Does Peppermint Oil Repel or Kill Bed Bugs?

If you have a bed bug infestation, you are in the right place. In this article, we will look at peppermint oil for bed bugs and how to use peppermint oil and other essential oils that may help with a bed bug infestation.

If you want to stop the bed bug bites and find out if peppermint oil repels bed bugs, please read on.

What are bed bugs and what do they look like?

Bed bugs are flat, oval-shaped insects, around 5-7 mm in length. A bed bug is reddish-brown and will appear redder after a blood meal. They are slow at reproducing, laying one to five eggs a day, 250 in their lifetime, compared to a fly who lays over 500 eggs in 4 days.

They like to feed on human blood if available, but if not they will bite other mammals. Bites occur mainly at night, as bed bugs are nocturnal. However, if they need a meal they will bite during the day.

When a bed bug bites, it releases an anesthetic and anticoagulant into the bloodstream. The anticoagulant allows blood to flow and the anesthetic is released so you cannot feel the biting.

They do not have wings so they cannot fly. However, they can move very quickly.

Does peppermint oil repel bed bugs?

One of the best essential oils to use for bed bugs is peppermint oil. Peppermint oil is very versatile and works as a repellent and a contact insecticide. Peppermint oil comes from the middle east and is a mix of water, mint, and spearmint.

Peppermint oil is natural and great for a bed bug problem. Peppermint essential oil is also good as a repellent for cockroaches, and spiders will stay away.

Peppermint essential oil contains menthol, giving a cooling feeling.

To use peppermint oil, it needs to be diluted with a carrier oil. Because of its strength it can irritate the skin and eyes. The oil on contact with the skin will leave a burning feeling. For a bed bug, contact with peppermint oil is agonizing death.

A carrier oil can be coconut, jojoba, olive oil, or almond.

Use peppermint oil mixed with water – 10 drops of oil to 30 ml of water – and use a spray to apply to bed sheets and mattress.

Do not use too much peppermint oil in a child’s room, as it could affect sensitive skin.

Peppermint essential oil is also great at keeping bees, ants, and mosquitoes away.

Peppermint oil can also be mixed with other essential oils and used for aching muscles.

How to make Thieves oil

Thieves oil is a mix of essential oils, one of them being peppermint oil. It has been used for many years now to repel pests like bed bugs and to fight common viral and bacterial infections, and has been used to clean surfaces in the home.

The ingredients to use

  • 20 drops of peppermint oil.
  • 20 drops of clove oil.
  • 20 drops of lemongrass oil.
  • 20 drops of cedar oil.
  • 20 drops of eucalyptus oil.
  • 20 drops of Thyme oil.
  • 20 drops of Rosemary oil.
  • 20 drops of Lavender oil.

Mix them in a bowl; for a repellent, dilute 1 teaspoon of mixed oil with 1 cup of water.

For applying topically, mix 3-5 teaspoons of mixed essential oils with 1 ounce of carrier oil such as coconut oil or olive oil.

Does Tea tree oil repel bed bugs or kill bed bugs?

Another one of the best essential oils to use is tea tree oil. The tea tree is from the Melaleuca Alternifolia plant native to Australia.

It is an essential oil that is natural and is known for its antibacterial properties. You can use a spray bottle and spray it over your bed and furniture to repel bed bugs.

The oil is also used to treat acne and bites.

How does it work for bed bug control?

The oil is a natural repellent and insecticide, and it will kill insects like mosquitoes, ants, lice, parasites, and other biting and stinging insects.

Bed bugs do not like the smell of it. The oil can damage their exoskeleton, causing suffocation.

Bed bugs can only die from the oil by direct contact, and it must be diluted as it is not good for humans.

Some people can be allergic to tea tree oil, so you need to be careful where you spray it. Also be aware it may cause staining on some items.

The oil can be used as a treatment for bites, but do a patch test first. Place a tiny amount on the back of your wrist and leave for 24 hours. If there is no irritation or rash on the skin, it is a safe oil for bed bug bites.

The oil acts as a temporary bed bug repellent, like rubbing alcohol, on a small infestation. It must be diluted before use.

Will Lavender oil keep bed bugs away?

This oil is one of the safest oils to use. Lavender essential oil is natural with a nice scent, and bed bugs repel away from it especially if it is pure oil. Add 6-10 drops in an atomizer and the bed bugs will run.

Atomizers are readily available to buy, so get some and place a few around the house and allow the strong scent to work all around to keep bed bugs at bay. Most people love the smell of lavender. However, with its strong scent, bed bugs and many other insects and household pests will soon disappear.

Is Eucalyptus oil effective against bed bugs?

Native to Australia from the eucalyptus plant, this essential oil is natural and strong and should be diluted, as it can irritate the skin.

This essential oil is good for killing bed bugs and their eggs. To use for bed bug control, mix 20 drops to 30ml of water and spray over the mattress and bedding. You can also add the oil to laundry, and it will also kill mites.

What about other essential oils that act as a repellent?

With clove oil, bed bugs find the strong scent hard to suffer, so it makes a good repellent. This oil contains eugenol, which is toxic to all insects and therefore will provide good pest control.

How to use it: Mix 10 drops of oil with 30 ml of water into a bottle and spray on bedding, sheets, and on the mattress to see off bed bugs.

Thyme and Rosemary oil

Thyme oil is an essential oil for bed bugs and has a strong smell that will repel a bed bug. Thyme oil, however, is not safe for use around pregnant women or children.

Rosemary oil can bring on epileptic fits.

Lemon oil

Citrus oils make an environment bed bugs cannot survive in. Add a few drops to the washing to kill bed bug infestations. Due to its high acidity levels, it is not safe to use on the skin, so always dilute it.

Citronella

Citronella oil comes from the leaves and stems of lemongrass and it is well known for repelling flying insects, but it will repel bed bugs as well.

Neem oil

Neem oil comes from the fruits of the neem tree in India. The trees alone deter mosquitoes and flies. The oil has a powerful smell and when mixed with another oil works wonders at deterring bed bugs. Apply to bedding and mattress for pest control.

We just wanted to mention Frankincense. It is not an essential oil and does not repel bed bugs, but when used on a bite it stops the itching straight away. Apply one drop to the bite.

Top tips for essential oils

  • Not all essential oils can be put on the skin.
  • Most essential oils need to be diluted.
  • Never ingest essential oils. Some are ok but very few are.
  • When buying essential oils check they are pure oils, some will say they are but in fact, they turn out not to be.
  • Always research the oils well before use.

Can Diatomaceous earth kill a bed bug?

Yes, it will kill bed bugs. It is a very good form of pest control and commonly used.

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring white crystalline powder, made of fossilized algae and other fossilized water plants.

It is non-toxic, but not to bed bugs and other insects. Its silica base and rough crystals penetrate the waxy exoskeleton of an insect, drying their bodies out, which kills bed bugs.

The Diatomaceous earth is readily available and sold in a selection of bag sizes. Click here for more info.

How to use Diatomaceous earth

Apply along the seams of your mattress, to the bed frame, and other furniture.

Do not use it heavily, as too much has been found to cause the bed bugs to walk around it. You want them to walk through it.

Vacuum after a couple of days and reapply straight after vacuuming.

Does rubbing alcohol get rid of bed bugs?

Rubbing alcohol is a popular home remedy and is thought to kill a bed bug infestation, and it is an effective repellent against bed bugs and other biting pests.

Rubbing alcohol can be bought from a pharmacy. Pour it into a spray bottle and apply to areas like underneath the bed and the bed frame.

Now here is the warning from us! To be effective against bed bugs it needs to be 90% alcohol. Such a high percentage is dangerous for your health and also a major fire hazard! We do not advise its use as a repellent or for anything else.

Steam and vacuum cleaning

Buy a steam cleaner and a good vacuum cleaner, ones that can clean in tight spots and crevices. You can steam clean your mattress regularly and clean various other furniture with a steam cleaner. Always follow manufacturers advice. Vacuum regularly to remove bed bugs and eggs, put contents in a sealed bag, and throw them away.

Launder at high temperatures

This is one of the most effective forms of pest control to get rid of bed bugs. It doesn’t just repel bed bugs, but kills them.

Launder clothes and bedding in hot water and tumble dry on high heat. The hot water will kill bed bugs and eggs, as will the tumble dryer heat.

Clothes should be washed at 60 c for at least 90 minutes to kill the pests off.

And finally,

We hope you have found this article both interesting and helpful.

Remember to do a regular bed bug patrol and take a spray bottle of essential oil, just in case you spot any bed bugs and need to spray them.

Bed bug bites are awful, but now you have the knowledge with the tips we have given you. Hopefully you will be bed bug-free.

If you have any questions about peppermint oil for bed bugs or any others about pest control, please do not hesitate to contact us with an email. We do our best to respond as quickly as possible.

Nighty night!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. 

Read more here.

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