Every person has his own go-to product for pest control. What many homeowners do not know, however, is that many commercial insecticides contain harmful synthetic chemicals. To keep your family safe, it is best to avoid commercial products, but this does not mean that you have to settle for less-effective solutions. Natural pest-control solutions, such as clove oil for bugs or clove oil for roaches, can be used in a similar way as the most popular commercial insecticides, but they have the added benefit of being nontoxic.
How Does Clove Oil Control Pests?
Many insects, such as ants, are attracted to sweet smells, which is why they are particularly drawn to sticky spills on kitchen floors and counters. Some homemade insecticides kill insects on contact and may also have a residual effect.
According to Karen Russ, a Home and Garden Information Specialist at Clemson University, eugenol — the essential oil found in cloves — kills insects on contact, which makes it an excellent ingredient for use in homemade insecticides or as a sole insecticidal agent. As a contact insecticide, simply spray clove oil directly on household pests such as ants, fleas and cockroaches.
Whole, dried cloves can also be used as an insect repellent, because, though the oil has dried, the pungent odor of the cloves is repulsive to pests such as ants, flies and moths.
How to Use Clove Oil
Clove oil in insecticide form works best when combined with other essential oils, such as peppermint extract or citrus oil. For a simple clove oil insecticide recipe that make clove oil spray, combine several drops of this oil (or in combination with other essential oils) with a quart of water, and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Spritz the area around baseboards, under cabinets and appliances, and even on countertops to repel common household pests. Before spraying baseboards and other surfaces, test-spray a small inconspicuous area to make sure the clove oil does not stain or damage these surfaces.
While the scent of cloves may linger, the residual effects of clove oil insecticides are limited. This means that you should reapply the mixture frequently, and spray it directly on the insects whenever possible.
Benefits of Clove Oil for Pest Control
Many commercial insecticides contain toxic substances, such as organophosphates and pyrethrins. These substances are not safe for use in homes where children and pets are present, because, if ingested or inhaled, these chemicals can cause serious health problems.
Symptoms of insecticide poisoning may include breathing difficulties, redness or swelling, nausea, dizziness and even convulsions and coma. Clove oil-based insecticides are much safer than commercial insecticides and can be used in the home without fear of insecticide poisoning.
Clove Oil-Based Insecticides
Many homeowners are turning to natural and organic cleaning products and pesticides to protect their loved ones from the harmful ingredients in many commercial products. Organic, clove oil-based insecticides can be purchased online and in some retail stores.
The products are effective both inside and outside against a variety of insects, including ants, beetles, flies and roaches. These products often work through the combination of essential oils, such as clove oil, with diatomaceous earth, which breaks down the exoskeleton of insects on contact, causing dehydration and death.
Katherine Barrington has written on a variety of topics, from arts and crafts to pets, health and do-it-yourself projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing concentration from Marietta College.