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.
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.
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.
Emulsification, or 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.
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.