Eugenol Oil for Pest Control

Eugenol Oil for Pest Control

Eugenol is a natural insecticide, popularized by the TV series "Billy the Exterminator". Eugenol or eugenia oil kills bugs but is non-toxic to pets or people.

Eugenol oil or eugenia oil is an essential oil occurring naturally in certain herbs and plants. Many of these plants are known in traditional herbal lore as organic insect repellents and pesticides. Recently, the A&E television show Billy the Exterminator brought the pest control properties of eugenol oil into popular awareness.

above: Eugenia aromaticum (image: Wikimedia Commons)

Herbs and Plants With Eugenol

Eugenol is a colorless or pale yellow liquid. The name eugenia or eugenol comes from the Latin Eugenia aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata. Eugenia is the botanical name for the clove genus.

Herbs and plants naturally containing eugenol include:

  • cloves
  • cinnamon
  • bay leaves*
  • nutmeg
  • sweet basil
  • Japanese star anise
  • lemon balm

*Bay leaves may be toxic to cats.

In the television show Billy the Exterminator, Billy uses liberal applications of eugenol oil spray to kill and repel a variety of insect pests and spiders. For bug-killing tips and more information about Billy’s extermination company, Vexcon Inc, visit the website at

Many pest extermination companies use eugenol as an organic alternative to chemicals and toxins. Eugenol is popular as a food flavoring and aromatic oil, and also has uses in cosmetics and dentistry. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists eugenol as a Minimum Risk.

Unlike chemical products, eugenol oil has a pleasant, “Christmas-like” fragrance. Eugenol oil is non-toxic in the recommended amounts, and can be safely used around children, livestock and pets. Eugenol oil is, however, toxic to fish.

Never allow children or animals to ingest eugenol or eugenia essential oil, or any other essential oil. Undiluted essential oils contain a high concentration of compounds, which may cause serious side effects. See Health Risks at the end of this article.

How Eugenol Oil Works

Eugenol oil works to kill insects, arachnids and other creatures by breaking down the pest’s waxy exoskeleton and disrupting the cell binding of octopamine. Octopamine is a neurotransmitter in invertebrates such as insects, crustaceans and spiders.

Octopamine is responsible for energy-requiring activities such as flying, egg-laying, jumping and activation of defense mechanisms. In bees and fruit flies, octopamine regulates learning and memory.

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