I don’t like insects outdoors, and I REALLY hate them indoors.
We used to use chemical sprays, especially against ants and cockroaches (and let’s face it, those traps just don’t cut it, plus there’s always a chance a stray kid or cat will get involved with it.)
With children and pets, however, those sprays are a definite no-go. They left me feeling light-headed and dizzy anyway.
Essential oils are my go-to source to naturally get rid of insects, and they’re definitely cheaper than hiring an exterminator (and much safer!)
In this article, I’m going to show you how you can use essential oils to defend yourself and prevent insects in your home with essential oils.
The multi-legged critters we’ll discuss are:
Full disclosure: I don’t really mind spiders as long as they’re not poisonous. But we’ve all seen the memes with people torching their house because of a spider, so I’m guessing a portion of people reading this article aren’t exactly in love with our 8-legged friends.
Orange essential oil will destroy spiders (and most insects). To prevent or get rid of them without killing spiders, you can use orange, eucalyptus, or tea tree essential oil. If you can find it, you can also use neem essential oil.
You can either spray the oils, or put a few drops on a rag and swipe around problem areas in your home or around window and door frames.
To make a spray, grab your favorite food-grade spray bottle and put 10 drops of essential oil into 8 oz of water or rubbing alcohol. Spray liberally around problem areas or directly on the insects to kill them.
Bedbugs are a definite no-no in our house, and everyone else is so scared of them, there’s even a registry that exists for reporting hotels with bedbugs.
You can make homemade sprays to deter and eliminate them. You can also diffuse the oils (with a diffuser) to keep them at bay.
To make an all-natural spray for your bed and other furniture, add 10 to 12 drops of cinnamon, peppermint, lavender, thyme, or eucalyptus essential oil to 8 oz of water. You can also put the oils on cotton balls and distribute around problem areas.
To diffuse them, add 10 drops of any of the above oils, and be sure to follow your diffuser’s directions.
Earwigs are one insect I hate, and whenever I find one in the house, it has to be gone. (Kind of like people who hate spiders in those memes). They’re harmless to people (but they’ll decimate your garden, given half a chance), but I don’t want them hanging around nonetheless.
I use oils on cotton balls to prevent earwigs. You can use citronella, cinnamon, or lavender oil, but my preferred is cinnamon. Just put 3-4 drops on a cotton ball. Because the oils are so powerful, they go a long way.
You might find silverfish in boxes of books or in your basement (anywhere that’s dark and damp with things they like to eat, such as paper.)
Like ants, silverfish hate the scent of cinnamon, so a good go-to essential oil to prevent them is cinnamon essential oil. You can also try lavender, cedarwood, and orange. To prevent silverfish, dip cotton balls in cinnamon oil or the essential oil of your choice.
The orange essential oil is known to kill insects like silverfish because it destroys the exoskeleton. If you already have an infestation, combine up to 20 drops of both cinnamon and orange essential oil with 8 oz alcohol in a spray bottle. Shake before using.
If you follow this blog, you know I have an undying hatred of ants, even though they service biologically-necessary jobs in nature. They definitely don’t belong indoors, though.
The BEST I’ve found to repel ants is cinnamon oil, although peppermint is an alternative. Because cinnamon essential oil is so strong, it interferes with ants’ neuroreceptors, preventing them from sending signals (by pheromones) back to their nest. Ants can’t take the lack of communication, and leave the area.
Apply 3-4 drops of cinnamon essential oil to cotton balls, and leave them in the area you want the ants to leave. If you want to make a spray, you can dilute 10 drops in 8 oz of water or rubbing alcohol. Shake before use, and spray away.
Roaches are probably my #1 most hated insect. They’re disgusting, and whenever I spot one (we live in the country, so it’s going to happen from time to time), they need to be immediately gone.
To prevent and get rid of roaches, peppermint oil is the way to go, according to science. Fill a spray bottle with 8 oz alcohol, and add 20 drops of peppermint oil. The alcohol will clean the area and the peppermint oil will get rid of the roaches.
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.