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7 Common Bugs That Bay Leaves Repel

Say goodbye to pesky bugs with the secret weapon hidden in your kitchen (or garden). Known for their distinct aroma, bay leaves have long been believed to repel most bothersome bugs.

I’ve been growing bay leaves for many moons! And there is evidence that bay leaves repel the following seven common bugs:

  1. Roaches
  2. Moths
  3. Ants
  4. Weevil
  5. Flies
  6. Silverfish
  7. Bed bugs

In this post, I’ll take a look at:

  • The seven bugs that bay leaves repel
  • Some practical tips to use bay leaves to repel bugs
  • Benefits and limitations of using bay leaves as a bug repellant
  • Additional benefits of bay leaves
close up of bay leaves growing on tree in garden

7 Common Bugs That Bay Leaves Repel

1. Roaches

According to exterminators, the peppery smell of bay leaves deters roaches. The scent disrupts their sensory receptors and discourages them from entering areas with Bay leaves.

Plus, Bay leaves contain essential oils, such as eucalyptol and linalool, and are known to be natural repellents and have insect-repelling properties.

2. Moths

Moths are some of the bugs that bay leaves repel.

The strong fragrance of bay leaves repels moths. Placing bay leaves where moths are likely found, such as in closets or storage containers, can help deter them from laying eggs or infesting fabrics.

3. Ants

Bay leaves emit a scent that disrupts the trails of pheromones that ants use to communicate and navigate. This disruption confuses ants and deters them from entering areas with bay leaves.

In addition, bay leaves have volatile compounds that are released into the air. These compounds interfere with the ant’s ability to detect food or establish thor colonies.

4. Weevil

Similar to the other bugs above, the sharp odor of bay leaves repels weevils, making them less likely to infest stored grains and cereals.

Bay leaves are a common natural repellant used against weevils. All you have to do is put Bay Leaves in grain and flour containers to keep bugs away.

Close up of a weevil on a leaf
Weevils are repelled by the strong odor of bay leaves

5. Flies

Some sources claim that bay leaves can help deter flies, but their effect can be limited.

Despite the limited impact, the sharp aroma of bay leaves repels flies, making them less likely to linger or infest certain areas.

Additionally, fly traps and proper sanitation is needed for comprehensive fly control.

6. Silverfish

Bay leaves are occasionally mentioned as a repellent for silverfish. Although Bay leaves ability to repel silverfish is unclear, it is believed that the peppery odor of bay leaves may discourage silverfish from inhabiting areas with bay leaves.

Controlling humidity levels, sealing cracks, and removing potential food sources are also essential for managing silverfish infestations effectively.

7. Bed Bugs

Bay leaves are sometimes suggested to repel bed bugs, but their effectiveness in eliminating or preventing bed bug infestations is limited.

Professional pest control methods are typically necessary for effective bed bug management.

Furthermore, thorough cleaning, vacuuming, and treatment by a licensed exterminator are crucial in dealing with bed bug infestations.

Practical Tips to Use Bay Leaves to Repel Pests

While there’s still no established scientific research on how bay leaves can repel pests, here are some practical tips that you could do in your home:

  • Place bay leaves in kitchen cabinets, pantry shelves, or storage containers to repel roaches and weevils.
  • Leave bay leaves in closets, drawers, or garment bags to deter moths from infesting clothing or fabrics.
  • Position bay leaves near windows, doors, or outdoor areas to discourage flies from entering your home.
  • Put bay leaves where silverfish are commonly found, such as in bathrooms or basements, to deter their presence.
  • Consider using bay leaves with other pest control methods for comprehensive bug management.
  • Replace bay leaves periodically since their effectiveness may diminish over time.
  • Be cautious if using bay leaves in areas accessible to pets or children, as ingestion can be harmful. Keep them out of reach or use alternative pest control methods.
  • Proper sanitation, cleanliness, and storage practices are essential for effective pest control.

Benefits and Limitations of Using Bay Leaves as a Bug Repellent

Bay leaves have several properties that could impact the effectiveness of repelling bugs. Here’s a table that summarizes the benefits and limitations of using bay leaves as a bug repellent:

Benefits of Using Bay Leaves as a Bug RepellentLimitations and Considerations
Natural and non-toxic repellentEffectiveness may vary for different bugs and infestation levels.
Aromatic fragrance provides a pleasant scent in living spacesLimited scientific research on its bug-repelling properties
Affordable and easily accessibleAdditional pest control measures may be necessary for severe infestations.
Versatile usage in various areas prone to bug infestationsBay leaves need to be replaced periodically for sustained effectiveness.
Potential eco-friendly alternative to chemical insecticidesSome individuals may be allergic to bay leaves or their aromas.

Additional Benefits of Bay Leaves

Aside from their bug-repelling properties, bay leaves offer additional benefits. Here are a few:

  • Culinary Uses: Bay leaves enhance soups, stews, sauces, and other dishes.
  • Digestive Aid: Bay leaves soothes the digestive system and alleviate bloating and gas.
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: Eugenol in bay leaves relieves arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Antioxidant Properties: Antioxidants in bay leaves support heart health and reduce chronic disease risk.
  • Respiratory Health: Using bay leaves can relieve respiratory congestion and promote healthy breathing.


Bay leaves, nature’s bug-repelling secret, provide a natural and non-toxic option for keeping pests at bay. From roaches and moths to ants and weevils, bay leaves have been associated with deterring these pesky intruders.

While bay leaves may not be a guaranteed solution, they can play a valuable role in your bug management arsenal. Pairing bay leaves with good sanitation practices, regular cleaning, and proper storage techniques forms a powerful defense against unwanted critters.

Remember to exercise caution when using bay leaves in areas accessible to pets or children to avoid any potential harm.


  • 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