Does Peppermint Oil Repel or Kill Bed Bugs? (Interesting Answer…)

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Are you considering the use of peppermint oil to kill or repel bed bugs?

Perfect, you’re in the right place!

In this Pest Strategies guide, we’ll explore:

  • How peppermint oil affects bed bugs
  • If peppermint oil repels bed bugs
  • If peppermint oil can actually kill bed bugs
  • And some other facts to be aware of!

Ready to analyze this potent essential oil for bed bug problems? Great, let’s jump into it!

Reviewed By:
Ed Spicer

Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!

Table of Contents

    How Does Peppermint Oil Affect Bed Bugs?

    Peppermint is a special type of essential oil widely used by us humans in various purposes. It is used to add  flavor in various cooking recipes, to enhance fragrance in soaps, and as a primary component in aromatherapy.

    Like most essential oils, peppermint is often used as a safer alternative in driving away a variety of household pests such as bed bugs, cockroaches, and ants.

    Since peppermint essential oil has a high menthol content, inhaling or topical application delivers a cooling sensation. It is also mixed with other essential oils to be used on warm baths for relief on muscle stiffness.

    However, peppermint oil must be properly diluted with carrier oil or with a different type of vehicle. Otherwise, its use can cause adverse effects such as skin and eye irritations as well as burns.

    When used on bed bugs, peppermint oil can kill and repel the said insects. Its strong scent because of its high menthol content effectively repels bed bugs.

    When applied directly, a burning sensation on human skin is equivalent to a painful death on bed bugs. Simply put, peppermint oil can be used as a contact insecticide to kill bed bugs.

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    Does Peppermint Oil Repel Bed Bugs?

    Bed bugs are somewhat allergic to essential oils, not just peppermint. In short, they hate these natural essences.

    Peppermint in particular has a strong scent bed bugs can’t take. Spraying an ample amount of diluted peppermint around your bedframe or mattress can help keep bed bugs at bay while you’re enjoying your well deserved sleep.

    Read Also: What’re the top mattress covers for bed bugs?

    However, such solution is a temporary or short-term remedy since it will still be easy for these annoying critters to find their way back to you once the scent has dissipated.

    The following video is an experiment showing the general effect of essential oil on insects:

    How Does Peppermint Oil Affect Bed Bugs?

    When used on bed bugs, peppermint oil can kill and repel the said insects. Its strong scent because of its high menthol content effectively repels bed bugs.

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    Does Peppermint Oil Actually Kill Bed Bugs?


    Although peppermint is more popular as a repellent, this cool essential oil is also powerful enough to kill bed bugs. However, the catch is that it has to be sprayed directly on bed bugs to get the results you need.

    In other words, peppermint is a natural contact insecticide. Bed bugs, at a later time, can freely walk over surfaces sprayed with peppermint without being harmed.

    What Else Should You Consider Besides Peppermint Oil For Bed Bugs?

    As reveled in the early part of the guide, peppermint is an effective bed bug killer and repellent. However, it is not recommended as a stand alone solution against bed bugs.

    Here are some other remedies that you can work out with alongside peppermint oil:

    Diatomaceous earth

    DE is a very popular choice as a non-chemical and safer alternative for chemical based bed bug insecticides. Its sand-like grains are mostly made of silica which is highly abrasive.

    Moreover, diatomaceous earth is mostly safe to use around pets and children apart from it being inexpensive. Sprinkle an ample amount of DE around your bed, inside gaps along baseboards, on window sills, nearby furniture, and any possible area bed bugs may hide.

    Read More: Click here to learn about the safety implications of diatomaceous earth.

    Silica gel

    If you are running short on diatomaceous earth, you can remedy it by improvising with silica gel. These are the little packets that come inside bottles or packages of various products to inhibit the growth of mold and reduce chances of spoilage.

    Simply grind silica gel to powder form and sprinkle it over affected areas. Silica gel acts like diatomaceous earth which is to damage that protective layer on the bed bug’s skin leading to dehydration. This process of drying out their exoskeleton is called “desiccation”.

    Read Also: What are the best powders to kill bed bugs?

    Hot water wash

    Seal all affected pillow encasement, mattress covers, clothes, and curtains in a plastic bag. Take it directly to your laundry machine and wash it with hot water at highest temperature setting.

    Hot water wash is an effective way of cleaning your laundry and in killing bed bugs at the same time.

    Vacuum and steam cleaning

    Your bed bug control solution will never be complete without vacuum and steam cleaning. With a powerful vacuum cleaner and a crevice tool attachment, sniff though all corners, cracks, and crevices on your mattress, bedframe, nearby furniture, cabinets, and walls inside your bedroom.

    Read Also: What’re the best steamers and vacuums for bed bug problems?

    Follow through with steam cleaning which is highly effective in killing adult bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs almost instantly. A powerful steam cleaner can penetrate through thick surfaces and can be very effective by up to 3/4 of an inch deep.

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