11 Best Essential Oils for Bed Bugs: to Repel, Kill, and Prevent

Bed bugs can live anywhere in a house. They live in furniture, and the most common furniture is a bed. Their main diet consists of human and animal blood. [1]

Bed bugs do seem like tiny insects, but they are very dangerous.

Bed bugs have a lot of negative impacts on human health.

There has been an increase of 81% in the calls to pest control companies since 2000 in the USA.

Bed bugs thrive during the night, and they bite exposed areas of the body like the face, necks, and hands. Bed bugs bite can cause redness, swelling, itching, or bumps on the skin.

Essential oils for bedbugs are great aids when it comes to relieving itching, pain, and swelling.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bedbugs are parasitic insects. The common bedbug feeds on the human blood. There are other species of the bedbugs like bat bugs which are common in Europe, Western and Eastern United States.

The name bed bug comes from their preferred habitat of beds or other sleeping and warm areas. They are prevalent at night but are not nocturnal. They have the unique ability to feed on their hosts without being noticed.

Bedbug bites leave some adverse health effects which include skin rashes, allergies, and even psychological effects.

For thousands of years, bedbugs are here, living as human parasites. In the early1940s, the developed world managed to eradicate it, but its numbers have increased since 1995 due to pesticide resistance.

As the human population kept increasing, bed bug bites and related conditions have also improved. [2]

Bedbugs are fast and difficult to catch or see and most of the chemicals or pest control sprays don’t work on them.

Another crazy fact, bedbugs can live without food for over a year!

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How Do Bed Bugs Get Inside Your House or Mattress?

Bedbugs enter your house through luggage, clothing, travel bags, or anything new which is added to your house. Once inside your house, they can multiply at a fast rate, and soon very dark and warm nook and cranny of your home is filled with them.

They don’t have nests, but they do stay in groups and someplace where they can easily attack their prey and can quickly hide if needed.

Mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards are places where they have easy access to people.

Bedbugs feed on blood. So having them in your house does not necessarily mean that your home is dirty. They can be found in clean places, like hotels, as well.

Once they have spread cleaning can be difficult, and in those times only pest control can help. [3]

Signs and Symptoms of Bed Bugs Manifestation

Identifying the bed bugs bites is vital.

Some signs of bed bugs include:

  • Bloodstains in bedding
  • Dark excrement on bed sheets and mattresses
  • Eggshells, facial spots or skin sheds in areas near the bed
  • Unpleasant odor from bugs’ scent glands
  • Check the area around the bed, including books, carpets, and any dark areas [4]

11 Best Essential Oil Remedies for Bed Bugs Bites and as Repellent

1. Lavender oilLavender Oil

Lavender oil has healing and soothing properties.

It has a wonderful smell, and in Southern France, lavender oil has been used to keep insects like scorpions away.

The floral scent which attracts humans repels bed bugs. It is suitable for killing the bug eggs away as well.

The oil is very efficient in healing itchiness, swelling, and all kinds of bug bites. Its antibacterial properties prevent infections. For itching areas, a single drop of lavender oil is very relieving.

Sprinkling a few drops of oil around your bed will also keep the bugs away. Using the lavender oil after the elimination will also keep away further infestation.

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2. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is native to Australia. The aboriginals have used tea tree oil to treat health and skin-related issues, which include bed bugs.

The tea tree has high antimicrobial and antibacterial properties which kill bugs and their eggs. The strong smell disinfects and discourages pests.

Oil is a strong insect repellent and microbe killer which makes it perfect for bed bugs.
Sprinkle a couple of drops of tea tree oil into your laundry. It will help the clothes to smell fresh and keep bugs away.

Another way of getting rid of bugs is mixing tea tree oil with a few ounces of warm water, in a spray bottle. Sprinkling it over the potential places where bugs might be present, like carpets, rugs, and beds will force the bugs to run!

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3. Thyme OilThyme Oil

One of the most potent antioxidants is thyme oil.

Since ancient times, it has been used as a medicinal herb to treat skin from harmful bacteria, fungal infections, insect bites, and stings.

It has compelling insecticide qualities which help to repel, kill and prevent bed bugs infestation.

Thyme oil should be treated with care. Thyme oil is not safe for pregnant ladies and young children. It also protects the body from cuts and scars; and rashes.

To prevent pests like mosquitoes, fleas, lice, and bed bugs from creating havoc on your body add a few drops of thyme oil in your closet, kitchen, and bed. [5]

4. Frankincense Oil

According to some traditional stories, the three wise men (Magi) gave the infant King of Israel gifts of gold to honor his royalty, frankincense as a perfume, and myrrh for anointing oil. Frankincense was a precious gift that has potential medical remedies.

Frankincense oil has many beneficial uses. It supports the immune system, fights infection and cures disease; heals skin, and reduces scarring. It has a lovely aroma that will lift your mood, clear your mind and also protect you from the horrible bug bites.

A single drop of Frankincense essential oil is enough to calm the itch by bed bugs. Apply the oil to the inflamed area, and it will soothe the bite. [6]

5. Lemon Oil

Lemon essential oil has a rejuvenating smell. It has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties which makes it another great essential oil for bed bugs. Lemon essential oil kills bed bugs and also gives your home an invigorating fragrance.

Spray lemon oil, mixed with water, all-around your bed, your laundry, or anywhere in your house. And wait for the oil will to work like magic!

6. Lemongrass Oil

Another essential oil for bed bugs, which is rich in properties and compounds is lemongrass oil. Lemongrass oil can kill insects and also prevent their eggs from hatching.

It’s very strong aroma will soothe your senses.

Apply this highly acidic oil in areas where bugs might access and get rid of bed bugs forever.

Since it is highly acidic, do not apply it directly to the skin, and be careful while using it when children are around.

7. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus is a favorite essential oil because of its healing properties and energizing scent. It also has antiseptic properties which are very useful in killing the bugs and their eggs.

Spray a few drops of eucalyptus oil all over your mattress, in the surrounding areas, and bedroom to keep a bug-free environment.

Remember not to use eucalyptus oil on the skin for bed bug bites. It may have harsh effects on sensitive skin. [7]

8. Neem OilNeem Oil

Neem oil is prevalent in India, and for thousands of years, people have used it as a natural pesticide. The tree alone discourages the growth of mosquitoes and flies.

It indeed doesn’t have a pleasant aroma, but it is undoubtedly the most effective essential oil for bed bugs.

Neem oil can be extracted naturally by pressing the leaves. But it should not be used on the skin directly. A carrier oil or water must be used to dilute it before using it on the skin.

9. Citronella Oil

Citronella Oil is a wonderful essential oil for bed bugs. Bugs dislike Citronella oil, and many commercial bug repellents use this oil. Citronella has a lovely and fresh smell, but insects, mosquitoes, and flies cannot stand it.

Spray citronella oil all around your bed and mattress to keep bed bugs away.

Citronella oil is only for repelling bugs; do not use it on the skin for soothing bed bug bites. [8]

10. Clove OilClove-Oil

Clove Oil has an overpowering pungent smell, and it helps a lot in overpowering pests. It is also acidic and contains a compound called eugenol, which is toxic for bed bugs.

Spray all the dark corners where bed bugs could be breeding and multiplying, and the clove oil will kill them. It has a potent smell so tolerating the scent could be difficult if too much of it is sprayed. So be careful while spraying it.

11. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is famous for its antimicrobial and insect-repelling properties.

Its fresh aroma is irritating to all types of organisms like spiders, rats, roaches, ants, and bed bugs.

This oil can keep all other insects away from your home.

Peppermint oil can be used with other essential oils to keep bed bugs away.

Keeping cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil or spraying it all around the kitchen and other rooms keeps the rooms bug free.

However, it is a potent oil and should not be used directly. Mixing peppermint oil with other essential oils like almond can help prevent mosquito and bed bug bites.

Be cautious while using peppermint oil in children’s bedrooms.

READ NEXT: 12 Health Benefits of Peppermint Oil + (How to Use It)

Easy Homemade Bed Bugs Repellent Spray Recipe 

The oils in the list work entirely on their own, but some essential oil, when blended, works even better!

Recipe 1:

Things you will need:

  • Lavender oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Citronella oil


Mix ten drops of lavender oil with three drops of peppermint oil and five drops of citronella oil and soak cotton balls in them. Then place the soaked cotton balls all over the bedroom.

Recipe 2:

Things you will need:

  • Thyme oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Lemongrass oil


Mix four drops of thyme, lavender, and peppermint oil, along with eight drops of lemongrass oil, and dip cotton wool in the mixture. Place the cotton wool all around the bed. The strong smell of the mixture will repel the bugs.

How Can You Prevent Bed Bugs?

It is possible to prevent the infestation of bedbugs in your house naturally and also cheaply.

Wash all your travel bags, bed sheets, pillows, and pillow covers in hot water. Washing in hot water will kill all sorts of germs and pests in and around your bed.

Regularly clean your house, and if possible use a vacuum cleaner. By cleaning it regularly, the parasites will not have an opportunity to breed.

Open your room to more sunlight. Enough sunlight and airflow can reduce moisture to prevent bugs and mites from nesting.

And lastly essential oils, are the natural, safe and efficient way to kill this nasty insect.

Essential oils do not have any side effects; they won’t spoil your bedsheet!

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Bottom Line

Don’t be surprised if you see people throwing away their mattresses because the mattress is probably filled with small oval blood-sucking bed bugs.

Instead of buying chemicals from stores try using these essential oils for bed bugs.

Using these natural bed bug repellents can be an excellent way of maintaining the equilibrium between nature and ourselves.

These have no harmful effect on our environment, and you will get the best results without any adverse impacts.

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