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

does cedar wood 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 bugs attacks.

But, when it comes to Cedar wood I was always wondering, Does Cedar wood repel bugs?

Here’s what I learned:

Yes, Cedar wood repels bugs from itself by releasing natural chemicals and oils. Plus, 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.

But there’s more to know.

In this article we’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 under does Cedar wood repel bugs as well.

Let’s get started.

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 bugs 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.

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 release 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.

Because of the chemicals and oils inside Cedar wood, insects and bugs repel or kill by,

  • Suffocation
  • Changing the chemical balance of their bodies
  • Dehydration
  • Emulsification


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.

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.

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
  • 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.

So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about the bug-repelling ability of Cedar wood.

Does Cedar Wood Repel Spiders?

Yes, Cedar wood 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 that 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.

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.

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.

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 to repel 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.

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.

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 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 and 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 repel bugs.

So make sure to use Cedar wood for projects that you desperately need to protect from bugs, insects, and pests. Have fun in woodworking!

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!

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