Does essential oils for cockroaches strike you as funny? You’re not alone.
It’s a silly image. After all, cockroaches aren’t known for being the pickiest animals out there. After all, this is an insect that will readily eat raw sewage and practically anything else.
It’s hard to imagine them delicately sipping a glass of dumpster runoff and discussing its vintage.
But as strange as it seems, there are certain smells that cockroaches find repellent. If you’re trying to prevent a cockroach infestation in your home, you may be interested to know that there are essential oils that will help to keep them away.
Unfortunately, like everything else on the Internet, you’ll also find a lot of misinformation out there. So let us set the record straight on which essential oils for cockroaches are the best for keeping these pesky pests away.
Oh, and if you came here looking for essential oils because you wanted to treat your cockroaches to some aromatherapy, you come to the wrong place.
And if that’s why you came here, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.
Do Essential Oils for Cockroaches Work?
Before you go charging off to the health food store with a gleam in your eye and a wad of dollars burning a hole in your pocket, it’s important to have realistic expectations about what essential oils can do against cockroaches.
If cockroaches are established in your home, a smell they don’t like is unlikely to move them.
Once they’ve found a decent food source, a place to hide and somewhere to lay their eggs, it will take more than a waft of eucalyptus to budge them.
So we’re going to be very blunt: If you already have cockroaches in your home, you’re better off spending your time and money on something to kill those roaches rather than trying to repel them with smells.
So Why Use Essential Oils for Roaches?
Essential oils are best used against roaches as a preventative measure. For instance, if you live in an apartment building or townhome and you know that one of your neighbors has cockroaches.
Cockroaches spread very easily between units that share walls, so if you know for a fact that your neighbor has a cockroach problem, you’re right to be worried.
The best thing you can do to make sure the roaches don’t spread to your unit is to keep very clean. Don’t give them anything to eat, and they will have less reason to come into your home in the first place.
But if you’ve tried all the best cockroach prevention methods, essential oils can be a good way to provide some added protection.
So which are the best oils to use?
5 Best Essential Oils for Cockroaches
There are a lot of essential oils out there and the Internet is littered with claims that this or that essential oil is perfect for driving out roaches.
The thing is, though, the majority of essential oils won’t do diddly squat to repel roaches. Here are the only 5 that work.
Peppermint Oil for Roaches
When it comes to essential oils for pest control, peppermint often tops the list. But does peppermint oil for roaches work?
Yes. And unlike many natural remedies, peppermint oil for roaches has quite a bit of research that proves it works. In one study, mint oil was shown to be repellent to both American and German cockroaches.
But the best part is that it’s not just the strong, minty scent of peppermint that repels roaches. Mint oil is actually potent enough to kill cockroaches on contact. That means it can do double duty as a repellent and natural roach killer.
Do I have to use peppermint oil for cockroaches?
Most of the research on mint oil and cockroaches used ‘mint oil’. The thing is – there are around two dozen species of mint, including the fancier varieties of apple mint and chocolate mint. But there’s no reason to treat the roaches that are free-loading in your home to the delights of sweet mint.
Stick to peppermint oil for roaches. It has a higher concentration of menthol and menthone, which is believed to be toxic for roaches. Peppermint oils wins even over other strong mint varieties like spearmint.
How to make peppermint spray for roaches
The studies that were performed on peppermint oil and roaches used a concentration of at least 2.5%. To get the same concentration, you’ll want to use about 6 to 7 drops of peppermint essential oil for every 10 mL of water.
Mix well and spray it around your house, paying particular attention to areas where cockroaches are likely to enter.
Around water and heat pipes would be an excellent place to start. Also, use it behind appliances and kitchen cabinets to keep the cockroaches away.
Catnip Oil for Roaches
It turns out that catnip has other uses besides getting felines high. And there’s actual science to back this up.
This study conducted by Iowa State University found that a component in catnip oil called nepetalactone is repellent to cockroaches, even more so than DEET.
The exact mechanism for this repellency is not clearly understood. But if you think about it, it makes sense. Catnip attracts cats. If you’re a cockroach, the last place you want to be is somewhere with a lot of cats hanging around.
Cats are probably the oldest form of pest control on the planet, so it makes sense that cockroaches would avoid a plant that attracts them.
Of course, spraying your place with catnip oil means you might be invaded by a bunch of drugged-out cats. But that infestation is a lot cuter than cockroaches, whether you’re a cat person or not.
Rosemary Oil for Roaches
If you’re looking for the best essential oils for killing roaches rather than just repelling them, the best you can get your hands on is rosemary oil.
Not only does this fragrant herb-y oil smell lovely for us, it’s very toxic for cockroaches. At a concentration range of 2.5% to 30%, rosemary oil had a 100% mortality rate. As such, it was crowned the most toxic oil for cockroaches.
Oregano Oil for Roaches
Here’s some more science for you. This study, published in the ever popular Journal of Arthropod-Borne Diseases, tested a range of essential oils on cockroaches.
While oils such as rosemary and mint were found to kill cockroaches on contact, oregano oil was determined to have the greatest repellant effect. It was able to repel 97% of cockroaches and were shown to have a residual effect lasting at least one week.
Citrus Oil for Roaches
Citrus scents are despised by many household pests, but do these essential oils repel cockroaches? A Korean study found that various citrus oils – grapefruit, lemon, lime, and orange – were very effective in repelling German cockroaches.
That doesn’t mean simply leaving out citrus peels is going to work. The repellent is credited to limonene, a component found in citrus fruits that is concentrated in their essential oils.
To use citrus oils for roaches, you can get orange or lemon essential oils. Or you can opt for a ready-made limonene-based spray like Orange Guard. It contains a high concentration of d-Limonene (almost 6%) and is ready to spray anywhere and everywhere roaches hide.
Cypress oil for roaches
Cypress oil is also repellent to cockroaches. In fact, a great way to use Cypress oil is to mix it with peppermint and combine the efficacy of both oils.
About eight drops of Cypress oil mixed in with the peppermint oil mixture described above will make for a very effective roach repellent.
Cedar oil for roaches
Cedar oil doesn’t just smell delicious. The cedar tree is known for being the one tree in the forest that never has problems with insects. This is because cedar oil is a natural insecticide, and can actually kill insects that come into contact with it.
Insects know this and will stay well clear of a place that smells like cedar. This is part of the reason why those old cedar chests seem to last forever. No bugs will touch them.
As with other essential oils, dilute cedar oil thoroughly before using. Then spray it around your house. The place will smell like a rustic cabin in no time. A rustic cabin that doesn’t have a cockroach problem.
Note: Because cedar oil is so widely used as an insect deterrent, you can find a bevy of cedar-infused pest control products which will be cheaper than going for pure cedar oil. Just a heads up.
The Final Word on Essential Oils for Roaches
A lot of wild and wacky claims are made on behalf of essential oils. Especially online.
When it comes to cockroaches, essential oils can actually be a useful option to keep roaches away in the midst of a roach infestation. They can be especially useful to give you some peace of mind by making sure the roaches don’t take over your more sacred places, like the bedroom. And best of all, they are not toxic.
But keep in mind that essential oils for roaches are not going to solve a cockroach problem by themselves. They may help prevent a roach infestation in the first place but if you are already dealing with a cockroach infestation, save your money and go check out our guide to get rid of roaches completely.
And if you’re in the envious position of being cockroach-free but smart enough to take preventative measures, go head on down to the health food store and pick up some essential oils. Grab me a bag of kale chips while you’re there.