Essential Oils / Pest Control

Your Guide to Using Essential Oils for Pest Control

While tending to your beloved plants, you may discover unwelcome rodents and pests invading your garden. If conventional preservative measures aren’t doing the trick, or you wish to steer clear of toxic chemicals, it may be time to try essential oils for pest control. These organic, all-natural oils can be valuable allies in gardening, promoting plant growth, deterring pests, and enhancing the overall garden environment.

So, let’s delve into the world of orange oil pest control and others, their benefits, and potential challenges to help you decide whether they are the right option for you.

Common Pests and Their Natural Repellents

Once you’ve decided to use essential oils for pest control, the first step is to choose which essential oil you need based on the pests. Here’s a roundup of common pests and their natural repellents to help you out.

Assess The Situation:

Before utilizing essential oils to target a pest infestation inside your garden, do a risk assessment of the situation. If the case at hand is something moderate, like keeping the ants at bay, then a single essential oil may be enough to do the job. 

However, if you are dealing with a severe issue that could cause harm to your vegetation, it’s best to combine several oils for optimal results.

Mosquitoes: Citronella, Peppermint, Lavender

Plants like citronella, peppermint, and lavender not only introduce beautiful scents throughout your garden but also keep annoying mosquitoes at bay. To protect yourself and your garden from these pesky insects:

Get a clean spray bottle.

Fill with 4 ounces of water, 10 drops of citronella oil, 15 drops of lavender oil, five drops of peppermint oil, and one tablespoon of pure alcohol such as vodka.

Spray at the base of your plants in mosquito prone areas and watch mosquitoes buzz away from your property!

Fresh citronella leaves on wooden background, keep mosquitoes at bay, essential oils for pest control

Ants: Tea Tree, Lemon, Cinnamon

During summers, you may see a surge in the number of ants crawling around your garden. These little guys are more determined than your average bug and can rapidly damage the plant’s foliage (or invade your pantry!) 

To deter ants:

Find a spray bottle.

Mix ¼ cup of water with 15 drops of peppermint oil, 15 drops of tea tree oil, and seven drops of lemon oil. Transfer it to the bottle.

Spray it around areas where ants are to drive them away. 

Spiders: Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Citrus oils

As you harvest the last of your produce, you might notice spiders living among your vegetables. Garden spiders are pretty much harmless. However, venomous species like the brown recluse and black widow may pose a severe threat. Get rid of these dangerous crawlies by:

Add 10 to 15 drops of peppermint oil in a spray bottle and squirt it in places where the spiders usually tend to hide – near the crevices and corners of your garden or house.

In addition, douse cotton balls with the mixture and strategically place them in trouble spots.

Fleas and Ticks: Rosemary, Lemongrass, Cedarwood Oil

Of course, no one wants a flea and tick infested garden. These blood-sucking creatures can hide in unkempt areas or tall grass and hitchhike on your pets. Essential oils offer a natural and safe way to prevent any future infestations. 

To do this:

Find a spray bottle.

Add 15 drops each of rosemary, lemongrass, and cedarwood essential oils to the bottle.

Spray it around your garden’s moist and shady areas, as that’s where these critters frequently hide out.

Deer: Rosemary oil

Of all the pests that wreak havoc on your space, few are as destructive as deer. Whether in small herds or alone, they can chew away your vegetation and destroy your veggie garden in one sitting! Use rosemary oil to keep deer from eating your fruits and colorful blooms.

Fill the spray bottle with 8 ounces of white vinegar and ten drops of rosemary essential oil.

Shake to mix the contents.

Spray the mixture onto plants, or on cloth placed around the perimeter of your garden.

essential oil for your home or garden, rosemary oil, using essential oils for pest control

Cats & Dogs: Peppermint, Rosemary, Orange oils

Keeping your plants safe from furry guests is always a good idea. Dogs can dig up or maul plants on your lawn, while cats love to use the soil as a litter box. Use scents to keep cats and dogs away by harnessing orange oil pest control along with peppermint and rosemary. 

Get a clean spray bottle.

Mix 10 ounces of water with 15 drops of peppermint and rosemary oils. You can substitute rosemary with orange oil if you prefer.

Spray the repellent around areas you notice becoming the neighborhood litterbox.

Alternatively, soak cloth pieces with the mixture and stake or hang them amidst your plants.

Cat in the garden, keep your plants safe from cats, using orange oil pest control

Badgers: Rosemary, Citronella, and Wintergreen 

Badgers can inflict an impressive amount of damage on your garden. From digging burrows to destroying flower beds, they can threaten your and your garden’s health. Follow this homemade recipe to ward off these nocturnal pests:

Mix ten drops of rosemary oil and 20 drops of citronella oil in a bottle.

Saturate cotton balls with the mixture and put them around entrances and the bottom of fences to keep badgers away.

Benefits of Choosing Essential Oils for Pest Control vs Chemical Sprays

Pests can be a nuisance, and chemical-based sprays may not always be the best pest control solution due to their potential harm to human health and the environment. Essential oils are a great natural substitute that avoids such issues, bringing numerous benefits for you and your green space.

For starters, they are kinder to the environment. Going organic reduces pollution and won’t introduce harsh chemicals into your plants, soil, and, ultimately, your food. And because of the volatile nature of essential oils, you can rest assured knowing that they won’t contaminate underground water.

Moreover, essential oils not only repel insects but also possess healing properties that aid in the better growth of the plant for naturally preserving your garden.

If you plan on getting a premium-quality, therapeutic-grade essential oil for your home or garden, we recommend using a reliable name like Young Living essential oils. 

Known for their consistent obligation to ethical standards and strenuous testing, Young Living provides the best organic oils for your plants, helping you move one step closer to a low-tox lifestyle. 

A man with a pressure garden sprayer spraying flowers and plants against pests, essential oils for pest control

How Essential Oils Work Against Pests

Sure, essential oils are a reliable solution to your pest problems, but how do they work to eliminate these unwanted guests? Here’s how essential oils are effective for pest control:

Pheromones Disruption

Essential oils disrupt pheromones and communication of the pests, making it difficult for them to mate or forage, which can hinder their ability to survive. 

Sensory Overload

The strong, sharp scent of essential oils engulfs pests and causes a sensory overload. This disrupts their usual behavior, makes it harder for them to track their target plants, and drives them away from your garden.

Repellent Properties

Wintergreen, eucalyptus, lavender, and citronella essential oils are known for their natural repelling properties. Pests find these scents unpleasant and evade areas with these essential oils or plants.


Essential oils contain certain organic chemical compounds that are lethal to pests and can kill them when they ingest or come in contact with them. At times, these compounds are also toxic to the insect larvae and prevent their growth,  making them an effective natural pesticide.

Potential Challenges and Considerations

While essential oils have numerous benefits in tackling pest issues, these organic substances still need to be used with caution and consideration. Here are some of the most important factors you should consider before making essential oils a part of your daily life:

Prevalent Allergies:

Children, pets, and sensitive adults can react adversely to essential oils. These oils contain elements such as herbs, which may trigger an allergic reaction in specific individuals and cause breathing or sudden rashes.

It’s always recommended to do a skin patch test to ensure that none of your family members is allergic. Avoid direct contact with the skin of young children, and remember to dilute the oil with water or carrier oil before direct use on the plants.

Targeting The Symptom:

Dealing with annoying pests requires patience and persistence to attain long-term results. Focus on targeting the symptoms of the infestation rather than the cause by identifying their source (breeding ground) and treating that specific area.

Also, remember that pests are a part of life and possibly will be back in your garden tomorrow. Still, with the right essential oils and dedication, you can completely wipe them off your green space.

Safety Precautions:

Just because essential oils are natural doesn’t mean they are also entirely harmless. Certain essential oils are unsafe for pregnant women, animals, and infants.

Some fundamental practices you should always follow while using essential oils include keeping them out of the reach of children, avoiding oral ingestion, and checking their expiration before usage.

Do essential oils also kill the beneficial bugs in the garden?

Yes, bugs hanging around isn’t a good thing. However, some insects, like bees, are beneficial and can help your plants flourish. Hence, they shouldn’t be harmed. So, do essential oils target these valuable garden companions as well?

Well, essential oils can affect both good and bad bugs in your garden. However, unless you spray those beneficial insects directly, they will not be harmed and will continue helping the environment. And chances are, once the repellant scents subside, they will visit your garden happily again!

Final Words – Using essential oils for pest control

And there you have it, a detailed guide about using essential oils for pest control in your garden and living spaces. These natural oils provide a safe, eco-friendly, and reliable alternative to chemical sprays and successfully target various common pests and insects.

Just make sure to take the necessary precautions to overcome the potential challenges of using oils such as orange oil for pest control, and watch your garden become completely free from these clingy freeloaders in no time!

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About the Author

Elle Reed is a passionate gardener and advocate for teaching beginner gardeners how to grow their own food. Elle’s mission is to inspire and empower people to get back to basics, grow their own produce, and embrace a sustainable lifestyle. “Whether it’s a few herb pots in an apartment, a potager or a full garden plot, we can all ‘start somewhere’ to grow our own food, and in doing so, provide healthier food for ourselves and those we love”.