Non-Toxic Pest Management

For cupboards or storage areas, an easy way to deter pests including ants, flies, moths, and mice is to place 2 to 3 drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball. Place within cracks, crevices, and corners. Can use other oils such as eucalyptus, citronella, rosemary, and citrus oils instead, or alternate between them.

Alternatively (or in combination with using essential oils to deter insects and other pests), hang dried herbs such as rosemary, lavender, sage, lemongrass, citronella, and mints. Loose bay leaves act as a good insect repellent when placed in cupboards or storage areas.

From Symbio's Non-Toxic Pest Management Index, some extracts/essential oils which have been found to be effective against some storage insects include:

  • Eucalyptus and citrus oil extracts
  • Eugenol and camphor essential oils
  • Nutmeg oil
  • Cinnamaldehyde, an extract of the spice cinnamon
  • Essential oils of anise, cumin, oregano, turmeric, catnip, and rosemary
  • Pyrethrum, a botanical derived from Chrysanthemum flowers

Pesticides Made with Botanical Oils and Extracts

Details using the following oils for controlling pests:

Canola, catnip, cedarwood, citronella, cottonseed, garlic, bergemont, anise, sage, tea tree, geranium, mint, thyme, hyssop, rosemary, white clover, jojoba, neem, soybean, and sesame.

According to them, research by Iowa State University and the US Forest Service announced that nepatalactone, the essential oil in catnip, can be used as a very effective mosquito repellent.

See link for instructions on mixing and spraying.

Mosquito Repellent Oil

2 T Canola oil
6 drops of essential oil – choose from citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, rosemary, peppermint…or combination thereof.

Store in glass container. Shake to blend. Dab on a few drops when going outdoors. Repelling effect on mosquitoes lasts about 20 minutes.

Additional recommended reading:
Pest-Proofing Your Garden
The Good Earth Home and Garden Book
Old Ways Rediscovered
Agrochemicals from Natural Products (Books in Soils, Plants, and the Environment)

The use of essential oils is not recommended for the very young or aged, or pregnant/nursing women. It is the belief of this site that essential oils should not be used internally, only externally and topically. A skin test should always be done before using an essential oil, especially important for those more sensitive or vulnerable. Consult a reputable and experienced aromatherapist for guidance. If you are under the care of a physician, it is recommended that you contact them before using essential oils.

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