oils touch your bare skin. Use and store them safely away from kids and pets too.

Be Careful Using Essential Oils Around Cats

Many of the essential oils you can use to repel insects and bugs can be toxic to pet cats. The oils can cause devastating effects in inhaled, digested, or touched by cats.

The following essential oils contain phenols which are toxic to cats:

  • Cinnamon oil
  • Citrus oil
  • Clove oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Melaleuca oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Pennyroyal oil
  • Pine oil
  • Sweet Birch oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Wintergreen oil

Cats can be exposed to essential oils in a number of ways. They can inhale it if you burn or diffuse oils, they can digest it by licking, or their skin can come in direct contact with the essential oil. In many cases, symptoms will occur and signal that your cat is sick and may need treatment.

The most common systems of cat exposure to essential oils include difficulty walking (wobbling), drooling, tremors, vomiting, fast breathing, panting, and coughing. If your cat has been exposed and exhibits any of the symptoms get then to the vet asap.

This Essential Oil Is Comparable To DEET

If you go outdoors and are bothered by insects at some point in time you have probably used an insect repellent that contains DEET. DEET is very effective and works well to keep bugs and insects away. But there are other alternatives if you are looking for something all-natural.

One such all-natural alternative we like is Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE). When used as an insect or bug repellent, OLE is comparable to DEET but. But don’t just take my word.

According to the Center for Disease Control,  oil of lemon eucalyptus which is DEET free provides reasonably long-lasting protection against mosquitoes, ticks, and other arthropods.

So if you are worried about these two insects and want a non-DEET solution, then consider trying out OLE.

Which Essential Oils Are Best For Insect Repellent?

Plant-based essential oils work great to repel many of the nuisance insects that make your life miserable. So if you’re tired of all the buzzing and biting that comes along with insects you can get some easy relief.

All you have to do is repel them with the essential oils listed in the chart below.

Essential Oil Works On Where to Buy
1. Peppermint ants, bees, flies, gnats, mosquitoes, ticks Check Price On Amazon
2. Eucalyptus flies, gnats, mosquitoes Check Price On Amazon
3. Cedarwood ants, fleas, flies, gnats, mosquitoes, spiders, ticks Check Price On Amazon
4. Lavender ants, bed bugs, fleas, mosquitoes, moths Check Price On Amazon
5. Thyme bed bugs, mosquitoes, ticks Check Price On Amazon
6. Tea Tree bed bugs, fleas, flies, gnats, ticks Check Price On Amazon
7.  Clove bed bugs, mosquitoes Check Price On Amazon
8. Rosemary flies, gnats, mosquitoes Check Price On Amazon
9. Geranium flies, gnats, mosquitoes, ticks Check Price On Amazon
10.  Lemon  mosquitoes Check Price On Amazon

Related Questions

What bugs does peppermint oil repel? The oil of peppermint repels several common bugs, insects, and rodents including ticks, fleas, chiggers, flies, gnats, ants, spiders, and mice.

What can I use as a natural mosquito repellent? Natural plant-based oils such as cedar, citronella, geranium, lemongrass, and peppermint will repel mosquitos. These are not as effective as, synthesized plant oils, so they have to be reapplied often. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is the synthesized oil we like best for repelling mosquitoes.

Are essential oils safe to use on skin? They are many safety concerns associated with using essential oils improperly. However, if used properly they are safe and effective. You should follow the safety information on the bottle to ensure proper use and to avoid unintended health risks.

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Lynn Edwards

I founded DIY Pest Control Guide with the intention of sharing practical, user-friendly pest control strategies. If you need assistance, reach out to me at lynn@diypestcontrolguide.com - I'm here to help you reclaim your peace of mind.

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