What Smells Do Bed Bugs Hate?

Bed bugs are pesky parasites that hide in bedding, carpets, and fabrics. They suck blood and can survive up to one year without food. These pests can be hard to spot due to their flat bodies and small size.

So, many people look for ways to fend off bed bugs without the use of dangerous pesticides or chemicals. This guide will explain what smells bed bugs hate, so you can control them without exposing your family or pets to hazardous substances.


What Smells Do Bed Bugs Dislike?

Bed bugs are an intruder no one wants. Bed Bugs can live in hotel, car, carpet any many places, also they can cause lots of issues. Fortunately, there are smells they don’t like. Avoiding them can help keep the bugs away. Here are some of those smells:



Citrus fruits and oils, like lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit, have a strong aroma that can repel bed bugs. The rinds and skins of oranges, lemons, and grapefruits can also help. Plus, the juice from these fruits can kill bed bug larvae!

As a preventative measure, citrus peels or essential oils should be placed near surfaces, but not on them. Also, citrus scent can be put in the laundry. Or, concentrated forms like sprays and oils can be used if applied strategically. However, extra safety measures should be taken – acidic products may be dangerous for kids and pets if not diluted correctly.



Bed bugs are drawn to warm homes with potential hiding spots and hosts that offer a food source. But, this doesn’t suggest that natural deterrents don’t work. There are a few scents that bed bugs seem to be repelled by or find unpleasant, such as certain plants and oils like peppermint.

The compound present in this plant-based oil is called menthol. It has antiseptic and antifungal qualities. For many years, this oil has been used as an insect repellent, especially for mosquitoes and more recently for pests like bed bugs.

The active ingredient in peppermint also acts as an irritant. Thus, when bugs come into contact with it, they experience discomfort, and this can act as a repellant. The smell of this oil can also mask human smells, providing extra protection from bug invasions.

It may not have a long-term effect in eliminating a bug problem permanently. Yet, some studies claim that it could sort out infestations. Therefore, if you have seen signs of a bed bug invasion, you can try:

  • Mixing 5-9 drops of peppermint essential oil per 1 cup of water and spray in affected areas.
  • Do research beforehand as using certain oils on fabrics or varnished surfaces could cause discoloration or damage over time.
  • Find more detailed directions on how to use peppermint oil against bedbugs on various websites and pest control forums.

Good luck!



Lavender is an essential oil that studies have discovered repels bed bugs. With its sweet, floral smell, it has been linked to relaxation. Thus, lavender can help you sleep and also protect you from bed bugs.

Lavender soap, clothes and other scented products can help deter bed bugs in your home. Research suggests lavender’s aroma keeps bed bugs away as certain compounds in the oil disrupt their communication with their brains. This prevents them from finding food sources.



Eucalyptus is an evergreen tree found all around the world—Australia, Indonesia, and more. Its leaves, extract, and fragrant odor have been used medicinally, as perfume, and to deter bugs. Studies suggest that Eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptol) can be used to repel bed bugs. This is why eucalyptol concentrations of only 0.06% are often recommended for getting rid of bed bugs.

Eucalyptus-based repellents have become popular recently as they are safe for humans and animals. Research indicates that essential oils from eucalyptus can be effective against certain insect species when applied. So, those looking for natural bug repellents turn to eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree oil.


Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) is popular for being a natural bed bug repellent. It has a pungent smell, and is a colorless to pale yellow essential oil made from Australian leaves. The active ingredient in it is terpinen-4-ol, which makes up nearly half of the oil.

It has been used for years to treat skin problems like acne, dandruff and athlete’s foot, and also to repel fleas, lice and mosquitoes. It works as a repellent, driving the bed bugs away, instead of killing them.

However, using tea tree oil to control bed bugs may not always be successful. It is important to use stronger mixes and follow expert guidelines to ensure the best results without causing any harm.



Thyme is a centuries-old herb. It is used in traditional medicines and as a cooking ingredient. It is also a smell that bed bugs detest.

Bed bugs do not like strong scents of essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, tea tree and thyme. These smells disrupt bed bug communication signals and make their environment harder to survive in. Thyme oil is especially bad for bed bugs. It can kill them or force them away from infested areas.

To get rid of bed bugs with thyme oil, here are a few tips:

  • Heat the oil until it diffuses around the home.
  • Attach a wick so drops fall on hard-to-reach areas.
  • Mix thyme oil with other essential oils and spray all hidden surfaces where bed bugs may be.

Concentration levels matter for the efficacy of any blend. High levels can cause respiratory issues. But when used properly, this natural method can provide relief from bed bugs.


How to Use Smells to Repel Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are an absolute nuisance! But luckily, certain natural smells drive them away. In this article, we’ll explore which smells bed bugs hate, why they hate them, and how to use them to keep your home bed bug-free. Let’s get started!


Make an Essential Oil Spray

Essential oil sprays are an easy and effective way to repel bed bugs. Oils are from plants, and have different properties – like strong odors that can repel them. Common oils used are: cinnamon, lavender, eucalyptus, cedarwood and peppermint. Some people also use lemongrass and tea tree oil.

Create a mixture of these oils and water in a spray bottle. Spritz lightly onto furniture and floors – don’t saturate. Mist around edges and places that you noticed an infestation before.

Note: Essential oils may not work against stubborn or resistant bedbugs, so it’s best to talk to a pest control professional if you have questions or need help.


Use Scented Candles

Scented candles are a great way to repel bed bugs. They mask the human scent, replacing it with a more pleasant aroma. Citrus, lavender, peppermint, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus scents work best. Place candles near places where you relax or sleep, like your bedroom and living room.

No single repelling agent works 100%. Keeping your home clean and clutter-free is key for good bed bug protection.


Place Dried Herbs in Drawers and Cupboards

Dried herbs are great for keeping bed bugs away! Lavender, mint, bay leaves, and eucalyptus all have strong smells that repel them. Place these herbs in drawers or cupboards. Change them out every few weeks, as their aroma will fade. For extra protection, sprinkle freshly dried, powdered herbs on carpets and mattresses.

Citrus fruits wrapped in cheesecloth near the infested areas can also help. To block entry points, place dried sage near windowsills or doorways.


Use Scented Drawer Liners

Scented drawer liners are a great way to keep bed bugs away! The strong fragrances overpower their smell and prevent infestation in your home. However, this method only works in drawers or other enclosed spaces. You can find lots of scented liners, such as floral or citrus scents. Some brands even have essential oil infusions that make it more effective.

To use scented drawer liners, follow these steps:

  1. Spread the liner evenly across each drawer.
  2. Replace every few months to keep it strong.
  3. Dispose of any used liners properly, to avoid any eggs or larvae remaining and causing more infestation.


Use Scented Mattress Covers

Those who don’t want to send their mattress for professional treatment, can opt for scented mattress covers. This can be a great way to repel bed bugs.

Mattress covers offer extra protection against infestations. Plus, pungent scents have been proved to work in this regard.

  • Cedar is the most popular scent for keeping bed bugs away. But, lavender, lemon and peppermint oils can also do the job. These smells won’t just help repel bed bugs, but also make your bedroom smell nice. Bed bugs usually don’t like these odors and avoid them. Cedar is ideal for this because of its organic properties- it helps ward off not only bed bugs, but other pests too.

These scented mattress covers cannot solve an ongoing infestation. However, they can reduce the number of bed bugs if used regularly on areas like beds, sofas, and armchairs. The covers should be washed every two weeks and replaced with new ones to guarantee effectiveness.



All in all, smells can help to keep away bed bugs. Scents like lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree oil can ward them off. However, this isn’t a guaranteed method. The only way to get rid of an infestation is to call an exterminator. Be careful when using scents though; they can be irritating.

To further protect your home, keep it clean, use zippered mattress covers, remove clutter and open windows where you can.


Frequently Asked Questions

What smells do bed bugs hate?

Bed bugs hate the smell of certain essential oils, such as lavender, eucalyptus, cedar, peppermint, and rosemary.

How can I use essential oils to get rid of bed bugs?

You can make a natural bed bug repellent by mixing essential oils with water and spraying it around your home. You can also use a diffuser to disperse the oils throughout the air.

Is it safe to use essential oils for bed bug control?

Yes, essential oils are safe to use for bed bug control as long as they are used in the correct concentrations. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product’s label.