How Cedarwood Oil Kills Bugs

Cedarcide blog post image, How Cedarwood Oil Kills Bugs

In case our name didn’t give it away, cedarwood oil is the driving force behind our pest control products here at Cedarcide. So naturally, the obvious question is: How does it work? How does cedarwood oil (aka cedar oil) kill bugs? While the answer can get a bit technical, there are 6 basic ways cedarwood oil works to kill and repel pests like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, ants, mites and more. Here’s a simple outline of each one.


Most bugs are extremely sensitive to moisture loss, which is bad news for bugs that come into contact with cedarwood oil. Cedarwood oil is extremely effective at leaching moisture from insects and other bugs, leaving them dried out and eventually dead.


It Disrupts Their Pheromones

Pheromones are chemicals that many bugs use for navigation, mating, searching for food, as well as to regulate bodily functions. Cedarwood oil disrupts these pheromones which not only disorients the insects but interferes with their fundamental bodily processes like breathing. The disorientation helps repel insects and other bugs, the interference with their bodily mechanisms kills them.


It Dissolves Them

Insects in earlier life stages—eggs, larvae, pupae—are extremely vulnerable, so vulnerable in fact that cedarwood oil can dissolve them on contact. In adult insects, arachnids and other bugs, cedarwood oil helps dissolve their exoskeleton. This allows the essential oil to penetrate their shell, hastening the oil’s pest control effects.


Emulsificationor the breakdown of fat particles, is another way that cedarwood oil works to control bugs. Like many organisms, bugs require fat to live. By helping disintegrate this fat into smaller, more fluid parts, cedarwood oil attacks bugs from the inside out.



As mentioned above, cedarwood oil can interfere with bugs’ capacity to breathe. Unlike mammals, bugs breathe through openings located on the surface of their bodies. When faced with the lethal effects of cedarwood oil, bugs attempt to limit their exposure by closing these openings, which prevents them from breathing. In other words, the bugs suffocate themselves.

It Messes With Their Body Chemistry

Like most every living thing, bugs must maintain a specific chemical balance to stay alive. Any drastic changes in this balance can have deadly results. Cedarwood oil neutralizes the acidity within bugs’ bodies, effectively throwing this balance out of whack. As a result they cannot properly function, and shortly die.


Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!


  1. PamG on October 11, 2019 at 10:18 AM

    Sprayed Cedarcide along the bottom of my open window screen. Coming back later, I was shocked how many critters met their demise!

  2. David on September 15, 2019 at 10:47 AM

    I think your company and products are absolutely amazing. I am wondering about a couple of things: are you a public company? I have been investing in companies that are earth-friendly, and you seem like one. Also, what kind of cedar trees do you create your products from? Is it a sustainable practice? Again, I love your products, as they have changed how I take care of my yard and dog.

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on September 20, 2019 at 9:58 AM

      Hi, David! Thanks for the comment.

      We are not a public company. We are a small, family-owned business but if that changes we’ll be sure to let you know 🙂

      The trees we use for our products are called Juniperus ashei, and the practice is indeed sustainable, especially given that these trees are often considered weeds by many landowners

  3. Linda on August 22, 2019 at 9:15 AM

    My dogs will sometimes eat grass. Will spraying the grass with cedarcide be harmful to them?

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on August 22, 2019 at 11:37 AM

      Not at all! This is a non-toxic product, no need to worry 🙂

  4. Christine on August 18, 2019 at 8:29 AM

    I live in a house with a yard. I have 4 cats and two big dogs. I have been using your products for many yrs now. I do not give my animals any traditional products for fleas and ticks. I have in the past but finally took the plunge and decided to try for one full year with only using your products as well as some oils from a holistic vet for direct use on my dogs. I have no fleas or ticks in my yard my house or on my sweet pets. NO MORE POISON! No maquitos either! I love your products. Thank you! I also love your emails on so many helpful tips

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on August 22, 2019 at 12:05 PM

      Thanks so much for the positive words, Christine! It means the world to us! 🙂

    • Claire on August 26, 2019 at 10:30 AM

      This sounds great Christine. What other products/oils do you use?

  5. Trish Sill on August 16, 2019 at 9:09 AM

    Will cedarcide be effective against scorpions? We live in the Arizona desert and have problems with them in our home!

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on August 22, 2019 at 12:06 PM

      It sure will! I’d suggest PCO Choice for outdoor and Cedarcide Original for indoor.

  6. Kevin on August 8, 2019 at 9:05 PM

    How would this product, used in conjunction with your fogger, work on Indian Meal Moths specifically? Have there been any tests done in order to prove that it works if you say it does?

    I am not sure if you are familiar with Indian Meal Moths, but when they are in their larva stage, they hare highly destructive, chewing through plastic bags, like cereal, in order to feed and then pupate into the moth. While they are in larva stage, they look for tight place, like the inside of a jar lid that is still sealed, for example, and wedge themselves between the inside of the lid and outside of the jar. Thus, a spray wouldn’t work as effectively as a fogger I do not believe. Would this product leave a residual that would still kill an larvae crawling around before it can become a moth to lay more eggs, or would is still have to come in direct direct, like with a sprayer? As these creatures are very elusive and VERY difficult to find, spraying them directly just is not feasible in order to eradicate the problem.

    If it doesn’t work, that is fine, just found your product on Amazon and thought I would come over and at least ask the question since it does say Cedarwood oil would kill in the pupae and larval stages.

    Thank you.

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on August 22, 2019 at 12:21 PM

      Hi, Kevin!

      We do not have testing for these pests in particular, however our products work great against moths in general. You’re right—fogging is going to be the best way to go after these bugs. Our products will kill on contact and deter thereafter, but not kill after application. However, if you fog, chances are you’ll kill most if not all in the first treatment, and then a second fogging would likely do the trick for good. Let us know if you need anything else 🙂

  7. forbes morrell on August 4, 2019 at 9:31 AM

    Fruits and vegetables ?

  8. Kristin Reese on July 30, 2019 at 12:42 PM

    Will this help with cicadas?

  9. Carol Smith on July 29, 2019 at 11:14 AM

    I live in the woods, literally. I use your cedar and lemongrass oil on my dog. Occasionally I find ticks on him but they are always dead and dried up. When Cedarcide kills the ticks on my dog I would definitely say your product is a wonder worker and recommend it wholeheartedly.

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on August 1, 2019 at 9:45 AM

      Carol, thanks so much for the comment!

      We appreciate hearing the feedback 🙂

  10. MJ Borner on July 14, 2019 at 9:28 AM

    Is this good for carpenter bees?

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on July 19, 2019 at 2:57 PM

      HI, MJ

      Our products will kill them on direct contact but not repel them after that.

  11. Dan on July 13, 2019 at 7:39 PM

    I have a huge Firefly population around my yard that we enjoy in the summer. Will cedarcide kill them as well?

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on July 19, 2019 at 2:49 PM

      Great question!

      As long as you don’t spray them directly they will be just fine 🙂

  12. MK on July 8, 2019 at 7:22 AM

    I’ve recently noticed active wood boring beetles in a few furniture pieces. Which product can I use to treat the furniture and how? Do I also need to treat other pieces near by?

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on July 8, 2019 at 10:17 AM


      Cedarcide Original would be a great contact killer for those pests 🙂

  13. Terri on June 5, 2019 at 12:24 PM

    We have used Cedarcide for 3 years now and WOW what a difference it has made. I have found only one tick on each dog in a year, which used to be weekly. This stuff really works and I am so relieved. No ticks, no more Lyme disease.
    Thanks Cedarcide!!!!

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on June 13, 2019 at 9:39 AM

      Thanks so much for your encouraging words, Terri! You made our day, you rock!

  14. Barb Powell on June 2, 2019 at 4:08 PM

    To be clear, can I apply this to prevent Japanese beetles?

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on June 4, 2019 at 4:32 PM

      We’ve heard our outdoor sprays work great against these pests 🙂

    • Susan on September 17, 2019 at 10:11 AM

      Yes it does work—it reduced the population by half after one spraying

      • Jonathan At Cedarcide on September 20, 2019 at 9:53 AM

        Couldn’t have said it better ourselves 🙂

        Thanks for chiming in, Susan!

  15. Trisha on April 30, 2019 at 8:59 AM

    Does cedar oil kill all bugs – even beneficial ones?

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on May 16, 2019 at 2:24 PM

      Great question, Trisha! As long as you don’t spray the beneficial insects directly, they’ll be just fine 🙂

      • Ruth Swan on August 12, 2019 at 6:57 PM

        We are fighting fleas on our five Yorkies. They get them from the yard and bring them in. Do I need to treat the yard. We do not have grass. Will it work, or just treat the dogs or dogs abd dirt?

        • Jonathan At Cedarcide on August 22, 2019 at 12:12 PM

          Yes, I would certainly suggest treating the yard. I would also suggest applying Cedarcide Original to the pups daily until the issue is resolved. Chances are fleas and eggs are also living in carpeting, pet spaces, and pet bedding, I would spray those areas with Original, too.

  16. Peggy Morris on April 12, 2019 at 8:26 AM

    We have a large yard and flower gardens.
    1. Is it safe for the flowers and shrubs?
    2. How is it applied to a large area?

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on May 16, 2019 at 2:36 PM

      Great questions, Peggy! PCO Choice would be my suggestion for spraying a large outdoor space. It’s plant-friendly, including flowers and shrubs. 🙂 This video will show you how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_opBGz6Xfo

  17. Maggie Hammer on April 2, 2019 at 8:39 PM

    Our horses get wood ticks. Can I use cedarcide on them?

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on May 16, 2019 at 2:39 PM

      Maggie, yes, you certainly can! Cedarcide is great for horses. We use it out at our horse rescue all the time with great results 🙂

  18. Jim on March 31, 2019 at 3:08 PM

    I’m glad to see this. When I first learned I had Lyme in 2017, I searched for a natural repellent.
    A lady in New England swore by cedar wood oil.
    I bought some. I use it,peppermint oil, and a spray I bought on a natural remedy site.
    What your article says bears out what I learned.
    Basically the ticks are totally fried. Works for me.

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on May 16, 2019 at 2:40 PM

      Thanks for the comment and positive words, Jim!

  19. Penny on March 30, 2019 at 9:16 PM

    Where can I get this product?

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on May 16, 2019 at 2:40 PM

      Hi! Cedarcide.com or via the phone at 800-842-1464 🙂

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