Essential oils are made from plants and are normally derived from flowers and leaves, roots and stems. They are extracted from these plants by various methods, which take all of the essential properties from within the plant. What is left is a highly concentrated form of the natural chemical properties that was originally in the plant.
When essential oils are extracted from plants that have a natural insecticide quality, they tend to have a higher concentration of the chemicals of insecticide.
You will need to take extra precautions when using because of the extra strength qualities.
Common Misconceptions about Essential Oils
Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions concerning essential oils is that since they are derived from plants, they are always safe for both humans and animals. In most cases, they not toxic if diluted properly. However, some pure essential oils are normally highly concentrated and can be highly toxic.
When using essential oils that contain a natural insecticide, it is important to dilute them. Normally to make a spray, you should use 1/4 teaspoon of essential oil and dilute it by approximately 1 cup of water and 1 cup of witch hazel. When using natural insecticide oils because of their highly concentrated form is very important to remember that less is more.
If you are buying a commercially prepared insecticide, even one that is considered natural, it is important to carefully read all of the ingredients on the labels.
Use Essential Oils to Make Your Own Natural Insecticides
Often times you’ll find synthetic insecticides mixed in with natural insecticides. One of the only ways to ensure that you are using a completely natural insecticide is to prepare your own. You can control the type and amount of ingredients you want to mix.
Many natural insecticides can be very toxic especially in high doses, and you should use caution when working with pyrethums, nicotine, and rotenone. Granted these are all derived from natural sources, but due to their natural insecticide qualities that are very strong, they can be harmful and should be used sparingly, if they can even be found. Normally these natural insecticide oils are not available to the general public due to their toxicity.
Essential Oils that Are Most Effective as Natural Insecticides
Some of the most common natural insecticides that are available in essential oil form that can be beneficial around your home and garden, are:
- Catnip Oil
- Citrus Oil
- Neem Oil
Catnip oil can be diluted into a spray and used around your home as a deterrent for mosquitoes. It can also be added to homemade insect repellent but be cautious since it can be a skin irritant to people with sensitive skin and is not recommended for use on children. It makes your cats really happy too!
Citrus oils are known to kill fleas and repel other types of insects. These oils can be diluted and sprayed on your carpeting and furniture. You can also dilute these oils even further and use them as a final rinse on dogs after baths. Do not use citrus oils on cats because it is toxic to them.
Neem Oil has a natural insecticide quality and is also found in many head lice treatments. It can also be diluted and used in your organic garden.
In general, any essential oil made from a plant with natural insecticide qualities can be used in and around your home and yard, provided you take precautions with their highly concentrated form and dilute them appropriately.