Does Lavender Kill Bed Bugs?: Essential Oils

I am sitting here in my rented property – and I am at loss of what to do that’ll clear this bed bug infestation. Does Lavender Kill Bed Bugs? I moved into the house 8 months ago!

But, my son and I have had a nightmare with bed bugs bites – these red irritated and itchy bumps. 

There are many exaggerated claims, out there, on ability of lavender and other essential oils for household & medicinal uses. But, does lavender Kill Bed Bugs (check pictures)

The simple answer is, No, Lavender won’t kill bed bugs – but the bugs don;t like its smell. So, mixing lavender oil with rubbing alcohol (91% proof) will repel or deter the blood suckers. 

Lavender won’t be a great long term treatment but will keep the bites to a minimum!!! Side Note: Also, bed bugs hate cedar oil, bleach, vinegar, and tea tree

Does Lavender Kill Bed Bugs?

No major scientific research points to effectiveness of lavender in killing bed bugs. In addition, this entomology case study points that essential oils including lavender aren’t as effective as bed bug sprays

This doesn’t mean that all essential oils wont kill bed bugs. In fact, a Recent Rutgers University study reported that an insecticide made from cedar and geranium oil kill bed bug in a quarter of the treated houses. 

What about real lavender? Well, real lavender will actually repel bed bugs but won’t be as effective as lavender spray. Lavender proven to poison pets and animals causing vomiting and nausea. 

However, bed bugs will wittingly move around the real lavender and thus they won’t get to ingest it – remember bed bugs are only about 1/4 inch in body size.

How Does Lavender Repel Bed Bugs? 

However, for lavender, bed bugs will mainly react to its harsh smell as opposed to its being toxic to their body. Naturally, bed bugs will escape from any unique smell – as a defense mechanism. 

For example, these bloodsuckers will escape when they small a new body scent, pesticides, or desiccant dust. Thus, lavender would only be effective if you spray all the house areas – this is impossible. 

But is it just the smell? Well, no, Lavender can be toxic to the bed bug’s skin and body. However, bed bugs would need to ingest the Lavender oil for the poison to work. 

Definitely, bed bugs will escape before they get to ingest Lavender – they’ll simply hide and re-emerge as a larger colony. Lavender will poison you kids, pets, and even adult humans. 

In addition, applying Lavender on your skin may cause hives, rashes, or other severe skin reactions for both humans and your lovely pets – so avoid any direct skin contact. 

Will Lavender Scented Candles Kill Bed Bugs? 

Definitely, the lavender scented candles will generate the scent that’s hatred by bed bugs. But, can this lavender smell from candles kill bed bugs? Will it get into crevices and cracks.

Sadly, just like the regular lavender, smell from candles won’t kill these blood suckers. In addition, the smell won’t distribute into the whole house to fully repel the bugs. 

The Smell from the candles is low concentrated compared to essential oils. Hence, it won’t repel bed bugs fully or cause allergy on humans – even when inhaled. 

Sadly, the lavender small reach into the crevices and cracks, or the mattress folds and electrical outlets – which are the deep areas that bed bugs hide. 

Does Lavender Powder Kill Bed Bugs?

Next, we consider lavender powder – simply this is a powder of the real lavender powered that’s dried and then pounded. Its also available commercially in different stores. 

However, equally like the candles, lavender powder will just repel the bloodsuckers but will not kill bed bugs like diatomaceous earth – DE will suck the insects body fluids. 

Therefore, lavender powder – despite being highly concentrated, won’t kill bed bugs because they won’t get to ingest it. However, lavender powder would work for longer in repelling bed bugs since it’ll stick on different surfaces. 

Does Lavender Dryer Sheets to Kill Bed Bugs?

Simply put, lavender dryer sheets won’t work to kill bed bugs! Sadly so but that’s the fact just like it is with lavender sprays or powders. However, lavender dryer sheets will only repel the bed bugs.

In short, the dryer sheets are only sheets passed through a dryer and have a nice scent of your fabrics or clothes. But simply, this won’t kill the blood sucking bed bugs.

Interestingly, the producers of these Lavender might not also be using the real Lavender – explains why the products will only repel the bed bugs and not kill them. Practically, you’ll not cover all the surfaces of your house.


  1. Rutgers Study – Home Treatments for Bed Bugs

Recent Content