Eucalyptus oil is made from the eucalyptus leaves found on evergreen trees in Australia called gum trees. Although it’s commonly known as food for koalas, it has many other uses for pharmaceutical, antiseptic, repellents, fragrance, and flavoring purposes.
Leaves from a specific species of trees are distilled to extract eucalyptus oil. It is a colorless liquid with a strong medicinal, sweet-woodsy smell. The oil is produced mainly in China, but is also exported from South Africa, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Australia, Chile, and Swaziland. It can be found in essential oils, candles, capsules, and tablets.
How Does It Work?
Eucalyptus acts as an insect repellent. Generally, most sucking and biting insects will avoid all strong and unfamiliar smells. It works as both an insect and rodent repellent that prevetns chewing and gnawing.
It has been reported that aphids, whiteflies, mites, and earwigs can be killed using eucalyptus. Use eucalyptus if you want a natural solution to:
Eucalyptus can also be used for medicinal purposes. If the smell seems familiar, it’s because lots of chest rubs and other cold medicines use eucalyptus as an active ingredient!
It’s also been reported that using eucalyptus mulch in the gardens will help repel insects, improve soil quality, and control weeds.
Is It Safe For Humans?
Yes! With any new product, you should also use caution upon first use. Always read and follow the label of any product you’re using.
Keep all products away from eyes and mouth, and be sure to not overexpose yourself to any products by ingesting or breathing in products without direction. Try not to use eucalyptus oil on young children (6 months or younger) unless advised by a healthcare professional
Some individuals may have adverse allergic reactions to eucalyptus oil. If you find that you are having an allergic reaction after using eucalyptus oil, be sure to wash the affected area thoroughly, and contact a healthcare professional if your symptoms worsen. Adults with adverse reactions to eucalyptus oil have experienced:
- General depression
- Nervous system issues
- Abdominal pain
- Respiratory issues
Always use caution when first using a new product and contact a healthcare professional if symptoms worsen.
Is It Safe For Animals and Other Wildlife?
Cats and dogs are particularly sensitive to eucalyptus essential oils, and can even be poisoned by them. Since the smell is so strong, they may have adverse reactions to other eucalyptus products. If you think your pet has ingested eucalyptus oil, look out for:
- Changes in heart rate
- Difficulty walking
- Cold body temperature
- Trouble breathing
If your pet experiences these symptoms after being exposed to eucalyptus oil, contact your vet immediately.
Other wildlife such as deer and rabbits will also feel repelled by the strong smell, but won’t experience any major effects.
What Product Use Eucalyptus Oil?
You can find eucalyptus for pest removal in essential oils, candles, capsules, and tablets. These retail products can be formulated to either repel pests, or for other medicinal uses. Always read and follow the label of any product you’re using and look out for signs of adverse reactions.
To make your own DIY insect repellent and killer, mix together:
- 1 tsp of eucalyptus oil
- 2 cup of water
- ½ tsp of natural liquid soap (optional)
The natural liquid soap will ensure the oil and water don’t separate. Funnel mixture into a spray bottle and shake well before using. Use on plants every 3 days to repel invasive insects, or on yourself for a natural insect repellent. This mixture can even kill aphids, whiteflies, mites, and earwigs upon contact.
Eucalyptus vs. Other Products
There are lots of products out there to help you ward off pests. Let’s look at some other retail and natural products that compare to eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus Oil vs. Citronella
Citronella is another natural option that has a far less invasive smell, and is okay with cats, but cannot be used on dogs.
Eucalyptus Oil vs. Cedarwood Oil
If you need a solution to protect your dog, try cedarwood oil! Always be sure to check your pet for adverse reactions if you’re using a new product on them.
Call your vet if you need more information on using essential oils on your pet.
Eucalyptus Oil vs. DEET
DEET is a chemically formulated product. It can be used as insect repellent on humans, but cannot be used on pets. If you have issues finding essential oils, or other natural alternatives, DEET products may be right for you.
If you’re unsure if eucalyptus products are the right solution to repel pests, call a local exterminator at (833) 431-0401 to see what other solutions they recommend.