Guide to Using Oil of Oregano as Insect Repellent

Can you use oil of oregano as a natural insect and mosquito repellent?

While many natural health advocates are aware of the antimicrobial properties of oregano oil, it also makes an effective, safe and natural insect repellent.

The fact is, using natural products derived from plants is gaining popularity over man-made pesticides and insecticides. While synthetic pesticides and repellents are effective, there’s growing concerns about their effects on the environment and the possible health risks and safety.


According to Mother Nature Network, the essential oils from plants can act as Mother Nature’s answer to bug repellent.

For example, lavender oil, which is one of the most popular essential oils used in aromatherapy, was used in the past to protect your linens and clothes from moths and other insects. Citronella (which is commonly found in lemongrass) was used by the Indian army to repel mosquitos.

Studies have shown that oil of oregano is rich in carvacrol and thymol. The current research shows that carvacrol has antimicrobial, anticancer and antioxidant properties.

And according to Frontiers in Pharmacology, thymol fights inflammation and balances cholesterol levels. Other research shows carvacrol fights parasites, relieves pain and has insecticidal properties.


Research on Oil of Oregano as an Insect Repellent


There are a number of published studies looking at using oregano oil to fight off insects, bugs and mosquitos.

  • A study published in the Journal of Science and Food Agriculture concluded that oregano oil works as well as synthetic insecticides to repel beetle infestations in stored cereal grains. Dr. Chahrazed Boutekedjiret, and her team from the National Polytechnic in Algeria, identified 18 ingredients in oregano oil that could fight pests. They also found that the greater the concentration of oregano oil used, the more effective it was.
  • Scientists at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece discovered that oil of oregano has insecticidal activities against the common fruit fly. The essential oil, and their main constituents, carvacrol and thymol, were tested for insecticidal and genotoxic activities on Drosophila. While the oil was found to be an effective an insecticide, they discovered that carvacrol more toxic than thymol against this common household pest.
  • Furthermore, researchers at the Department of Agricultural Sciences, at the University of Lebanon, individually tested the insecticidal properties of eight essential oil components against the mosquito Culex. This is one of the mosquito species known to spread West Nile Virus and Japanese Encephalitis.  The study concluded that carvacrol and thymol, were the most toxic to this species of mosquitoes.


How to Use Oil of Oregano to Repel Bugs:


Here’s how you can easily use this essential oil to fight off bugs in and around your home.

  • You can add a couple drops of oil of oregano to a small spray bottle filled with distilled water. Shake the bottle thoroughly, then lightly spray on any exposed skin.
  • Prepare a mixture of oregano oil and water and use it to wipe down any hard surfaces, such as counter tops, tables and cupboards. This could help repel cockroaches, fleas and other insect infestations in your home.
  • Try vaporizing by adding a couple drops of oil of oregano to an essential oil diffuser. You can use the diffuser in your living room, bedrooms and any other areas where you want to repel bugs or other insects.  



  • Care should be used when applying oil of oregano to the skin. Carvacrol and thymol may cause a warming sensation to the skin and could even irritate sensitive skin. 
  • If you’re going to apply the oil to your skin, you should mix a couple of drops of the oil to a skin-friendly carrier oil, such as lavender or tea tree oil. This will help avoid any possible skin reactions. 
  • Avoid placing the oil near your eyes, mouth or mucous membranes.
  • Do not apply oil of oregano to your skin if you have any allergies to the Lamiaceae plant family. This includes oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, lavender, sage, marjoram, savory, hyssop, and perilla.


Oil of Oregano Insect Repellent Reviews:


The following reviews were sent in from visitors to this site. Please share your own experience using oregano oil as an insect repellent and how it worked with you so we can all learn from your experience.


Using Oil of Oregano as Bug Spray for Plants

My favorite use of oil of oregano is a natural bug spray for my household plants. I add a few drops of oil of oregano to a spray bottle of plant water and then spray my household plants with a light misting. It’s a great natural pesticide and it helps keep aphids away from my plants.

– by Marilyn (Vermont)


Using Oregano Oil for Insect and Scorpion Bites

I live in Mexico and have been bit twice by a scorpion. I immediately have a severe reaction where my hand swelled within minutes about 3 times its normal size and I was in excruciating pain. I put Oil of Oregano on it and in less than 5 minutes all the swelling was gone, and the pain was gone. My hand did remain numb, though, for about 24 hours and I felt fine. The second time I was bit, I had the same reaction and same response when I put the oil on the bite.

Amazing on spider bites also. My termite man uses it on Black Widow and Brown Recluse bites. He carries it with him on every job and applies it the minute he is bit. He has never had to be hospitalized.

I also used it as a pain killer years ago when I had Lyme Disease. It is a natural antibiotic, and I stopped taking the antibiotics and just used Oil of Oregano and it killed the Lyme and Candida and was highly effective as a pain killer.

– by Lynn Prince (Sonora, Mexico)


Oil of Oregano is the Miracle, Multi-purpose Oil…

I have used Oil of Oregano quite extensively, and for many different situations. First, I have used it to kill huge roaches called Palmetto bugs down here in Florida. I get a spray bottle fill it with water, put about 15 drops or more depending on the size of the bottle and they hurry away to die, with the use of harmful, toxic products (peppermint oil works well, too). I have had great success using it to kill a toe nail fungus. I used it faithfully for over a month, twice a day, applying it with a Q-tip. I have also used it in cooking. like when making a stew or soup. I just add a drop or two, and it wakes up the flavor of whatever you put it in. When I first used it, I wasn’t careful with it and it burned my mouth and lips. Now, I know that I must mix it with a carrier oil, before applying it topically to my face. I have also used it diluted heavily with water as a feminine rinse.

– by Susan (Destin, Florida)



Search for more Oil of Oregano Products at


Author Details
Author Details
Kevin is a full-time blogger with a passion for functional, whole food nutrition. A former Registered Respiratory Therapist with over 25 years experience in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, he also has additional training as a Certified Natural Products Advisor. He enjoys a vibrant lifestyle that includes healthy foods, workouts focusing on core strength with flexibility and longboarding to stay fit and agile.