Herbs for Insect Control

The Herbal Control of Fleas and other insects

Controlling fleas with herbs reduces the effect of chemicals on other insects and plants, and the soil, air and water.

Herbs reduce the load chemicals place on the pets immune system.

Herbs provide a cheap, ever present source of insect control. The picture here is of some Casia trees, there are lots of different species of these, for this one the bark is a parasite control, the leaves are a gut tonic and can reduce worm burdens.

Flea facts

1. Only 10% of a pet's flea or lice  burden is present at one time on the pet

2.  Fleas and lice live in the pet's environment. The pet is dinner, not home, to the flea. Once the louse attaches, the pet is its home.Mites and immature ticks also hop on and off.  Depleted soils eg of sulphur, are attractive to fleas. Old hay and mulch is loved by mites. Ticks can becarried in blankets and camping gear, immature ticks can survive a long time off the host.

3. Fleas cannot live and breed as easily in the home if it is carpet free, a vaccuum cleanert is a flea's greatest enemy...put anti flea and lice  herbs into the vacuum bag, and empty straight away. The vibration of a vaccuum cleaner may cause flea egg hatching, repeat repeat repeat vacuuming. Remember the car.

4. The pet less attractive to fleas if it is well mineralised, it is  and its circulation is strong; unhealthy and aging animals are more attractive to fleas, lice and ticks.

5. If fleas are regularly removed from the pet, its freinds, and the environment, the pet won't have so many. Fleas and lice, and immature ticks can hop from animal to animal. In summer, a pet may need to be bathed once or twice a week in a herbal tea or even combed with dilute  herbal oils daily. Herbs contain low levels of detergents compared to chemical shampoos and do not remove oils from the coat. If the pet is very dirty, the worst of the dirt should be combed out or washed out with rainwater before the herbal treatment. Herbal sprays can also be tick repellant though nothing replaces checking. Herbal sprays can also wash off, they last longer in an oil base.

6. 100% removal of fleas is not possible unless the dog has a sanitised home and never goes outside. Flea chemicals have short lifespans, one to three years usually as he fleas become resistant. Flea chemical can be a lifesaver, the less they are used, the less resistance. It may be useful to use them in the summer and stop in the winter if the environment has been well cleaned.The best way is not to use them at all. However fleas can suck a large amount of blood from a pet and chemicals can be useful while all the other measures are put in place.

7. If a pet is given chemicals, the owner is also exposed to the chemical. The more the owner or child pats and rubs onto the dog, the greater the exposure.

Treating the Home and Garden : Treating the home

Grow herbs among the other plants.

  • Grow herbs in window boxes inside the house
  • Wash the floors and cement with herbal teas and/or hot water with added herbal oils. Replace carpets with mats which can be easily cleaned and aired in the sun
  • Treat mats with dried herbs and vacuum regularly before sunning
  • Herbs can be crushed , dried and sprinkled on mats, then left for 24 hours before vacuuming
  • Place dried herbs in pillows on which the dogs and cats sleep
  • Put dried herbs under the mattresses and sheets and cushions where dogs and cats sleep
  • Sprinkle dried herbs around skirting boards
  • Put dried herbs or herbal teas in all the spots where the dogs sleep in the garden
  • When preparing a new garden bed, rake dried herbs into the soil
  • If there is a neighbour who has no flea control, plant a solid bank of herbs along the adjoining fences
  • Use herbal oils in burners

Herbs to use

Group 1

Rosemary, Oregano, Basil : Safe for internal use, good as mixed banks in gardens, or sequential banks

Group 2

Fennel and Lemon Grass, Pennyroyal, Billygoats buttons, Lavender, Thyme. Eucalyptus. (In pregnancy do not use Pennyroyal or Thyme.)

Limitted Internal use

Group 3

Verbena , Eclipta, Plaintain, Dock, Sorrel.

Weeds, all safe for internal use.in small quantities

Group 4

Tansy and Pyrethrum daisy, Wormwood and Rue and Neem, .Pepper Capsicum Chilli  

Not recommended for internal use. Tansy and Pyrethrum daisy are for planting only. Rue and wormwood and Neem and Cedar oil , or as spays for flooring, or as  dried herb in pillows and floors, not as a skin wash.

None of group 4 should be used in Aromatherapy if you and the pet a breathing them, go out for the day or morning, air when you come home..

Group 5

Garlic, Coriander, Mint, Chives, Savory. Good for planting and as part of bathing, and giving internally. These are good digestive herbs and make the animal stronger. They can be part of a herbal planting program but are not anti flea.

When making environmental treatments, use at least 1 herb from each group.

Making the pet unattractive to Insect parasites

A diet rich in Vitamin B, minerals and fatty acids reduces flea burdens.

Flaxseed oil is a cheap source of fatty acids. Dose is 1 ml per 10 kg of body weight. Many pets need more than this. For higher doses consult your vet.

Brewers yeast and liver are good sources of vitamin B. Dose is 1 teaspoon of yeast per 10 kg and 1 dessertspoon of cooked liver per 20 kg body weight. Yeast is not recomended if the pet has yeast infections.

Minerals come from marrowbones and vegetables, and small quantties of organic offal, 1 teaspoon per 10 kg body weight..  Animals using raw offal should be tapewormed regularly.

Bones should be given raw daily.

Vegetables in small amounts e.g.: 1 dessertspoon of cooked vegetable, or 1 teaspoon of grated raw vegetable per 10 kg pet. Animals will eat vegetables to fulfill needs, they will often refuse some vegies once the need is met, and return to them again later.

Treating the pet

Flea collars can be made with herbal oils.

Flea sprays can be made with herbal tea, oils and water.

Herbs, fresh, dried and as oils and extracts, can be used as bath additives.

Dried herbs can be combed through the coat.

Diluted herbal oils can be combed through the coat.

Aroma therapy mixtures can be made:

Stimulants: Sage, Eucalyptus, Thyme, Tea tree

Sedatives: Oregano, Basil, Lavender, Chamomille

House cleansing while the pet is out for a walk:. Cedar oil, Citronella, good for mosies as well.

The following is a enerl recipe for an mix. Treat the pet, not the fleas.

Recipe for an oil mix spray

2 drops of lavender oil, 1 drop of pennyroyal oil, 2 drops of eucalyptus oil, 25 mls of almond oil. Mix well. Vary oils as needed.

Flea collar

Take a cloth collar. Every 1 cm around the collar, add 2 to 4 drops of this recipe. Put the collar in a plastic bag and let the oil diffuse through the collar. Let it sit for 24 hours, then place around the pets neck. When the oils no longer smell, rejuvenate as above.

A cloth collar can be made by binding padding over an old leather collar, or plaiting thick cotton and weaving a collar.

Flea spray 1

Add 10 drops of this recipe mixture to 2 cups of hot water and 1 dessertspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a spray bottle.

Shake well. When cool, spray on the coat and comb gently though with a fine toothcomb.

Flea spray 2

Soak 1 dessert spoon of fresh herbs e.g. a mix of lavender, verbena and basil or lemon scented gum leaves, in 2 cups of hot water for 20 minutes, strain, put in spray bottle and use as above.

Crush the herbs before pouring the water on them.

Single herbs or combinations may be used. Pennyroyal is not recommended in pregnant animals where Rosemary and Basil are pleasant. Be guided by the pet's reactions. Lavender is always good. A little fennel may increase the milk supply.


Crush the herbs as above, pour on the hot water and allow them to infuse. Pour the infusion into the lukewarm bath and wash the pet. Do not wash a pet with anything that it cannot take internally as it will lick it off. I do not use eucalyptus and pennyroyal oils in baths, although I will use the fresh herbs where the delivery of volatile oils is less. A drop of rosemary and sage oil in a bath is sufficient.

Allow the herbs to dry in the coat.


All substances may induce allergies, especially if associated with unpleasant experiences. Try to make you flea treatment as pleasant as possible for your pet. If your pet is allergic to a herb, it will develop a rash within 24 hours. If you have a pet which has allergies, try a small quantity of herb first and apply it only to a 20 cent diameter area of skin. Wait 48 hours and assess the reaction.