Control Pests In Your Garden Organically With Essential Oils

Control Pests In Your Garden Organically With Essential Oils

If you use essential oils in your home, you can also use them to rid your garden of unwanted pests that will try to steal your harvest.

 

At least, that’s what we do.

 

Nothing is more frustrating than to spend lots of time and energy trying to grow cabbages than to go out to your garden….only to find leaves full of holes and sprinkled with tiny green cabbage looper eggs. Grrr…..

 

Oils are great to use in your garden because they’re organic, all-natural, and they WORK.

 

Particularly if you make a homemade insecticidal soap, you only need a drop or two – so they’re also economical.

 

Most basic essential oils cost $0.08 a drop, so you can spend a lot of money on commercial organic pest control….or you can save a few bucks and make them yourself.

 

In this article, I’m going to show you how to use essential oils to deter and get rid of bugs, freeloading insects, and vegetable munchers in your garden.

 

A Word About Purity

Before we get started, let’s talk about purity for a minute. Everyone has their own favorite brand of oils – so we won’t cover particular brands in this article.

 

However, I advise buying from the manufacturer directly, and not from a 3rd party source like Amazon. It’s very, very easy to pop the top off oils and replace them with an inferior essential oil – or something that doesn’t even resemble an oil, but smells like the real deal.

 

The last thing you want is to spend a lot of time and effort growing your garden, only to dump a bunch of toxins on them unwittingly.

 

Bottom line: Buy from a trusted source, just be sure the oil is pure, and the oil in the bottle is as advertised.

 

Ok, moving on….

 

How Do You Know Which Essential Oil To Use?

If you’re new to oils, or aren’t sure which one will most benefit your garden, determine which pests are bothering your garden.

 

Then, using the chart below, figure out which oil will best repel them.

 

If more than one pest threatens your plant, or in insect AND a fungus are causing trouble, then it’s perfectly fine to add more than one oil to water, to a rag, or to a container.

 

 

What Are The Go-to Oils?

There are a few essential oils that are go-to oils that will work against MOST garden pests. They interfere with your pesky visitor’s biological systems (each oil effects a different part of the insect’s body), causing them to leave the scene to save their lives.

 

Orange essential oil

If you want a go-to oil for killing insects, then orange is a good choice, since it works to destroy the exoskeletons of bugs.

 

Cedarwood essential oil

A second option is cedarwood, which is believed to interfere with their neurological capabilities.

 

Peppermint Essential Oil

If you don’t yet have pests in your garden or just want to deter them, then peppermint oil is a good option. It’s strong smelling, and garden pests will turn around and find an easier target for a snack.

 

Pest Repelled By
Ants Peppermint, Spearmint, Wild Orange, Cedarwood
Aphids Peppermint, Spearmint, Cedarwood, Wild Orange
Beetles Peppermint, Thyme, Wild Orange, Cedarwood
Caterpillars Rosemary, Cedarwood
Cutworms Thyme, Clary Sage, Cedarwood
Fleas Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Wild Orange, Rosemary, Cedarwood
Fungus (e.g. Powdery Mildew) Melaleuca, Wild Orange
Lice Peppermint, Spearmint, Cedarwood
Rabbits, Mice Peppermint
Slugs/Snails Cedarwood, Douglas Fir, Peppermint
Squash Bugs Peppermint, Wild Orange, Cedarwood

 

 

Insecticidal Soap

Commercial insecticidal soaps work by dissolving the hard external bodies of insects, and you can make your own at home with liquid castile soap and orange essential oil.

 

These soaps are effective against aphids, thrips, mites, immature leafhoppers, and whiteflies.  Just remember that insecticidal soap is only effective if they come in contact with the insects while the soap is still liquid; it won’t work after it dries on the plants.

 

To make your own, combine 5 tablespoons of pure castile liquid soap to 2 quarts of water. Add 5-6 drops of orange and cedarwood essential oils. Combine thoroughly and use immediately.

 

Naturally Get Rid Of Insects In Your Home With Essential Oils

Naturally Get Rid Of Insects In Your Home With Essential Oils

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:

 

  • Spiders
  • Bedbugs
  • Earwigs
  • Silverfish
  • Ants
  • Roaches

 

Spiders

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

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

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.

 

Silverfish

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.

 

Ants

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

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.

9 Essential Oils To Repel Insects Naturally (And Get Your Yard Back)

9 Essential Oils To Repel Insects Naturally (And Get Your Yard Back)

It’s summer…and it’s buggy. This time of year, the heat and humidity are bad enough, and I break out my go-to essential oils to repel insects when we’re outside.

 

(This article is based on my new book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening. Grab it on Amazon here!)

 

I have another recipe where you can use herbs, but I’ve found oils work better because they’re concentrated plants in a bottle – so much more powerful than just the herbs themselves when it comes to insects.

 

Because they’re weaker than oils, if you spray yourself with an herbal solution, it will dissipate faster – so you’ll need to spray yourself again and again. With oils, I found we only need to do it once or twice while outside.

 

In this article, we’re going to talk about recipes you can make at home that you can use on yourself and your family to keep bugs at bay.

 

The bugs we’ll discuss are:

 

  • Ants
  • Flies
  • Wasps/Hornets
  • Mosquitoes
  • Ticks

The Go-To Essential Oil For Killing Insects

Yes, there is a single one you can depend on (although there’s more you’ll want to use). Orange essential oil kills insects because it destroys their exoskeletons. In any recipe you make yourself, be sure it includes orange essential oils.

 

A word of note: Citrus essential oils, in large quantities, can harm your cats because it interferes with their liver. (It’s fine with other animals.) If your kitties hang out outside a lot, then don’t spray orange unless you can be sure your kitties will not be outside for 24-48 hours. Use any of the other alternative oils we talk about in this article, and just make sure there’s good circulation.

 

Ants

I hate these buggers. They’re arrogant insects, thinking they can get into whatever sugar I leave on the counter and invading my home whenever suits them….but there is hope.

 

The BEST I’ve found to repel ants is cinnamon oil.

 

Because it’s so strong, it interferes with their neuroreceptors and they can’t send signals (by pheromones) back to their nest to come grab whatever goody they’ve happened upon. It unnerves them, and they leave the scene rapidly.

 

It’s satisfying to watch the insects scurry away.

 

You can apply cinnamon directly to the area you want the ants to leave, without dilution, or you can dilute 10 drops in 8 oz of water or rubbing alcohol. Shake before use, and spray away.

 

If you plan to spray it directly ON the ants, also mix 10 drops of orange essential oil into the spray bottle. (If you’re allergic to cinnamon oil, you can use any of the oils listed above as an alternative).

 

If you plan to spray it on yourself, dilute it with carrier oils like coconut or sweet almond, or dilute with water or alcohol. Cinnamon is a “hot” oil, meaning on people with sensitive skin or children, it can cause skin irritation. Be safe.

 

Flies

I hate flies even more than ants. They’re just as annoying insects, except they ACTIVELY try to get in your face.

 

I have a great article with my favorite recipe to get rid of flies with essential oils here. It’s the best recipe I’ve found, and it actually works. It includes lemongrass and eucalyptus (which have many more uses than fly spray, by the way).

 

Wasps/Hornets

 

  • Mint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Citronella

Mix 8 drops of any of the above oils with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or any other oil you love. Rub it on your body to keep the suckers away.

 

In this article, I show you how to eliminate wasp nests with liquid castile soap – You can also add the above oils along with orange to the castile soap mixture to kill ‘em dead.

 

Word of warning: You don’t want to use the orange essential oils on your body to repel wasps  – it will ATTRACT them since it smells sweet (wasps are attracted to sweet smells), and it can trigger photosensitivity (potentially causing some nasty burns) if you plan to remain outdoors.

 

(Orange is otherwise VERY safe to use – just avoid it on areas that will be uncovered if you plan to be out in the sun for a while.)

 

Mosquitoes

Summertime is mosquito time on our farm. With all the poop we have, the rotten insects LOVE to build nests and breed….and freeload off our livestock.

 

Whenever we go outside, I grab my purple spray bottle containing the following oils (in equal parts, mixed with 8 oz of water). As a bonus, we all smell better.

 

Citronella : Everyone knows that citronella repels mosquitoes, and it’s my go-to oil to repel ‘em. You can mix it (in a roller bottle) with any of the oils we discuss below for a more powerful solution that’s convenient to put on.

 

Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus oil has been used since the 1940s to repel mosquitoes, and is approved by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an effective ingredient in mosquito repellent.

 

Lavender: Lavender essential oil is great for relaxing and smelling good, but did you also know it can repel mosquitoes? Lavender can also be used to support healthy skin!

 

Ticks

Ahh…ticks. The lovely buggers that gave me lyme disease about 10 years ago. That was not fun…lots of yogurt, since I couldn’t eat anything else while I recovered.

 

These days, our chickens do a pretty good job of keeping the population down (yet another bonus to keeping a backyard flock), but if you plan to go camping or take a walk in the woods, here’s some essential oils you can put in a roller bottle or a spray bottle (along with water or alcohol – rubbing alcohol stays on longer) to repel the dirty insects.

 

You can mix and match 8 drops of oil with 8 oz of water or alcohol:

 

  • Rosemary
  • Lemongrass
  • Cedar (cedarwood oils)
  • Peppermint
  • Thyme
  • Eucalyptus

 

The CDC has even said that the above are safe essential oils to repel insects (specifically ticks!)

The Best All-Natural Bug Spray Using Essential Oils!

The Best All-Natural Bug Spray Using Essential Oils!

Bug season is upon us….and when you have as many animals as we do, you have a LOT of flies!

 

I used to buy store-bought bug sprays, but after many years working at the FDA, I know what’s in them…and there’s natural options I prefer to use, especially on my kids.

 

(A lot of you have asked about which oils I personally use. Here’s everything you need to know!)

 

So, I’m going to show you how to use essential oils to make a safe, non-toxic bug spray that’s worked for us. 

 

There’s a couple variations depending on the scents you like best. I personally prefer to go with Lemongrass but you can switch it out with Lavender or any other scent you like.

 

The only thing to remember is that if you want to use a citrus scent, the oils can make you more photo-sensitive. So just keep that in mind before you use them!

 

You CAN leave oils for scent out, but I’ve found that Eucalyptus can sometimes smell medicinal….so if you’re sensitive to those smells or your kids object, consider adding something like Lavender.

 

The Eucalyptus and Peppermint do a great job at deterring flies and no-see-ums. We have one horse that’s particularly sensitive to no-see-ums, and he seems much more comfortable after an application.

 

How to Make A Non-Toxic Bug Spray With Essential Oils

 

For an easy to make all natural, non-toxic bug spray here’s what you can use:

 

  • 10 drops Lemongrass or Lavender for scent
  • 10 drops Eucalyptus
  • 10 drops Peppermint

 

Slowly drip each oil into a 10mL roller bottle (this is the brand I buy) and top with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, or avocado oil.

 

The roller bottle makes it super simple to apply to your body, and you can feel confident knowing that it’s totally safe for your kids.

 

Before going outside, simply roll the bug spray onto your neck, arms and legs.

 

This recipe also works as a spray for animals. You can mix it with 8 ounces of water and pour into a spray bottle. Just be sure to shake and mix before using for the best results.

 

You can spray it in your chicken coop to deter flies, however, I don’t recommend using it ON your chickens.

 

There you have it! A simple and easy bug spray you can make again and again in your own home!

 

(Ready to grab some essential oils so you can get bugs out of your life for good? Here’s everything you need to know!)