Peppermint oil has been used through the ages for a number of medicinal, cosmetic and food preparation purposes. It has an invigorating, uplifting aroma and can be used in aromatherapy to help create energy. But did you know that it is effective for natural pest control?
Peppermint oil is a great alternative to the mainstream harsh chemical and plastic packaged pest control options. Let's have a look at some of the problems associated with the mainstream pest control, and why peppermint oil is one of the most effective essential oils as a natural pest control solution for repelling the creepy crawlies.
Problems With Mainstream Pest ControlChemical pest control options have proliferated in modern times due to their efficacy in killing pests rapidly. But, these chemicals are harmful to humans and other animals through several ways:
- Oral entry: This can occur through droplets of chemicals on the food we eat and the liquids we drink. It also occurs when our hands are near or in our mouths if our hands have been exposed to the chemicals.
- Respiratory entry: Sprays, vapours or powders can be breathed in
- Dermal entry: Spray that lands on the body is quickly absorbed through the skin and eyes
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), there is a huge list of chemical pesticides approved for use in Australia, some of which are banned by the EU.
To quote the WWF “In Europe pesticides have to be proven safe – in terms of human health, residues in the food chain and the environment – in order to be allowed in the European market”. Australia doesn't apply the same precautionary approach.
One of the most common chemicals found in Australian pest control products, Permethrin, is prohibited in the EU. It is classified as likely carcinogenic to humans. Of concern to the environment is also the plastic containers that household pest control products come in. Think cockroach baits, moth repellent strips for the wardrobe. They generally end up in landfill.
Another common household insect repellent is Naphthalene. This is the ingredient in mothballs. The Australian Government has taken action on Naphthalene due to Paediatricians' warnings that it can cause damage to blood cells (more info here) It can cause a condition called Haemolytic Anaemia. In new born babies, exposure to this substance can cause brain damage. The warning from doctors is to restrict usage around children under three. You can be exposed to the toxicity just from inhaling naphthalene vapours. It's enough to make your skin crawl!
In addition to human diseases, harsh chemical pest control methods increase resistance in insects and contamination of the environment.
A Mint Solution
There is often a natural solution to many household quandaries, such as essential oils like peppermint oil. The major chemical compounds found in peppermint oil include terpene, alcohol and menthol. Each one is a natural fumigant through smell.
Insects and rodents' smell receptors pick up on the compounds and are repelled effectively. In the scientific journal search engine, PubMed, an article (link below) discusses the effectiveness of menthol against mosquitoes in particular.
The study concludes that menthol is as effective at repelling mosquitoes as DEET. Another handy by-product of peppermint oil is that it is an effective antimicrobial, particularly against E. coli and S. aureus.
How to Use Peppermint Oil in Natural Pest Control
- On cotton balls – the key here is to use enough of the oil to repel. The stronger the smell the better. Apply at least 5 drops of peppermint oil to each cotton ball and place in various locations around the house to repel insects and rodents.
- Place the oil in areas where rodents gain access to the inside of your home. It's important for them to detect the smell before entry. It masks the pheromone trail of rodent excreta that then attracts other rodents and shows them the ‘pathways' in your home.
- Refresh the cotton balls at least once a month
- Plant some mint in the garden to repel pests from plants and vegetables.
- Make a spray for rodents and insects, to spray on floorboards or entry points around the home. All you need is one small spray bottle, 30mls of peppermint oil, 30mls of water. Pour oil and water into bottle and shake well. The oil and water will separate over time but you can add a little palm oil free castile soap to help emulsify the mix and avoid this.
- Use a natural cleaner that contains peppermint oil, which not only cleans glass and mirrors exceptionally well, it naturally repels flies with the peppermint oil it contains.
We hope this has inspired you to practice natural pest control. It is a healthy yet invigorating way to send a clear message to creepy crawlies to stay out!
Biome offers top quality essential oils by reputable Australian brands:
http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/naphthalene.aspx https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19551736 https://www.ajol.info/index.php/tjpr/article/viewFile/93279/82692 https://apvma.gov.au/node/11781