Cedar’s superpower to combat unwanted bugs, snakes and rodents lies in its distinctive and pleasant earthy smell.

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While it’s common knowledge that cedar chips deter moths from munching on your sweaters and other wool items in summer storage, cedar is also useful in deterring other pests both inside and outside.

Cedar’s superpower to combat unwanted bugs, snakes and rodents lies in its distinctive and pleasant earthy smell. The wood is actually emitting aromatic hydrocarbons (phenols) and acids that act as natural pesticides. When mice and other rodents are exposed to cedar mulch, chips, or shavings, the toxic phenols are absorbed through the respiratory tract and enter the blood system, fatally damaging the liver. The acids released are damaging to the animals’ lungs and trachea.

Choosing cedar to repel pests

“Keep in mind that not all types of wood are effective pest repellents,” says Stacy Kovats, marketing director at Issaquah Cedar and Lumber.  “Western red cedar mulch, chips, shavings or sawdust work best, and the wood is resistant to moisture so it stays fresh longer during our rainy Pacific Northwest fall and winter seasons.”

Use fresh, untreated cedar, as most any stain, paint or waterproofing sealant will seal in the phenols that repel pests. Another reason to avoid finishes and paint on cedar is that the resins in the wood are a solvent like turpentine and the vapors may cause oil- and water-based stains, paints and finishes to soften and become sticky.

6 ways to control pests with cedar

Cedar wood is extremely durable as well as beautiful, making it a great choice for fencing, decorative wood chips and mulching. Now, you can add pest control to the list of advantages. Here are six ways to repel bugs and rodents using cedar.

Fleas and ticks do not like the aroma of cedar, which makes it perfect to protect your pets with no risk of harming them. Use cedar chips along fence lines or in a dog run area.

Cedar mulch is a natural solution to controlling insects as well as essential to suppressing weeds and retaining moisture in the soil. As organic mulch decays, it provides helpful nutrients to the soil, enhancing microbial activity and improving the overall health of your plants.

Try sprinkling cedar chips into your garbage cans for a natural deodorizer as well as a rodent repellant. Adding a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to the mix will keep away raccoons as well!

A decorative bat house made of cedar may be another natural option for insect control. Nearly all breeds of bats native to the U.S. thrive on an insect diet, including disease-carrying mosquitos. A single bat consumes as many as 1,200 mosquito-sized insects every hour after dark, for a total of 6,000 to 8,000 insects each night. Here are easy directions to building your own bat house.

Keep your playground area free of mosquitos, mites, fleas and ants with decorative cedar wood chips.

Indoors, line storage chests with a cedar tray or wood chips to protect blankets, sweaters and other clothing in summer storage from moths and other insects.

Issaquah Cedar and Lumber  has been in business for over 115 years. Specializing in more than Western red cedar, we supply the Puget Sound area with the highest-quality lumber products including siding, fencing, decking, timbers and custom-milled materials.