Does Catnip Oil work for Bed Bugs?

catnip oil to kill and repel bed bugs

In this article, we will answer the question: Does catnip oil work for bed bugs?
Bed bugs, those tiny, elusive creatures that can turn our peaceful sleep into a nightmare, have become a growing concern in recent years. Dealing with an infestation can be stressful, and many people are searching for natural alternatives to combat these unwelcome pests. One intriguing option that has gained attention is catnip oil.

Derived from the catnip plant, this essential oil possesses properties that may repel these insects. In this article, we delve into the fascinating world of bed bugs and explore the potential of catnip essential oil as a natural solution to ward off these resilient insects.

What is Catnip Oil?

Catnip oil, scientifically known as Nepeta cataria, is an essential oil derived from the catnip plant. The catnip plant, a member of the mint family, is native to Europe but is now widely cultivated worldwide. The process of steam distillation extracts the essential oil from the plant’s leaves and stems.

Catnip oil possesses strong aromatic properties and finds common use in aromatherapy, herbal remedies, and as a natural insect repellent. It contains various chemical compounds, including nepetalactone, which gives it its distinctive scent and has insect-repellent properties.

In addition to repelling insects like mosquitoes and flies, catnip essential oil is also known for its ability to calm cats. The scent of catnip attracts many cats, causing them to exhibit playful or relaxed behavior when exposed to it. However, the effects of catnip oil on humans are generally more focused on its insect repellent properties rather than its effect on mood or behavior.

It’s important to note that you should use catnip oil with caution and in proper dilution, as it can be potent. As with any essential oil, we recommend consulting a knowledgeable aromatherapist or healthcare professional for guidance on its safe and effective use.


Does Catnip Oil work for Bed Bugs?

Catnip oil has been studied for its potential as a natural insect repellent, including its effectiveness against bed bugs. The active compound in catnip essential oil, nepetalactone, has shown some repellent properties against these pests in laboratory tests and small-scale studies. (source)

You could also try frankincense oil as a natural bed bug repellent! Discover its effectiveness in repelling bed bugs in our article on Frankincense Oil and Bed Bugs.


How does Catnip Oil repel Bed Bugs?

Catnip oil repels bed bugs primarily due to the presence of a compound called nepetalactone. Nepetalactone acts as a natural insect repellent and has been found to have a strong effect on them.

When they come into contact with catnip essential oil or its active compounds, particularly nepetalactone, it disrupts their sensory receptors and interferes with their ability to locate hosts and navigate their surroundings. This sensory confusion can deter them from approaching treated areas or make them more likely to move away from them.

Nepetalactone is believed to affect their olfactory receptors. Which makes it difficult for them to detect the presence of potential hosts, including humans. This disruption in their ability to locate a blood meal can discourage bed bugs from infesting or remaining in treated areas.

How to use Catnip Oil for Bed Bugs

Here is how you can make a DIY spray for bed bugs using catnip oil:

  • Dilution: Mix 5-10 drops of catnip essential oil with an ounce of water in a spray bottle. Shake well to ensure proper dispersion.
  • Application to infested surfaces: Spray the diluted catnip oil solution on surfaces where they are likely to hide or travel, such as mattress seams, bed frames, cracks, and crevices. Pay extra attention to areas near the bed and surrounding furniture.
  • Targeted spraying: Direct the spray nozzle towards areas with visible signs of bed bug activity or harborage, such as clusters of eggs, fecal stains, or shed skins. Aim to create a fine mist that evenly coats the surfaces.
  • Repeat applications: Reapply the catnip oil solution every few days or as needed to maintain its repellent effects. Regularly inspect the treated areas and reapply if signs of bed bug activity persist.
  • Additional precautions: Consider combining catnip oil with other natural repellents, such as lavender or peppermint oil, for enhanced effectiveness. Keep in mind that individual responses to essential oils may vary. So, it’s important to test a small area for any adverse reactions before widespread application.


Are there any studies supporting the effectiveness of Catnip Oil against Bed Bugs?

Yes, there have been some studies and research conducted on the effectiveness of catnip oil against bed bugs. Here are a few examples:

A study published in the journal “Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata” in 2011 found that catnip oil, specifically its active compound nepetalactone, showed significant repellent effects against bed bugs. The study concluded that catnip essential oil has potential as a natural repellent for pest control.

Another study published in the journal “Pest Management Science” in 2013 evaluated the repellency of catnip oil and its components against these insects. The researchers found that both catnip oil and its major constituent, nepetalactone, demonstrated strong repellent effects. So, it could be used as an alternative to synthetic insecticides.

Additionally, a study published in the journal “Journal of Economic Entomology” in 2014 compared the repellency of various essential oils against these pests. Catnip oil was among the oils tested, and it exhibited repellent properties, although its effectiveness varied between individual bed bugs.


Are there any specific methods for using aromatherapy against Bed Bugs?

Aromatherapy can be used as a complementary measure to help repel or deter these insects. Here are some specific methods for using aromatherapy against bed bugs:

  • Essential oil diffusion: Use an essential oil diffuser to disperse bed bug-repellent essential oils throughout the infested area or the room. This can help create an environment that is less attractive to bed bugs. Some recommended essential oils for bed bug control include lavender, peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus, and lemongrass.
  • Sachets or cotton balls: Soak cotton balls or small fabric sachets with bed bug-repellent essential oils. Place them in drawers, closets, or other areas where they may be hiding. The scent released from the sachets or cotton balls can help repel them.
  • Sprays: Create a homemade spray by diluting bed bug-repellent essential oils with water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist bedding, mattresses, and furniture upholstery with the solution.
  • Vacuuming with essential oils: Add a few drops of bed bug-repellent essential oils to a vacuum cleaner bag or filter. As you vacuum infested areas, the scent released by the essential oils can help deter them.
  • Direct application: Apply a diluted solution of bed bug-repellent essential oils directly to cracks, crevices, or other areas where they are hiding. To prevent any negative effects, exercise caution and adhere to appropriate dilution guidelines.


Lavender oil is a popular choice for repelling bed bugs. For more information on this essential oil and its effectiveness against these pests. You can check our article on Lavender oil and Bed bugs.


How do herbs work against Bed Bugs?

In this article, we answer the question: Does catnip oil work for bed bugs? But do herbs also help fight these insects? Herbs can work against these pests in several ways, primarily through their natural compounds and scents.

Here’s how herbs can help combat bed bugs:

  • Repellent properties: Certain herbs possess natural compounds that have repellent effects on bed bugs. When these herbs are present in the environment, their scent can deter them from approaching or settling in treated areas. Examples of herbs with known repellent properties against these pests include lavender, peppermint, rosemary, and thyme.
  • Disruption of sensory receptors: The active compounds found in some herbs can interfere with the sensory receptors of bed bugs, affecting their ability to locate hosts, navigate their environment, or detect potential food sources. This disruption can confuse and discourage them from infesting or remaining in treated areas.
  • Toxic effects: Some herbs may contain natural compounds that have toxic or insecticidal properties. When they come into contact with or ingest these compounds, it can lead to physiological disruptions or even death. However, it’s important to note that the toxic effects of herbs on these pests are generally less potent compared to synthetic insecticides.
  • Environmental modification: Growing certain herbs or placing herb sachets in infested areas can create an environment that is less favorable for bed bugs. Indeed, herbs like catnip, thyme, and lavender may have the ability to repel them or make the area less attractive by altering the scent or physical conditions.


Can herbs be used to prevent Bed Bug infestations?

While herbs have some repellent properties against bed bugs, they are not reliable as standalone preventive measures. They can easily hitchhike on items, making it challenging to rely solely on herbs for prevention.

However, incorporating herbs, such as lavender or thyme, in sachets or sprays, along with regular cleaning and vigilance, can complement other preventive measures against these pests.



In this article, we answered the question: Does catnip oil work for bed bugs?
In the battle against bed bugs, exploring natural alternatives is crucial for effective and eco-friendly solutions. Catnip essential oil has emerged as an intriguing option with its potential to repel these persistent pests.

While further research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness, catnip oil holds promise as a natural ally in our fight against these bloodsuckers.

By incorporating catnip oil into our arsenal of pest control methods, we can take steps towards reclaiming our sleep and peace of mind from these annoying insects.