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. 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 🙂

  2. 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!

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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

  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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 🙂

  7. 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!

  8. 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 🙂

  9. 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 🙂

  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.

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