Top Essential Oils for Insect Repellent: Use These Oils to Get Rid of Ants and Cockroaches


Are there any essential oils that can help ants and cockroaches relocate and stay away from our homes, especially ants?

Recipe for Repelling Ants and Bugs

Ants are one of the most common annoying creatures found in homes, along with numerous other ground-crawling bugs such as termites, small spiders, and mites. Just the thought of them can give you goosebumps. These bugs often appear around you, startling you, and some people are too scared to kill them, while others dislike the sensation of squishing them or want to avoid taking life. In any case, these pests are unwelcome in our homes.

Using essential oils for ant or insect repellent is an environmentally friendly approach. Essential oils mainly use their scent to "drive away" these pests, so you don't have to kill them or put in much effort. Most essential oils extracted from plants are non-toxic when used correctly, making them relatively safe even if you have children or pets wandering around. For instance, when you see ants in the kitchen, you wouldn't want to spray insecticides everywhere. That's where insect repellent essential oil recipes come in handy.

Getting rid of ants is simple – the principle behind ants is that they follow scent trails. By using insect repellent essential oils, ants perceive these scents as deterrents and avoid those areas.

Recipe for Repelling Ants: Fill a spray bottle with 100 ml of distilled water, add about 10-30 drops of essential oils such as lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint. Shake well before spraying, and you're good to go! Alternatively, you can use aromatic items by hanging scent sachets on doorknobs or placing them near places like electric fans and air vents. Regularly add a few drops of the mentioned essential oils for effective air freshening and insect dispersal.

Now, let's rank these essential oils based on their insect-repellent abilities.


1st Place: Pure Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass essential oil has a strong scent that disrupts ants' odor detection. Ants rely on scent to forage for food. If you spot a trail of ants, you can directly spray water or alcohol mixed with lemongrass essential oil on it. This not only weakens the ants but also masks the trail scent, making it difficult for ants to navigate around your home. It's also effective against cockroaches. The compound citronellal in lemongrass is a repellent for insects. Combining lemongrass with other insect-repelling essential oils enhances its potency.

Comment: Directly repels pests with its strong scent, a must-have. However, it can be too aggressive and irritating, so it should be diluted before use and not come in contact with the skin.

2nd Place: Pure Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus essential oil has a fresh and penetrative scent. It's renowned for being the top choice in mite repellents. It's milder than lemongrass and is budget-friendly, making it highly practical. Apart from combating dust mites, users have found it effective against mosquitoes, ants, and other small bugs.

Comment: Eucalyptus excels in odor removal, air quality improvement, and insect prevention. It's cost-effective and a must-have for homes. Drawback: None (due to its low irritability).

3rd Place: Pure Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil has a penetrating and herbaceous scent that insects dislike. This cool fragrance is particularly effective against bugs. Therefore, horticultural experts often plant peppermint in gardens to deter pests.

Comment: Peppermint has a refreshing and pleasant scent, especially during summer. Using peppermint in insect repellent recipes is fantastic. Both ants and cockroaches avoid peppermint.


More Insect-Repelling Essential Oils

Southeast Asian Insect Warrior: Citronella (also known as Lemongrass)

Citronella has an aroma reminiscent of the lush scent of grass. It's warm and herbaceous. In Indonesia, citronella is used to combat summer mosquitoes. Dry citronella grass is placed at house entrances and burned to fumigate, effectively repelling mosquitoes. From a scientific perspective, citronella contains citronellol and citronellal, scents mosquitoes dread. Therefore, it's effective at repelling both mosquitoes and bugs.

European Mosquito Opponents: Lavender and Geranium

Lavender and geranium are well-known insect-repelling essential oils in the European aromatherapy community. Lavender's aromatic fragrance is more widespread, and both oils not only ward off mosquitoes but also offer remarkable sleep aid effects, making them perfect for summer nights, providing dual benefits of insect repellent and peaceful sleep.

North American Insect Slayer: North American Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal, in recent years, has become one of the most buzzworthy discoveries in the essential oil realm. According to a paper presented by Chris Peterson, PhD, and Joel Coats, PhD, at the 222nd American Chemical Society National Meeting, North American pennyroyal boasts mosquito-repellent effects ten times stronger than DEET. Even two years before this study, researchers at the University of Iowa found that pennyroyal has a powerful effect against cockroaches. The "tenfold" claim refers to pennyroyal achieving the same repellent effect as DEET but requiring only one-tenth of DEET's concentration. The experiments involved common mosquito species found in the United States. The main researcher stated that nepetalactone in pennyroyal is a vital mosquito repellent component, rendering pennyroyal highly effective against various mosquito species worldwide. In Taiwan, mosquitoes and cockroaches are the most bothersome pests in summer. Despite the increased cost due to this paper, Pennyroyal's effectiveness has led us to introduce it as an essential ingredient in our insect repellent formulations.

The Ethical Approach to Insect Repellent with Essential Oils
You can either individually purchase these insect-repelling essential oils according to your needs and create your own DIY blends or opt for pre-blended insect repellent essential oils for convenience. The blend consists of globally recognized insect-repelling herbs such as pennyroyal, citronella, lemongrass, and mosquito repellent wood oils, creating an ultimate formula for insect control, repellence, and ant removal.
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