What Is Cedar Oil?
Cedar oil is an essential oil derived from conifer trees in the pine or cypress families, though not always (or even usually) cedar trees. The oil has many medical and industrial uses but it’s also commonly used in perfumes, aromatherapy and for pest control.
It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties; it’s also considered safe enough by the FDA that it’s used as a food preservative. The ancient Egyptians even used it in their embalming practices…because it keeps bugs away.
How Does It Work?
Cedar oil kills insects in 6 different ways:
Cedar oil is known to be toxic to fleas, ticks and mosquitoes specifically, which are the common pests we’d love to get rid of. Whereas permethrin has only a mild repellent effect, insects need only smell cedar oil to stay away so it’s an effective repellent (of many bugs, not just those above). It’s completely non-toxic to humans and pets and simply has a woodsy aroma that I’ve come to consider a sign of summer.
How to Use Cedar Oil
There are a number of ways to deploy cedar to protect your yard from insects. We live in an area that is completely infested with ticks and mosquitoes and I’ve tried many methods to reduce them. I’ve settled on a set of strategies that includes elements of landscape design, tick tubes and spraying.
Until we added cedar oil to our arsenal, everything else seemed only modestly effective. This is just my personal assessment, but I think it was the single largest factor in our ability to control the ticks. Before we started using cedar oil there were many tick bites, now it’s extremely rare that anyone gets a tick bite in our yard.
We use cedar oil in two main ways, as a lawn/yard treatment and sprayed directly on our clothing and/or bodies.
How to Kill Ticks in Your Yard
There are a few common ways to use cedar oil for killing and repelling ticks and other insects. You can buy cedar mulch or pellets that you spread on your yard, which is a fairly durable solution that doesn’t need to be repeated that often. That solution works for various bugs but it is NOT intended to repel or kill ticks specifically, and it says so on the bag.
The main method we use is spraying. Every two weeks or so we spray the entire yard where the kids play and the surrounding areas and structures, from the ground up to about 5 feet high on any structures.
CedarCide even makes a sprayer bottle called YardSafe (below) that requires no adjustments at all to get the right concentration. I use this one when doing extra treatments for ticks only (as opposed to mosquitoes and other bugs, though it repels/kills them too). I spray a broader area when treating for other insects like mosquitoes and I use garlic oil for that because it’s cheaper. The YardSafe sprayer has a selector dial with three positions, one of which is just to allow the water to pass through so you can just leave it on your hose if you want. If you’re more of a DIY person, you can get a quart-sized version with free shipping here and mix the sprayer yourself.
I typically do all the yard spraying in one swipe though. So any spraying we do for the yard (usually garlic oil as well for extra mosquito repellent). I combine with the cedar oil and do it all at once using the hose-end sprayer you see below.
Just dial in the right dosage:
Tick Repellent Clothing
It is possible to buy clothing that is pre-treated with permethrin. Permethrin has a low mammalian toxicity but it is a synthetic toxin nonetheless, and the warnings on the bottle look very different than what you see above. Instead of buying dedicated, toxic clothes, we prefer to just spray our clothes with Tickshield Tactical (or you can get it via Prime from Amazon here, but it only comes in a gallon container which is fine by me because we use a lot of it).
CedarCide sells personal size spray bottles but we buy the quart-sized containers above usually, which are great for spraying down clothing. We also pour it into smaller spray bottles like the home made version below, which are great for cars, purses, etc. We have a number of them throughout the house.
Before going out into the yard we spray down all our clothing and, to a lesser extent, our skin with the Tick Shield. Do this outside because while it doesn’t smell bad, you don’t necessarily want your house to smell that woodsy. We’ll repeat that process every few hours if we’re out for a long time.
Health Benefits & Treatment Uses
Cedar Oil isn’t just harmless, it’s actually highly beneficial to humans! It has numerous health benefits and can be used to treat various ailments.
Below are the known benefits and ailments that can be treated with cedar oil:
- Sedative effects – calms the mind and body
- Relieves tension and anxiety
- Promotes restful sleep
- Tones organ systems
- Stimulates metabolism
- Boosts liver and kidney function
Caution: Pregnant women should avoid cedarwood oil. It can produce skin irritation in high concentrations. Cedarwood oil cannot be ingested in any quantity. It is highly potent, and can cause vomiting, nausea, thirst, and extensive damage to the digestive system. Consult your health practitioner on whether and how you should use cedarwood oil.
The yard and personal treatment of cedar oil is effective against all kinds of insects so it really does a great job of making your yard a more comfortable place to relax. Even rodents don’t like to be around cedar, which is why we still use permethrin in the tick tubes (mice transport the permethrin in that case). Having tried a number of different options, we’ve been very satisfied with cedar oil as an effective natural tick killer and for general insect control. Give it a try and enjoy your summer!
Source: Organic Facts
Author: Sabrina Wilson