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Essential Oil Bug Repellents: Repel Roaches, Ants, Gnats, Spiders, Etc.

Essential oils are effective for repelling, even killing, many bugs and flying pests. In this guide, you’ll learn about the best essential oil bug repellents and how to use them.

essential oil bug repellent

Guide to Essential Oil Bug Repellents

Here are all the guides we’ve created so far. Have a suggestion or experience to share? Please post it in the comment section below.

Some of the following guides focus just on essential oils. Others include essential oils as part of an effective strategy to get rid of bugs.

How to Use: Each headline leads to a full article with research about using essential oils for specific bugs and insects.

essential oils for ants

7 Essential Oils For Ants: Naturally Repel & Kill (Mint, Clove, Lemongrass…)

So you have some ants in your kitchen? Most ants aren’t harmful, but they are annoying. Using essential oil to repel ants is a natural and expensive method. Here's what essential oils repel ants. The best essential oils for ants include cinnamon, lemongrass, clove, peppermint, thyme, patchouli, and cedarwood. Some of these repel ants, others will kill them. Essential oils ...
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essential oils for spiders

10 Essential Oils to Repel Spiders (+Peppermint Recipe)

If you're having trouble with too many spiders, you can use essential oils. Essential oils are well known as effective bug repellents. But they don't work the same on all spiders. And some essential oils don't work at all. Here are the best essential oils for spiders. The best essential oils for spiders include peppermint, chestnut, thyme, clove, and tea ...
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essential oils to repel wasps

17 Essential Oils to Repel Wasps: Science-Based (Recipe)

If you are struggling to repel wasps from your home or garden, you know that this is no easy task. Driving wasps away is especially difficult if you want to do so in a natural manner. Fortunately, certain essential oils can help to repel wasps.  The best essential oils to repel wasps include peppermint, clove, sage, ylang ylang, wintergreen, citronella, ...
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gnat repellent essential oils

12 Gnat Repellent Essential Oils: Peppermint Oil, DIY Recipe

To get relief from gnats, you should consider essential oils. Essential oils are known to be a natural insect repellent. In this guide, you'll learn about the best gnat repellent essential oils. And how to use them, with a DIY recipe. The best gnat repellent essential oils include peppermint, geranium, citronella, lemongrass, and garlic. Essential oils can be an alternative ...
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tiny black bugs

Tiny Black Bugs at Home? 9 Biting Types (How to Get Rid of Them)

No one likes tiny black bugs in their home, but before you grab a broom or a bottle of bug spray, it pays to know what you're fighting. Different species have different eradication methods. Let's talk about small, black pests and what they could be. There are many tiny black bugs that could invade your home and yard. These include ...
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what smell do flies hate

17 Smells that Flies Hate: Scents to Get Rid of Flies

There are tons of flies that might invade your home and yard. These insects can fly around your head and make outdoor living impossible. You also risk them leaving behind maggots and feces. What smell do flies hate? Flies hate the smell of basil, rosemary, catnip, mint, and lavender plants. Flies are also repelled by the scent of apple cider ...
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does peppermint oil repel roaches

Does Peppermint Oil Repel Roaches? How to Mix, Apply, Toxicity

When you spot a roach hanging around your house, you may want to turn and run for the hills. Though it can take some time to get rid of roaches, there are natural methods that are effective and easy to use. Using peppermint oil for roaches is one of the best ways to kill and repel common varieties of cockroaches ...
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essential oils for cockroaches

11 Essential Oils for Cockroaches: Repelling Guide for Homeowners

Cockroaches are just one of the pests that you can bring home. They can hide inside dry goods you buy at the grocery store or furniture that you buy brand new or second-hand. Essential oils for cockroaches include oils that repel roaches and others that kill them. Check out some of the best essential oils to keep roaches out of ...
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 essential oil bug repellent

Science Behind Essential Oils for Bug Repellent

While essential oils have been claimed to do many (unproven) things, there is sound science in using essential oils to repel and kill bugs and other insects.

Here are a few references to scientific studies.

American and German cockroaches had knockdown (KT50) values of ≈7.4 and 9.2 h, respectively, when fumigated with 50 µl of 100% mint oil; 100% of both species were killed after 24 h.

Mint oil-based formulations could provide another integrated pest management tool for cockroach management, especially in situations in which conventional insecticides would be inappropriate.

Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (view study in pdf, via archive.org)

Here’s a 2018 study, Essential Oils as Repellents against Arthropods, published in the National Library of Medicine, that addresses how essential oils work to discourage arthropods from landing or biting.

Many essential oils are toxic to animals (and humans). They are so toxic, that you must use caution when using them around your pets, according to the Pet Poison Helpline.

Learn more about the specific application in each article.

Bug Skills

Interested to learn more about bugs and managing them around your home?

Check out these related guides: Bug Identifier | Bug Facts | Bite & Sting Treatment | Cockroach Guide

essential oil insect repellent

Your Turn

Have a suggestion or experience to share when using essential oil as an insect repellent? Please post it in the comment section below.

Judy S Wojcik

Friday 4th of November 2022

I had a cloud of insects get in my hair and after 4 months still have a problem Doctors don't seem to know what to do. I sent samples to Michigan State U. and the 2nd time had enough to identify winged aphids (these are ones I know came from my body). They have been in my ears, nose, eyes, skin and scalp. It is much better than before but does not go away. I have been using Nizoral shampoo as a body wash 2 times a day, later used Hibicleans. I use boric acid to wash my eyes and my eye Dr has prescribed an ointment with antibiotics. I also use boric acid with my Navage to wash my nose and that has been much better but still not gone. I used full strength liquid grapefruitseed extract in my ears and they are gone. Ear wax may have prevented any problem as on skin it is too strong. On line I found sulfur cream and ointment which makes these insects fall out of my hair when I apply it. I think it helps. I have also tried other things before and no real help. The entomologist at MSU said that these things only lived on plants. That is why I am contacting you as you said the females do get on humans and mammals. You have information to avoid these things but what do I do now after I have them? I do hope you can give me some help. Thank you for any help.