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Can Oregano Kill Insects? (Explained)

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Last updated on September 23rd, 2022 at 03:43 pm

If there is one thing everyone wants, it is to have an insect-free environment.

But sometimes, these unwanted visitors find their way to our surroundings, and fortunately, it is possible to keep these insects away by trying out different control measures and repellents.

A repellent, also known as a pesticide, is applied to the skin, clothing, or other surfaces to keep insects from landing on that surface.

There are natural pesticides that are indeed very effective at getting rid of harmful insects. These pesticides are also safe enough to keep your family away from poisoning.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is one of such natural pesticides that you can use in the garden.

Can oregano kill insects? Oregano can kill insects. Though commonly known as a culinary herb used in cooking and salads, oregano can also be used as an insect repellent.

Do Insects Hate Oregano?

Many insects tend to like herb plants, especially insects like green moths, whiteflies, fleas, and the likes of them. However, this is not the complete case when it comes to oregano.

According to popular belief, insects hate the herb’s aromatic oils. In addition, oregano contains thymol, a-terpinene, and carvacrol.

These compounds make it an effective pest control and tend to scare the insects. For this reason, many pest-like insects do not like to come near any oregano plant, but not all insects.

For example, pollinating insects like bees and ladybugs do not hate oregano but find its aroma exciting, and you will always find them around it.

This pollination happens especially when the oregano flowers start to open from their buds.

What Bugs Does Oregano Keep Away?

Oregano is a repellent to many insects but has proven effective up to a 100% to keeping away a series of insects. Some of these insects include:

  • Mosquitoes.
  • Fleas.
  • Moths.
  • Houseflies.
  • Beetles.
  • Bed bugs.

Although after application, approximately in 3 hours, the repellency index decreases to about 80%. And in 24 hours, it reduces to 24%.

So this means that if you are using any oregano mix as an insecticide, you have to apply it every 24-48 hours.

 Do this until there is a noticeable reduction in insect infestation.

In conditions where you notice that the plants are not responding positively to the oregano treatment, consult a plant specialist.

Is Oregano A Natural Pesticide?

Oregano, a member of the family of Lamiaceae plants, has been known for many years as a natural pesticide.

A research study in the Society of Chemical Industry Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture showed that oregano has proved effective as a natural pesticide.

It works as well as synthetic or chemical insecticides to battle infestation by common insects like:

  • Beetles.
  • Aphids.
  • Whiteflies.
  • Mosquitoes.
  • Spiders.

Is Oregano A Good Insect Repellent?

Although it works like chemical pesticides, it doesn’t possess any side effects on the environment. 

If you don’t have complete trust in chemicals, probably because of the fear of them being poisonous, try out using oregano to kill insects.

There are a couple of ways by which you can achieve this successfully. You can either make an oregano body oil or make an oregano insecticide spray.

Remember not to use oregano insecticide spray on plants that are just germinating unless you are sure it is safe.

How Do You Use Oregano As An Insect Repellant?

If you don’t feel comfortable using chemical/factory-made insect repellants, then this member of the mint family is a very suitable option.

Some say using oregano oil is the same as planting oregano herbs in the surroundings. However, I would say using the oil has proved more effective over time.

 You can use oregano oil in the following ways:

1. Create a dilute mix of 5 drops of oregano oil with two teaspoons of olive or coconut oil and rub them on your exposed skin.

2. You can also use the air vaporizer method. Another good option is to use six drops of oregano oil in your diffuser and let it sit for a few hours in your living and bedrooms.

3. Use a spray bottle to conveniently carry oregano with you everywhere you go, especially to unfamiliar areas. Mix about 4-6 drops of oregano oil in a 250ml spray bottle filled with water.

Shake vigorously before use and spray on exposed skin only. Do this every one hour.

 4. Also, you can do a mixture of oregano and water in a bowl. This mixture can be used to wipe surfaces and kitchen cupboards, to keep cockroaches and fleas away.

You can also spray it around the corners of the house to keep bugs away.

In direct application to the skin, if you feel any irritations or have an allergy to oregano, discontinue use and switch to an active alternative repellent.

To kill insects on plants using oregano, use the method below to produce your own trusted homemade oregano insecticide:

1. Put on a pair of your gardening gloves and harvest around 4 to 5 cups or handfuls of oregano leaves and stems.

Get a neat old pillowcase for this purpose and put the plant material in it.

Remember to harvest the oregano only after the buds have formed but also before the flowers open.

You should do this because, at this stage, its oils are at their strongest flavors.

2. Keep the pillowcase on the floor and use a mallet to smash it several times(you can also use a wooden rolling pin if it is available).

This is to break up the stems and leaves to release the plant juice.

3. Open up the pillowcase and dump the plant material content into a wide bowl while turning the pillowcase inside out.

Next, rinse the pillowcase into the bowl and add enough clean water to submerge the mixture.

4. Put the bowl in a sunny area while you let the mixture sleep. Don’t forget to stir the mixture a good number of times throughout the day and let the mixture sleep overnight.

5. Cover up yourself completely using gloves, face masks, and goggles to avoid direct contact with the mixture.

6. Add a teaspoon of soft liquid soap into the mixture to aid the plant oils spread throughout the mixture.

Place a clean strainer over another clean bowl and pour the mixture into the strainer to separate the plant from the water.

7. Fill a spray bottle with the liquid and pour it over your garden to chase insects.


Oregano can kill insects, and as you could also use it for other purposes like cooking and as a companion herb to keep off insects from other plants.

Insect infestation in the surrounding can be as fearful as it sounds. Oregano is natural and has proved effective as a repellent.

The choice of using oregano in a certain way can be made personally and depending on the situation.

If you’re looking to clear the air and completely rid all corners of your house of insects, the vaporizer method is the best.


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