How to Use Bay Leaves to Repel Insects

The ferocious nature of insects has given them an irritating identity. And with natural remedies like the Bay laurel tree, you could use bay leaves to repel insects from your home or workspace.

Insects are one of the top recycling machines of nature—they clean and remove dirt from the environment when they feed on decaying matter. Although they are environmentally helpful, you don’t want them around.

Expelling insects from your home isn’t so difficult. With your bay leaves, you can keep them at bay. You’d also want to practice good cleaning culture to permanently keep them away.

How to use bay leaves to repel insects

You can repel insects with bay leaves in the following ways:

1. Spread fresh, dry bay leaves around

Bay lead, also called laurel leaf, should be kept in places where insects possibly use it as an entry into the house. It could even be specific spots in your bathroom.

Place some of the bay leaves on the windowsills, room corners, around the baseboards, and behind your furniture, refrigerator, or food lockers. Although bay leaves have a strong smell, unfolding and spreading them around for several months will lose their strength. Make sure to replace them when the scent reduces. You can store some in your freezer to preserve the scent for more than 1 year.

2. Burn to fumigate

Burn bay leaves in the evening because lots of insects begin scavenging during late hours as they’re nocturnal, for example, cockroaches. Leave a burning sprig of dry potion in a container full of clay, with the doors tightly shut.

Since insects are generally afraid of bay leaves, the smoke generated from burning will effectively repel them. This fumigation process should be repeated every evening until the insects completely disappear from your home.

3. Decoction

Fresh broth works well against insects. Once it’s evening, fill a saucepan with bay leaves and water and put it on a stove. Boil over low heat for at least 1 hour.

A strong smell will fill every nesting place in your home, sending them away (if you already have an infestation). Insects will also crawl out of their hiding when the broth cools in the kitchen.

4. Repel through infusion and alcohol tincture

A tincture is another way to use bay leaves to repel insects, keeping them at bay. Just add water to the raw materials and allow it to boil for 20 minutes. With the lid tightly closed, allow it to cool down.

You can then use it to clean the floor and furniture. Alcohol and high-quality vodka should be used in the preparation of the tincture. Mix alcohol with dry leaves and leave it in a dark place to infuse for up to 20 days. Shelves, refrigerators, and furniture should be wiped using the mixture. As long as the odor remains, insects will be kept at bay.

5. Combine bay leaves with other herbal remedies

To increase the effectiveness of the remedies, you should combine bay leaves with plants such as peppermint, garlic, chamomile, wormwood, tansy, and lavender to repel insects.

You want the essential oils from these plants for the natural solution to be effective. To generate a strong enough insect-repellent scent, the solution is to release the essential oils within the leaves of plants, according to the Almanac. These oils are what actually have the insect-repelling effect. Consider burning sprigs of the plant or crushing the foliage to release their oils.

Steam distillation is a very popular method for extracting and isolating essential oils from plants. Here, the steam vaporizes the volatile compound of the plant’s material, which eventually goes through a condensation and collection process.

Bay leaf keeping insects at bay

You now know that one natural remedy that can be used to repel insects is the bay leaf on your bay laurel. The scent produced by bay leaf will not kill insects, it only irritates and keeps them away.

Fresh or dry bay leaves are easy to sweep because they are not crumbly. Spreading the bay leaves all over your house or workspace, especially in areas where insects are most active, will discourage their presence.

Make sure to focus on areas where you eat and prepare your food. Just like you do with potpourri, fill a container with bay leaves and keep them where necessary. A few Bay leaves can be placed next to your trash can

Alternatively, you can sprinkle bay leaves in your cupboards, behind the refrigerator, and even under the stove. You could also grow a bay laurel tree if you have an enormous insect problem.

Keeping things clean

In most cases, insects in your home are attracted to food. Cleaning up will help to ensure you do not send an invitational signal to them. In other to avoid attracting insects into your house, you could practice the following;

  • After using your counter, make sure you wipe it clean.
  • Ensure to regularly sweep your floor.
  • Pots, utensils, and dirty dishes should be washed.
  • Cannisters or jars with tightly fitting lids should be used to store packaged dry goods.
  • Your pantry or cupboards should be cleaned twice every year or seasonally.
  • Floors and seating should be vacuumed weekly if necessary.

Is bay leaf safe for humans?

Humans and pets cannot be harmed if they inhale the aroma of bay leaf. However, headache, irritation, and discomfort may be experienced after exposure to a persistent smell. WebMD confirms that ground bay leaf is possibly safe when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts for the short term. However, if you cook with whole bay leaf, you should remove it before eating the food.

Consuming a whole bay leaf by mouth is likely unsafe as the whole leaf can’t be digested.

Placing some bay leaves on the countertop is the best place to start if you do not want insects anywhere near your kitchen, for instance. To prevent insects in the kitchen, place a few leaves in all the cabinets, drawers, and under the fridge and dishwasher. Food particles and water are what easily attract insects.

Cleaning and storing away the food safely should become a top priority. Look for and fix broken pipes and ensure the floor is properly mopped to get rid of food leftovers.


The best step to take if you suspect you have an increasing number of insects in your house would be to get in touch with your local pest control service.

A DIY job with bay leaf will ideally work if you’re certain about a lower insect population or you’re taking strict measures to prevent an infestation. Exterminators typically carry out an inspection and provide you recommendations and the cost of eliminating your insect problem.

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