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7 Bugs That Catnip Repels

Do you know Catnip is not just a beloved herb that makes your cats go wild, but it also can repel specific bugs from your house or surroundings? 

I’ve planted Catnip in my garden and found that besides targeting your cat’s “Happy” receptors in their brains, it can also repel flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, bed bugs, fleas, ants, and termites. 

To help you understand its repellent properties, I’ll uncover 7 bugs that catnip repels and show you how effective and eco-friendly this solution is. 

So, stick around with me if you are tired of battling those creeping bugs and want to learn a natural way to keep your space bugs-free.

Some flowering catnip up close in a field

Does catnip plants keep bugs away?

Catnip is like a guardian plant that keeps your spaces free of unwelcome bugs. Below, I’ll take a look at the 7 pests that the Catnip plant repels:

1. Flies

Flies are pesky little buzzers that ruin your peaceful outdoor gathering into a frustrating event, making you get into an endless battle with them.

But don’t worry, fellas! Catnip is here to lend a helping hand (Or maybe a stem or leaf) to repel these bothersome bugs because they cannot bear the nepetalactone chemical it produces. 

Plant some catnip in a pot near your outdoor seating area and watch the magic happen. The sweet scent of catnip will send flies buzzing off in the opposite direction, leaving you with a more peaceful and fly-free environment to enjoy.

2. Mosquitoes

Is there anything more irritating than the incessant buzzing sound around your ears and those itchy bites on you that appears out of nowhere? Mosquitoes are notorious bloodsuckers of summer which keep us annoyed all the season.

But recent research reveals that the active compound of Catnip has a knack for activating the TRPA1 receptors, which are responsible for pain or itch sensation in many living beings, including mosquitoes. 

It’s like the herb sends out the SOS signal to these bugs to tell them this place is not where you want to hang out! 

So, here is the game plan: mix an equal amount of lemon eucalyptus and catnip oil (20 drops each) with 8 ounces of coconut and witch hazel oil. Pour the blend into a spray bottle, shake it well, and spritz on your hands, face, and feet, avoiding your eyes.

3. Cockroaches

Cockroaches not only send shivers down the spines of many people, but they are also like bacteria taxis and can expose you to typhoid or diarrhea. 

But here’s the good news for you! Some researchers at Iowa State University put Catnip to the test against cockroaches and found that it is a whopping 100 times more effective than synthetic repellent DEET

This means Catnip can send those creepy roaches packing without any eviction notice. There are two common ways you can use this herb to repel cockroaches. 

First, boil some water in a pot and add a teaspoon of Catnip. Let the tea brew for 5-10 minutes, cool it down afterward, and strain the mixture. Transfer into a spray bottle and spritz in every corner of the kitchen and bathroom.

For the second method, just grab some catnip leaves, put them in a small container, or make sachets, and put them in places where these roaches love to reside. 

4. Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are sneaky vampires that can turn your peaceful slumber into an itchy misery, leaving you with restless nights. 

But don’t fret, dear sleep-seekers! The very same oil which causes a sedative effect on your feline friends can also deter those bugs and show them the exit door. 

A black cat sitting surrounded by catnip plants
Bed bugs respond in a similar way to cats where catnip is concerned

Here’s the fascinating science behind it! When bed bugs come in close contact with Catnip essential oil or its active ingredients, their sensory GPS goes haywire, and they become utterly confused.

This sensory loss messes with their ability to find hosts (Yes, that’s you), and their navigating skills go completely off the course.  

So, if you’re dealing with bed bugs, mix 5-10 drops of Catnip oil with one ounce of water, add to a spray bottle, and shake well. Spray the mixture on the bed frames, mattress seams, and cracks to say goodbye to these bugs.

5. Fleas

Fleas often turn the lives of your beloved pets into a scratching frenzy and cause them to develop bacterial skin infections or other diseases. 

But here is where Catnip enters as a superhero! Since the herb belongs to the Lamiaceae family, the fleas cannot stand its powerful minty aroma. 

So, how do you put this magical herb to work in your flea-repelling strategy? It’s simple. Wash the carpet or cat bedding and sprinkle crushed dried Catnip leaves on them. You can also rub some Catnip essential oil on your pet, and it will work like magic. 

6. Ants

If you’re tired of dealing with tenacious little ants invading your space, especially the kitchen, or disturbing the soil around the plant roots, it’s time to take the help of your trusty friend, Catnip. 

Yes, you heard that right! This herb isn’t just for our feline pals; it’s an ant-repelling warrior too!

How do you make Catnip work its magic against ants? Simply scatter some of its leaves in your house where you see any ants to shoo them away. 

For protecting your plants, brew Catnip tea and spray it directly on the ants or sprinkle some dried leaves near their trails or entryways. 

7. Termites

Termites are silent destroyers that stealthily feast on your precious wooden structures like chairs, doors, or cupboards without you even realizing it. 

Luckily, nature has provided us with Catnip as an ally in the fight against these stubborn bugs. According to research by USDA Forest Service, spraying the Catnip plant oil not only repels these termites but can even kill them. 

Apart from that, if you are a gardener and these bugs constantly damage your crop, grow Catnip around your plants to send them far away. 

Summing Up!

That’s about it, amigos! I’ve shown you 7 bugs that Catnip repels to keep your home and garden free from their invasion and also discussed the right way to use this herb. 

Catnip has your back whether you’re repelling mosquitoes, sending roaches packing, or want to create a flea-free zone for your pet. 

Remember to plant Catnip strategically, use its oils wisely, and let its scent create a barrier that bugs can’t break.


  • Kaylee Vaughn

    Kaylee is the Founder of She has set up and run two homesteads, a one-acre in Idaho, and her current two-acre dream homestead in the Pacific North West. Her qualifications include a Permaculture Design Certification from Oregon State University, and she is a Gardenary Certified Garden Coach. Kaylee currently produces at least 80% of her own food. She contributes to our site through articles, training and coaching to our clients. You can read more about her at