There are two sides to every story. On the topic of smells that keep bed bugs away, there are far more than two sides. Are there natural smells that bed bugs hate? Yes. Can they protect you from bed bugs? Yes. Will they get bed bugs out of your home or keep them out? Not a chance. Let's take a moment to consider how certain natural smells can help in the battle against bed bugs in San Diego County, and how they can fail you in a remarkable way.

a bed bug crawling on a piece of paper

The Problem With Personal Applications

There is a movement toward natural remedies for insect problems. At the forefront of this movement are essential oils. These are natural oils derived from natural sources. You can buy essential oils from the store and use them for all kinds of things, including pest control. Citronella, lemon balm, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree oil, and many others can be used to ward off mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and even bed bugs.

Sounds great, doesn't it? It does, until you realize that natural oils don't last long. If you spray yourself with oil of lemon eucalyptus, you'll get a little protection from mosquitoes while you're enjoying some BBQ from the grill, but when it wears off, you won't know it. Your protection can be gone in as little as two hours. This leaves you suddenly exposed to mosquito bites. If you put a natural scent on your skin before you go to bed, bed bugs have at least eight hours to wait for the scent to die down enough to bite you.


Natural smells do very little to prevent bed bug bites since they just don't work long enough. At some point, female bed bugs will push through the discomfort to get a blood meal. They need blood in order to reproduce. If they don't reproduce, they'll go extinct. This makes them highly motivated to put up with the smell. 

The Problem With Home Treatments

If you have a bed bug infestation in your San Diego County home, natural scents won't help you get rid of those bugs. Bed bugs aren't going to be driven back outside because they don't live outside. They are almost exclusively indoor pests and go from one location to another by hitchhiking. You can spray your entire home with lavender (which bed bugs really hate) and they'll put up with it. What can they do? They have to make the best of a bad situation.


Bed bugs are not outdoor bugs. You can't use natural smells around the perimeter of your home to keep them out, and you can't use them to drive bed bugs out. Those insects will simply adapt to being in your stinky home (well, stinky for bed bugs).

How Bed Bug Repellent Smells Work

Bed bugs sense the carbon dioxide you exhale, the heat of your skin, and other factors that will attract them to you. This is why they can bite you during the night, even if you've put a bed bug repellent scent on your skin.

If you like the idea of using natural smells to keep bed bugs away, this control option is not without utility. While it isn't great for keeping bed bugs from biting you while you sleep at night, it can work well enough to keep bed bugs from getting into your luggage and bags while you sleep. However, bed bugs don't really have any reason to get into your luggage. There is no one to bite in there. Still, applying lavender, or some other bed bug repellent scent, can keep bed bugs out. This is a good alternative to putting your luggage in a plastic bag to protect your stuff. 


If you like the smell of lavender, this scent can be helpful to keep bed bugs out of your luggage and bags while you're spending the night somewhere away from home.

Essential Oils For Bed Bug Extermination

There is research being done on the use of natural oils for targeted bed bug control. As of this writing, silicon, paraffin, and spearmint oils seem to work the best. It would be fantastic to find a natural control product to deal with bed bugs in sensitive areas such as beds, couches, and chairs.

Currently, the amount of active ingredient required to exterminate bed bugs this way is far too high. While the chemicals are naturally derived, they can still make humans sick. When this changes, and natural bed bug control products become available, you can count on HomeShield Pest Control to integrate these products into our eco-friendly pest control services.

Get Rid Of San Diego Bed Bugs

If you have a bed bug infestation in your San Diego County home, don't resort to natural smells to repel bed bugs. Contact HomeShield Pest Control for industry-leading bed bug control solutions. We'll make sure no bed bugs remain in your home.