Essential Oils For Bed Bugs: Do They Work?

Which Essential Oils are Good for Killing Bed Bugs?

Essential oils are often used as a natural insecticide on many insects.

So, does it work on bed bugs?

Studies show that essential oils can kill bed bugs.

While they can’t eliminate entire infestations, they are an excellent natural insecticide you can use to treat bed bugs.

The following essential oils can kill bed bugs.

The table also includes the concentrations required to reach 50% mortality after 48 hours.

  1. Clove Oil
  2. Cinnamon Oil
  3. Garlic
  4. Peppermint
  5. Thyme

The study found that Clove oil is the most effective essential oil against bed bugs.

When compared to the second most effective essential oil, cinnamon, clove reaches the same mortality rate with half the amount of essential oil.

Against the least effective essential oil, thyme, clove oil reaches the same mortality rate with only one-fifth of the essential oil.

Essential Oil 50% Mortality Rate
Clove Oil

5.9 mg/ml

Cinnamon Oil 4.7 mg/ml
Garlic Oil 5.9 mg/ml
Peppermint 7.4 mg/ml
Thyme Oil 10.12 mg/ml

Clove oil

In studies, clove oil was found to be the most effective essential oil against bed bugs.

To reach a 50% mortality rate after 48 hours, it required approximately 2.85 mg/ml.

This is half the concentration of essential oil compared to the second most effective oil, Cinnamon.

Cinnamon oil

Cinnamon is an often overlooked spice in the kitchen that has many insecticidal features.

Cinnamon powder can also be used around gardens and mixed in the soil to repel insects.

In a study, cinnamon oil was the second most effective essential oil against bed bugs.

In 48 hours, it reached 50% mortality while using approximately 4.7 mg/ml

Garlic oil

Garlic oil is another essential oil that has been shown to kill bed bugs.

The third most effective only takes around 5.9 mg/ml to reach a 50% mortality.

The benefits and use of garlic are enormous.

You can use it to improve your immune system, treat acne, prevent infections, and now even as an insecticide.

How To Use Essential Oils On Bed Bugs?

To kill bed bugs with essential oils, you need to make a water-based concentration.

It’s important that you use the proper concentration to ensure the best results.

Use the concentrations listed above to ensure that you can reach at least 50% mortality with your spray.

I recommend you use a stronger concentration to increase the mortality rate.

After combining the water and essential oil in a spray bottle you need to shake it well so the solution can mix.

Once it’s mixed you can begin spraying the bed bugs inside your home.

For the most accurate results when making your essential oil concentration use a liquid dropper.

This will allow you to get precisely the amount of essential oil you need.

Likewise, to measure the water, you can use a measuring pitcher. 

For the best results, the essential oil concentration needs to contact bed bugs to survive. 

As a result, you should spray common hiding spots around your home.
This includes:

  • Mattress
  • Box spring
  • Bed frame
  • Head board
  • Foot board
  • Furniture near bed
  • Carpet
  • Corners
  • Folds, seams, and creases

Do Essential Oils Repel Bed Bugs?

Studies on the effectiveness of essential oil on repelling bed bugs are limited.

Studies have tested essential oil-based products and how well they repel bed bugs.

Unfortunately, the results are not ideal.

Initial results showed that bed bugs did avoid areas treated with essential oil.

This changed when CO2 was introduced.

When bed bugs thought a host was present, they no longer avoided areas treated with essential oil.

This suggests that essential oil is only useful as a direct spray and has no residual effect.

Does Peppermint Repel or Kill Bed Bugs?

Peppermint oil is one of the more effective essential oils against bed bugs, according to recent studies.

Unfortunately, like other essential oils, they have little repellency on bed bugs.

When tasked with the issue of getting passed objects treated with essential oil to reach a host, the bed bugs had no problem doing so.

The positive news is that peppermint oil can kill bed bugs.

After 48 hours, peppermint oil can kill 50%of bed bugs using a concentration of 7.5mg/ml.

Does Lavendar Kill or Repel Bed Bugs?

The research on the effect of lavender oil on bed bugs is limited.

Lavender oil can kill bed bugs similar to other essentials oils.

With limited research, the concentration required to kill bed bugs.

This makes it difficult to treat bed bugs using lavender oil.

I recommend avoiding using lavender oil and stick with the essential oil that has been tested, such as clove oil, peppermint oil, thyme oil, garlic oil, and cinnamon oil.

Does Eucalyptus Kill Or Repel Bed Bugs?

Just like lavender, there is no research to prove that eucalyptus can kill or repel bed bugs.

You can likely get rid of bed bugs by using—Eucalyptus oil.

Without proper research, we don’t know the concentration needed to kill bed bugs.

This makes it very difficult to treat bugs using Eucalyptus oil.

Diffusing Essential Oils for Bed Bugs: Does It Work?

Diffusers turn the essential oils inside into steam or gas.

This is the same concept behind fumigation.

In practice, you can kill bed bugs by fumigating with essentials oils.

A study found that enclosing bed bugs in a small space with a high concentration of essential oil vapors killed 50% of bed bugs in 24 hours.

Unfortunately, reaching these levels inside your home using a diffuser is not possible.

You could fumigate smaller items by placing them inside vacuum-sealed bags with sufficient essential oil.

Essential Oil Bed Bug Spray

Due to essential oils’ ability to kill bed bugs, many natural insecticides now incorporate them into their products.

This is a great way to kill bed bugs while avoiding the use of toxic chemicals.

Unlike traditional DIY essential oil concentrations, professional bed bug sprays have a patent concentration.

These concentrations typically combine several different essential oils as combined with synergists to make them more effective.

Two of the most popular essential oil insecticide sprays are:

  1. EcoRaider
  2. Temprid SC

These two are known for being more effective than the competition.

They also boast the ability to kill eggs and adult bed bugs.

The unfortunate thing about both these products is that there is no residual effect.

The spray must come in direct contact with the bed bugs for them to die.

How to Use Essential Oils Safely?

Essential oils may seem to like they are completely harmless but they are not. 

Although essential oils are all-natural they can still cause damage. 

Essential oils are powerful, highly concentrated liquids that need to be handled with care. 

They can cause chemical burns or allergic reactions. Be careful when applying the DE to protect yourself. 

Another thing to consider is if you have asthma. Essential oils can sometimes trigger asthma attack in smaller pests. 

Finally, it is important to store your essential oils away from pets and young children. 

Can Essential Oils Eliminate Entire Infestations?

Eliminating a bed bug infestation always requires a multiple-step approach. 

The same applies if you are using essential oils. 

For the best results, it is best to take several steps that ensure you are getting rid of bed bugs. 

You can first vacuum for the best results and steam all areas that you suspect bed bugs. 

The final step would be to spray any remaining locations you suspect bed bugs with essential oil. 

I recommend you use an all-natural spray such as EcoRaider that contains essential oils. 

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