All-Natural Pest Control Using Essential Oils

medium_3659285945I have spent my entire life being the knight in shining armor for my mother and sister. I was the tomboy and there were no sons, so I was the one given the job of killing the spiders and taking care of any of the other creepy crawlies. Most of the time (with the exception of those REALLY SCARY spiders, those don’t count towards your karma rating, I promise!) I would take the said offending creature/bug outside and “let it go free”. I know. I am REALLY hippy. I know that you are thinking it to yourself right this moment, and it’s true. Nowadays, thanks to having a MAN with a beard who acts all manly (Shhh…don’t tell him I told you this!) but still sends ME in to do the pest control, I am pretty darn proficient in keeping the pests away using essential oils and herbs.

I really hate all of the chemicals that are used in pest control today. People run around spraying poison near the faces of their children and beloved pets and still they wonder where the cancer came from. I was beyond excited when I first started learning about the many natural ways that bugs and other pests can be repelled, and these options smell GREAT too!

Essential oils can be used in many different ways to repel or kills bugs and other pests. For most pests, you can mix about 10-20 drops per 1 cup of water and spray the offending areas or bugs with the mixture. For flying bugs and the likes, you can make Soy Wax Candles and add 30-60 drops of essential oil to 8 oz. of candle wax. I have also read about people hanging up pretty ribbons along window seals and putting a couple drops of essential oil on them, to keep certain bugs from wanting to fly in the windows.


Essential Oils That Repel Creepy Crawlies

  • Ants- Peppermint, Spearmint (add a line of it to window and door seals), Pennyroyal, Garlic, Citronella, Orange
  • Aphids- Cedarwood, Hyssop, Peppermint, Spearmint, Orange
  • Beetles- Peppermint, Thyme, Garlic
  • Caterpillars- Peppermint, Spearmint, Pennyroyal
  • Chiggers- Lavender, Lemongrass, Sage, Thyme
  • Cutworm- Thyme, Sage
  • Fleas- Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Texas Cedarwood, Citronella, Pennyroyal, Tansy, Orange
  • Flies- Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Citronella, Tansy
  • Gnats- Patchouli, Spearmint, Citronella, Tagetes
  • Mosquitoes- Lavender, Lemongrass, Pennyroyal, Sassafras, Citronella, Tansy
  • Head Lice – Lavender, Tea Tree Oil, Geranium, Spearmint, Peppermint, Pine (This is the oldest used remedy in the book), Thyme, Orange, Rosemary
  • Plant Lice- Peppermint, Spearmint, Cedarwood, Pennyroyal, Orange
  • Mice-  2 teaspoons peppermint to 1 cup water, sprayed throughout the house
  • Moths- Cedarwood, Hyssop, Lavender, Peppermint, Spearmint, Citronella
  • Roaches- Cedarwood, Eucalyptus, Cinnamon, Thyme (proven to be most effective against cockroaches)
  • Slugs- Cedarwood, Hyssop, Pine, Garlic, Sassafras
  • Snails- Cedarwood, Pine, Patchouli, Sassafras, Garlic
  • Spiders- Peppermint, Spearmint, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Citrus, Lavender, Citronella
  • Ticks- Lavender, Lemongrass, Sage, Thyme, Citronella, Pennyroyal
  • Weevils- Cedarwood, Patchouli, Sandalwood

All-Natural Bug Off Spray

  • 4 drops citronella essential oil
  • 4 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 4 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 4 drops mint essential oil
  • 1/4 cup pure witch hazel

Mix ingredients together and spray all over your body (avoiding the eyes and mouth of course!).

Living here in Texas, the very first varmints that I thought to kill, were fire ants. Being from California and transplanted into the south, I had no idea that ants could be so mean! My very first run in with them left both of my feet (albeit numb from surgeries) completely covered in nasty fire ant bites. (No one told me that I shouldn’t be walking around barefoot in the dark, in TX!!!) I wanted nothing more than to get my revenge on those nasty little bugs! Every time that I see an ant hill form in our yard, I run inside with just a little too much glee, and whip up a big batch of my very own fire ant revenge. I admit, it’s a little bit sadistic…but they bit the crap out of my feet and made me allergic to them, so I feel justified in being a little bit crazy.


Fire Ant Revenge!
(This works for all ant piles, not just fire ants.)

  • 1 gallon hot water (I just wait for the faucet to give me the hottest water that it can spit out.)
  • 1/4 cup liquid peppermint castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s)
  • 1 tsp. orange oil
  • 1 tsp. peppermint oil

Mix together and pour all over and around the offending ant pile. The peppermint will assure that they will not want to rebuild their home and the orange oil and the soap help to kill the ants by dissolving their husks.

A Note on Orange Oil

Orange oil is one of the best bug killing essential oils out there. It is so good that it doesn’t discriminate on good or bad bugs in your garden.

Be sure to be careful where you are spraying orange oil because it will kill all bugs. Its a wonderful flea killer on dogs, but DO NOT use it on your cat because cats are very sensitive to essential oils (especially citrus, in fact this can be sprayed on your garage and around your car to deter neighborhood cats from coming close to your house.) and can build their toxicity levels over time.

I get most of my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs. I also love the Frontier brand and Starwest Botanical brand available from Amazon.

What natural methods do you use at home to keep the creepy crawlies at bay?

photo credit: hardworkinghippy via photopin cc
photo credit: normanack via photopin cc
photo credits: Jacob Pilich via photopin cc; ~ Pil ~via photopin cc; harold.lloyd via photopin cc

Christina Anthis is The Hippy Homemaker. She is 29 years old and the mother of one miraculous three year old boy, Silas Thor (also known as Syfy). After going through many health problems and surgeries, Christina had nowhere else to turn but to a \\\\”hippier\\\\” lifestyle, in hopes of finding the answer. She did her research, read a lot of books, and taught herself the basics to change her family over to a greener lifestyle. A couple months after making the switch, and getting rid of all of the chemicals in her cleaning supplies and beauty products, she noticed that the nerve pains that she used to suffer from constantly, had diminished so much so, that she was actually living and enjoying life the way that she used to.

When Christina made the choice to try a vegetarian diet, her husband Andy (whom she affectionately calls \\\\”The Hippy Husband\\\\”), jumped on board with her, to support the healthier lifestyle she was trying to forge for their family. A few months of eating without meat brought the most surprising side effect of all; Christina\\\\\’s narcolepsy was completely gone, and she was able to function Aderall free.

Always one to care for people, animals, and our Mother Earth; Christina has found her calling by writing for her blog, The Hippy Homemaker. On The Hippy Homemaker, she shares her journey to a healthier and more conscious lifestyle for her family, through vegan and vegetarian recipes, healthier and greener ways to clean, non-toxic beauty products that you can make in your own home, and non-toxic cheaper DIY kids crafts.

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  1. Awesome resource – pinning!

  2. I was looking for these diy pest control tips, let me see if I can experiment it.
    london pest control

  3. hi, any thoughts on how to repel scorpions? we live in texas too and everyone around here tells me ‘they were here first’! ick….I understand, but I don’t want them in my house!!!!! can you help? any recommendations? thank you!

    • Well that is a darn good question! I did a quick check on something and was indeed correct. Diatomaceous earth, or DE, is an organic scorpion killer commonly used throughout North America. It kills scorpions by dehydration within 48 hours after they come in contact or digest the product. You want to basically sprinkle around the areas they frequent. It is safe both indoors and out.

      • Hi @Jennifer, I am facing a huge problem with cockroach around my house. It’s everywhere. In my dining table to my bed. You might understand how horrible it can be (yaak..). Do you have any recommendation to get rid of those?

        • Hi Lawrence! Oh yuck! My advice would be to sprinkle Diatamaceous Earth everywhere. It will kill those little suckers from the inside out and is safe for people and pets.

          • Hey @Jennifer, would you please like to share a blog post about removing bed bugs? If there already is one in your blog, please provide me the link. :)

            • Hi Jeff! My friend just went through a bed-bug journey and they had a heck of a time. Unfortunately, she has to hire a professional to have a heat treatment done twice. It was the only thing that worked. She literally tried everything. The good news is that the heat treatment does not involve chemicals. I suggest you look into that as soon as possible.

  4. A wonderful article, one of the pest control companies, namely Major’s Pest, which I came across with during my visit in Singapore thought me their professional ways of having to deal with pests.

  5. Hi there, I would like to make your bug spray but I’m curious – after I put some on, suppose my cat rubs against me, or jumps on my lap – I know you mentioned citrus as dangerous to cats, but can any of these other oils potentially make her sick if she gets some on her and then licks it off her fur? I’m least familiar with witch hazel. Just want to make sure I don’t hurt her. Thanks for your help, and this was a great post!

  6. There is definately a lot to know about this subject. I like
    all the points you’ve made.
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  7. Hey Christina! Awesome post. Very informative. I agree fully and there is nothing more that I can add to what have mentioned which I agree with. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Jessica hare says:

    Any tips on repelling/killing silver fish?

  9. Hello how would you apply an essential oil mixture to a young plant safely ? Thank you

    • Hi Lanita! You would simply put about 20 drops of the essential oil in a spray bottle with 1 cup of water. Spray all over the plant but do not saturate it. This should keep the youngin’ safe and healthy. 😉

  10. Thanks for sharing this recipe! It is so cool to see that there are so many ways to keep pests out. And it is good that this method isn’t toxic. No one wants to have dangerous chemicals lingering in their home!

  11. Hello Christina – This year, I’d started making my own DIY pest control mixes. Right now, I’m doing a vinegar, water and cedarwood, clove, lemongrass, rosemary, eucalyptus concoction and have seen a decrease on unwanted guests. I’ll know for sure of its effectiveness once summer rolls in. While I’m in the process of coming up with the most effective natural pest control cocktail, I’ve noticed that there’s little literature on whether or not these oils plus vinegar DIY mixes are harmful for pet rabbits. Usually, I come across notes on mixes safe for dogs and cats. Would you have any advice? Thanks!

  12. Is the ant recipe effective to kill carpenter ants? Because they are so big I feel like nothing can kill them! Also how long would it take for them to die.

    I have phobea of ants and last year a carpenter ant found its way into my home and I’ve been transfixed and dreading the spring to come. I have a one year old baby as well.

  13. Hi Christina! I have been searching for DIY pesticide, I will definitely use this at my home. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  14. Oh, cool! I didn’t know that orange and peppermint oil can be used against fire ants. Thanks so much for sharing that, I’ll definitely have to give it a try sometime. Essential oils are so awesome. You can use them for almost anything!
    Brook |


  1. Essential Oils Use Guide for Insect and Pest Control says:

    […] If you really want control over who enters your space, and without adding insult to injury, essential oils are the answer.  You not only get to prevent these annoyances but can do so with the natural, non-toxic components in essential oils.   So here are some recipes to keep in your arsenal for pest terminating. […]

  2. […] Bugs be gone. Hate all the chemicals used in pest control potions these days? Peppermint oil deters insects, and even rodents, so make your own. […]

  3. […] cockroaches to hide. If you liked this article and you also would like to acquire more info about maxforce magnum roach gel please visit the web site. David, I said, it’s 11:30 at night, and I’m trying to write […]

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