Does Cedar Wood Repel Bugs? (Why do bugs hate Cedar)

Ever wondered why cedar closets keep bugs at bay? Dive into the world of cedar wood and discover its bug-repelling magic. Intrigued? Let’s explore together!

Does cedar repel bugs

Cedar is a popular wood that is used in many woodworking applications like furniture making, fencing, decking, and siding.

Most of the woods that we generally use are susceptible to bug attacks.

But, when it comes to Cedarwood I was always wondering about its bug-repellant ability and was curious to find it.

Now with years of experience, here’s what I learned about, Does Cedar wood repel bugs?

Yes, cedar wood repels various types of bugs due to its natural oil and neurotoxic chemical component, Thujone. Its unique aroma, coupled with the oil’s suffocating and chemical-disrupting effects, help deter insects like wood termites, fleas, ants, cockroaches, and mosquitoes.

But there’s more to know.

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    In this article I’ll explore does Cedar wood repel bugs and how Cedar repels bugs by discussing the characteristic qualities of Cedar wood.

    Furthermore, we’ll discuss how long does Cedar wood repel bugs, what type of bugs does Cedar wood repel.

    I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.

    Let’s get started!

    Cedar woodworks & bugs damaging the wood
    Cedar woodworks & bugs damaging the wood

    How Does Cedar Wood Repel Bugs?

    Cedar wood repels bugs from itself by following some unique techniques that other woods don’t have.

    As a result, most woodworkers prefer to make outdoor furniture with Cedar wood because Cedar wood help to keep bugs away.

    Cedar wood keeps bugs away by,

    • Releasing chemicals
    • Releasing Cedar oil
    • Releasing a strong aroma smell

    The main bug and insect-repelling chemical that Cedar releases naturally is called Thujone.

    Thujone is a neurotoxic chemical to insects and bugs which causes nerve damage. It is a strong antimicrobial chemical that contains white Cedar.

    Thujone differs from bugs and insects by working as a toxic chemical.

    Therefore, Cedar wood has a good resistance against bugs and insects than many other kinds of wood.

    Benefits of using cedar
    Benefits of using cedar

    On the other hand, Cedar oil work as an insecticide. It is used as an insect repellent while providing waterproofing ability to the wood.

    The natural oil in Cedar wood releases a strong aromatic smell that repels bugs and insects.

    Smells are released more and more after heavy rainfall. Therefore, Cedar chips are able to provide refreshing olfactory than other mulches.

    In terms of bugs’ perspective, Cedar wood is considered a bad place to lay eggs because of the distinctive smell.

    So, Cedar wood doesn’t attract bugs. But if bugs reach the Cedar wood surface, it won’t kill them. Therefore, Cedar wood repels bugs from itself.

    You can keep your garden or play area free of insects and bugs by using decorative Cedar chips.

    Indoor storage chests with Cedar trays protect the sweaters and clothing from insects and bugs.

    In a summary, bugs do not like Cedar because of its natural oil, chemical, and distinct smell that repel bugs from itself.

    Cedar wood raised garden beds free of bugs
    Cedar wood raised garden beds free of bugs

    Here’s how chemicals and oils inside Cedar wood contribute to kill or repel insects and bugs,

    • By suffocation
    • Changing the chemical balance of their bodies
    • Dehydration
    • Emulsification

    Let’s discuss them in detail for better understanding.

    By Suffocation

    Bugs breathe through a tube-like opening in their exoskeleton known as tracheae. Cedar oil is poisonous to those breathing tubes.

    This will cause lacking lungs and Cedar oil will close those breathing openings and suffocate insects and bugs.

    Changing the Chemical Balance

    Cedar oil affects the chemical balance of insects and bugs and unbalances the pH levels of the body. This will cause to death of insects and bugs.

    Plus, Cedar wood oil hinders bugs’ ability to detect pheromones. This will fail to breed, find resources, and navigate the abilities of bugs and disrupt their body functions.

    This will kill or repel bugs from Cedar wood.


    Cedar wood oil rob bugs of their moisture which cause dehydration. This will kill bugs because insects and bugs are vulnerable to dehydration.


    Cedar oil has the ability to break unmixable fluids until they mix.

    This will break fluids inside of the insects and bugs to repel or kill them. Cedar oil breakdown fat particles inside bugs or insects’ bodies to make them mix with other fluids.

    This will kill bugs instantly.

    Cedar Wood’s Bug Repelling Limitations

    While cedar wood has impressive bug-repelling abilities, these properties aren’t everlasting.

    Ideal conditions could extend its efficacy to about six months, but exposure to outdoor elements and changing weather could reduce this timeframe.

    Additionally, while cedar wood can effectively ward off many types of insects such as termites, fleas, ants, and cockroaches, its effect on other pests like rats is not as strong.

    It’s important to note that while cedar wood can repel bugs, certain insects might still be able to cause minimal surface damage, particularly as the wood ages and its protective elements begin to fade.

    Bugs damaging the wood surface
    Bugs damaging the wood surface

    How Long Does Cedar Repel Bugs?

    Cedar repels bugs for about a year under ideal conditions, 6 months under normal conditions, and 3 months under fair conditions.

    This is highly dependent on,

    • Whether Cedar wood placed in any indoor or outdoor environment
    • Climate
    • Environmental humidity

    The bug-repelling ability of Cedar wood placed outdoor is significantly less than indoor Cedar woodwork.

    Therefore, the bug-repelling ability of outdoor Cedar wood won’t last that much.

    Also, the bug-repelling ability of Cedar wood won’t last for one year under harsh weather conditions.

    Plus, drier climates dry out Cedar wood faster than humid climates.

    Bugs and insects damaging the wood
    Bugs and insects damaging the wood

    What Types of Bugs Does Cedar Repel?

    Cedar wood repels almost any kind of bug. But here’re the bugs and insects that mostly repel from Cedar wood. They are,

    • Bed bugs
    • Woodboring beetles
    • Ladybugs
    • Carpet beetles
    • Cloth eating moths
    • Fleas
    • Ticks
    • Flies
    • Ants
    • Roaches
    • Termites
    • Mosquitoes

    As you can see most of the bugs and insects that repel from Cedar wood are troublemakers.

    But bugs like ladybugs are beneficial to have in your garden because they help to eat pests.

    So, make sure not to use Cedar mulch or woodworks for the area with ladybugs. Try other options.

    Cedar wood is excellent and one of the best wood for raised garden beds because of its cool bug-repelling ability.

    Hope you have found the answer to does Cedar wood repel bugs.

    Dead bugs on cedar wood surface
    Dead bugs on cedar wood surface

    Does Cedar Mulch Repel Bugs?

    Much like cedar wood, cedar mulch also boasts some bug-repelling properties, making it an excellent choice for landscaping and gardening.

    Let’s dig deeper into the world of cedar mulch and its efficacy against bugs.

    Cedar Mulch: A Natural Deterrent for Bugs

    Cedar mulch, derived from the bark and wood of the cedar tree, shares many of the same chemical properties as cedar wood, which contribute to its insect-repelling abilities.

    It contains Thujone, a natural insect deterrent, and releases an aromatic oil with a scent that’s pleasing to humans but repugnant to bugs.

    How Cedar Mulch Works Against Bugs

    1. The Power of Aroma: The first line of defense that cedar mulch uses to repel bugs is its distinctive smell. The strong aroma, much like that of cedar wood, is disliked by many bugs, making it an effective repellent.

    2. Thujone-Induced Repellence: Cedar mulch, like cedar wood, contains Thujone. This substance has a toxic effect on many types of bugs, disrupting their normal physiological functions and warding them off.

    3. Natural Oils: The natural oils in cedar mulch serve a similar purpose as those in cedar wood. They can cause suffocation and disrupt the chemical balance within bugs, leading to their demise. In addition, the oil can dehydrate insects, adding another layer of protection against infestations.

    Cedar Mulch: A Double-Edged Sword?

    While cedar mulch is effective against several types of bugs, it’s important to remember that not all insects are harmful.

    In fact, many play crucial roles in our ecosystems, including those in our gardens.

    Beneficial bugs like ladybugs and some beetles can be driven away by the strong aroma of cedar mulch.

    While the mulch may keep away pests, it might also repel these helpful critters.

    Furthermore, the effectiveness of cedar mulch in repelling bugs diminishes over time as the aromatic oils evaporate and the mulch decomposes.

    This process could leave your garden susceptible to insects once the repelling properties have worn off.

    Regular replacement or supplementation of the mulch can help maintain its insect-repelling properties.

    As you can see, while cedar mulch can help deter many types of bugs from invading your garden, it is not a complete or permanent solution.

    Regular maintenance, paired with other pest management strategies, can help ensure a healthy and bug-free garden.

    Did you Know Fact about Cedar Bug repellent ability
    Did you Know Fact about Cedar Bug repellent ability

    Does Cedar Wood Repel Spiders?

    Yes, Cedarwood repels spiders. Because of the Cedar chemicals, Cedar wood oils and aroma smell spiders repel from Cedar.

    Even though spiders are not insects and have a different metabolism than insets, they repel from Cedar wood.

    Because spiders follow their food sources and to kill the food source they migrate away from our foundations or dark corners.

    Pea gravel is less welcoming to an insect than organic mulch, unlike Cedar wood chips which don’t need regular replacement.

    So, because of not having a good food source, spiders repel away from Cedar wood.

    Plus, even though spiders don’t have a nose to smell, they have chemosensors to detect chemicals in the air.

    Cedar wood chemicals affect those chemosensors which make spiders repel the Cedar wood.

    People use Cedar blocks, shavings, and chips around their houses to repel spiders. Plus, natural spider spray made using Cedar oil repels spiders from indoor or outdoor environments.

    Cedar Bug repellent ability
    Cedar Bug repellent ability

    Does Cedar Repel Bed Bugs?

    Yes, Cedar repels bed bugs. Cedar doesn’t kill bed bugs but repels them from the wood. Cedar chemicals, Cedar wood oils, and unpleasant smells are the reasons to repel bed bugs.

    Bed bugs are unable to tolerate the distinct smell of Cedar.

    But Cedar wood chemicals are not powerful as much to killing bed bugs. They only repel them.

    Wood boring beetles are damaging the wood
    Wood boring beetles are damaging the wood

    Does Cedar Repel Rats?

    Cedar doesn’t repel rats. Even though Cedar chemicals, Cedar wood oils, or unpleasant smells are strong enough to repel or kill insects and bugs, they cannot repel rats.

    The concentration of Cedar chemicals and Cedar wood oils are not enough to repel large creatures like wild rats to repel from the wood.

    But aromatic hydrocarbons in Cedar wood can damage rats’ livers when they inhale wood fiber particles.

    So, Cedar wood is only harmful to rats, not repellent.

    Have a look at the below pic that I’ve received from one of my friends. Funny thing is, this rat isn’t afraid of cedar plank nearby.

    Rat near cedar wood plank
    Rat near cedar wood plank

    Do Bugs Eat Cedar Wood?

    Yes, bugs do eat Cedar wood. But the surface only. Even though Cedar wood is considered an insect/ bugs repellent wood, some pests can eat Cedar wood if they have to.

    If the Cedar wood is old or doesn’t have the repelling ability anymore, bugs tend to eat Cedar wood like other normal woods because it doesn’t have sufficient harmful chemicals and Cedar oils to repel bugs.

    But overall, bugs, insects, or pests are less favorable to Cedar than most other woods because Cedar contains allelochemicals to act as a repellent against insects and bugs.

    Cedar wood patio furniture free of bugs
    Cedar wood patio furniture free of bugs

    What Insects Does Cedar Attract?

    Cedar wood does not attract insects or bugs. Cedar wood contains chemicals, Cedar oil, and a distinct smell that does not attract insects but repels them.

    Insects can eat Cedar wood only if they want to.

    But under a high concentration of Cedar chemicals or Cedar wood oil, insects or bugs are never attracted to the Cedar wood.

    Hope you’ve learned everything you wanted to know about, does Cear repel bugs?

    So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions as well.


    Does Cedar wood repel all types of bugs?

    While cedar wood has proven effective against many bugs like wood termites, ants, fleas, ticks, cockroaches, and mosquitoes, it does not repel all bugs universally. Its effectiveness can vary based on the type of insect and the age or condition of the wood.

    Can cedar wood prevent bug infestations in my home?

    Cedar wood’s natural oils and chemicals can help deter bugs, making it less likely for an infestation to occur, especially for indoor applications. However, it’s not a foolproof solution and should be paired with other pest control methods.

    How long does cedar wood maintain its bug-repelling properties?

    Cedar wood can ward off bugs effectively for up to six months under ideal conditions. However, exposure to harsh elements can reduce this timeframe to as little as three months.

    Does cedar wood kill bugs or just repel them?

    Cedar wood can both repel and kill certain types of bugs. The natural oils it produces can suffocate insects and disrupt their chemical balance, leading to their demise.

    Can cedar repel larger pests, like rats?

    While cedar’s scent and chemicals can deter many insects, they’re not typically strong enough to repel larger creatures like rats.

    Can bugs eat through cedar wood?

    Yes, despite its bug-repelling properties, some insects may still eat and cause damage to cedar wood, especially as the wood ages and loses its natural protective oils and chemicals.

    Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Does Cedar Wood Repel Bugs?

    In this article, we have deeply explored about does Cedar wood repel bugs and how does it happen by taking unique characteristic feature of Cedar wood.

    Cedar wood repels bugs from itself by releasing natural chemicals and oils. The strong aroma smell of Cedar wood repels bugs and insects, because most bugs don’t like the strong characteristic odor of Cedar wood. This will minimize pest invasions and help to protect your furniture and woodworks from bugs and insect attacks.

    Cedar wood has the ability to repel bugs because of its harmful chemicals, Cedar oil, and distinct aroma smell.

    Most of the time those chemicals don’t kill insects but repel them.

    Furthermore, we’ve discussed how long Cedar repels bugs, and what type of bugs Cedar repels

    Plus I’ve answered some frequently asked questions about the repellent ability of Cedar wood against spiders, rats, and bed bugs.

    We have answered in detail why do bugs not like Cedar and what are the occasions that bugs try to eat Cedar wood as well.

    Hope you have gained good knowledge about Cedar wood repels bugs.

    So make sure to use Cedar wood for projects that you desperately need to protect from bugs, insects, and pests. Give cedar a try now!

    Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him! Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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