Do essential oils repel termites?

Dave Campbell

Did you know that termites are evolved from cockroaches, and are considered quite organised and social animals (kind of like ants)? Did you also know that in some parts of the world termites are a food source? You can find these insects on every continent except Antarctica of course, no one wants to colonise Antarctica – not even termite kings or ant Queens.

Termites are what is known as detritivores, meaning that they are basically like the scavengers – they feast on dead plants at any level of decomposition. They recycle dead material like faeces, wood, and plants. Termites are not easy to detect until they’ve caused quite significant damage to property (mostly wood) and by then, some serious action would need to be taken.

There are thousands of species of termites and not all of them are pests really and not all of them can be found in a particular region at a given time. One of the most problematic of all the species accounting for the majority of the damage to property is the subterranean termites. The subterranean termites are the main focus of this post and many of what is mentioned here are directed towards them. Here, we take you through some natural and “chemical-free” steps to take in order to get rid of them.

What scent do they hate?

There are quite a few oils which have been proven to repel and even kill termites. A lot of these oils are found in plants and thus, can be added to a garden to repel the termites away from your whole home, to begin with. It is not exactly clear what is it about these essential oils that repel and kill at termites, but one hypothesis could be related somehow to the smell of these essential oils. Below we nitpick on an essential oil or two as means of pest control and then later discuss other alternatives.

Will oil get rid of them?

Vetiver oil is known as by far one of the most effective termite repellent oils there are. Vetiver oil is made from grass that is native to the region around India. This old competes with Cinnamon oil and actually beats. Cinnamon oil isn’t as effective at repelling termites. Other essential oils which are good at repelling and/or killing termites are tea tree oil, clove bud oil, orange oil, cedarwood oil and garlic oils. What’s really cool is that some of these, like garlic oils and orange oil, can easily be made at home.

Others like tree oil, tea tree oil can be purchased. Clove bud and garlic oils are the two oils which are known to be the most effective at killing termites. Some other sources argue that orange oil is the most effective at killing termites.

The oil can be coated on the termite food source like wood or sprayed directly onto the termites – they may just kill each termite since most essential oils are known to have neurotoxic effects on insects. So yes, oil does kill termites. It zaps its brain.

Is lavender oil a good repellant?

It turns out that many termite removal sprays contain lavender oil as an ingredient. Lavender oil smells really good and is known to kill termites on contact – it is quite an effective and safe essential oil to use for pest control purposes, any termite doesn’t stand a chance against this effective tool – a force of nature to be reckoned with.

Other home remedies


Vinegar! Mixing vinegar with some lemon juice and water in a spray bottle and applying the spray to the termites will kill them a lethal force to a pesky problem using just what you already have in your home. Wet cardboard can also be used to lure termites since they’ll readily feast on this and as they come, you can dispose of this by burning it.

Coffee grounds

It has been claimed by several gardeners that placing coffee grounds around places where termites and other insects enter may act as an effective repellant against these critters. Other than coffee, another really good smell planting that is easy to grow that’ll work just as well is mint. You can use coffee in your mulch bed where you planted these and in areas where you haven’t to protect your garden and even your home.

Using plants

Plants which have been found to be effective against termites are vetiver grass and catnip where catnip can be used as an effective deterrent for tunnelling and building little homes for termites. It is not yet been established if forming a wall (a deterrence defence perimeter) of these plants will be effective, but there’s no harm in giving it a shot and sharing your results with the rest of us on the internet.

Dave Campbell

I'm Dave Campbell and the owner of You can read more about me and my background on my About Me page.

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