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do rats hate the smell of lavender?

Does Lavender Keep Rats Away?

(Last Updated On: June 4, 2022)

Rat infestations are among homeowners’ greatest fears. While there are rodenticides that can eradicate rats, they often contain harmful chemicals to the environment.

Fortunately, natural alternatives such as lavender allow you to deter rats safely.

While most people find the scent of lavender pleasant and use it as an air freshener, rats detest its strong odor. This makes lavender a good choice for repelling rats.

Lavender can assist with a rodent infestation and deter new rats from entering your home.

Do Rats Hate The Smell Of Lavender?

Rats detest the scent of lavender and steer clear of areas where the smell lingers. So, lavender is considered one of the most efficient natural rodent repellents.

The idea that rats would be repelled by lavender might seem odd to most people, given that most humans find the scent of lavender appealing and calming.

Lavender is an essential oil commonly used for aromatherapy and as an air freshener. However, rats abhor its scent largely has to do with their ultrasensitive olfactory senses.

According to Genome Biology, rats have a more evolved olfactory repertoire than other mammals, including humans.

While humans only have 350-400 olfactory receptors, it’s estimated that rats have 1500-2000. So, this makes their sense of smell highly developed in comparison to humans.

The superior olfaction in rats is critical to their survival. It enables them to detect the scent of food and thus locate food sources. This is how rats end up getting into people’s homes in the first place.

Additionally, the excellent sense of smell makes it possible for rats to detect the presence of predators lurking in their environment, even without spotting them visually.

Rats do this by picking up the pheromones of predators that are present in urine and other secretions. Male rats can also detect the pheromones produced by female rats, which compels them to mate.

While the advanced sense of smell found in rats is crucial for their survival, they can be easily overwhelmed by scents that humans don’t otherwise find offensive. Even relatively mild scents, such as lavender, can be very overpowering and repulsive for rats.

does lavender deter rats?

What Ingredients Are Found In Lavender?

The active ingredients in lavender oil are monoterpenes, including:

  • Linalyl acetate
  • Linalool
  • Lavandulol
  • Terpinen-4-ol
  • Bornyl acetate
  • Geraniol
  • Borneol
  • Eucalyptol
  • Terpineol
  • Lavandulol acetate

According to Molecules, different types of lavender oil may have various anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, depending on their chemical composition.

For lavender essential oil to have good anti-microbial properties, it must have a high and nearly equal content of linalool and linalyl acetate (a ratio above one).

High concentrations of lavandulol and its acetate are also preferable, as they give the oil a distinctive floral aroma. For lavender oil to have the best anti-microbial effects, the ratio of the composition sum of linalyl acetate and linalool to terpinol should be more than 13. High concentrations of cineole and terpinol can significantly lower the quality of the oil.

Of all the anti-microbial compounds found in lavender oil, linalool has been proven to be the strongest active agent against a wide variety of microorganisms. Meanwhile, borneol and eucalyptol are the main ingredients in lavender essential oils with high anti-parasitic properties. 

Terpineol and cineol have been demonstrated to have high anti-fungal properties against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive fungi.

Does Lavender Deter Rats?

Lavender has a potent fragrance that is repulsive to rats.

As mentioned, rats have a highly evolved sense of smell compared to humans, so any strong scents in their environment irritate them.

For this reason, natural essential oils such as lavender are highly effective at driving out rats and keeping them away from your home.

Do Rats Hate Lavender Plants?

Lavender has a potent smell that rats find unpleasant.

So, growing lavender plants in your garden can help prevent rats from nesting there. You can also sprinkle some lavender stalks or leaves around your crops to deter rats from attacking your garden.

How To Use Lavender Oil To Deter Rats

Using essential oils like lavender to keep rats away is one of the simplest, most affordable, and safest ways of dealing with a rodent problem in your home.

Unlike commercial rodenticides, lavender oil does not contain any synthetic chemicals that may be toxic to the environment. This makes it one of the most preferred rodent control solutions by most homeowners.

If you’re currently dealing with a rodent infestation in your home and wish to pursue this option, here is a step-by-step guide on how to deter rats using lavender oil:

Step One

Most essential oils come with an eyedropper for ease of application. The first thing you need to do is pull out the eyedropper and squeeze the bulb to expel any air it might contain.

Step Two

Dip the eyedropper into the vial of lavender essential oil and release the bulb. This will allow the eyedropper to fill up with lavender oil.

how to use lavender oil to repel rats

Step Three

Remove the eyedropper from the vial of lavender essential oil and press the bulb to release about 10 drops of lavender oil onto a cotton ball.

Repeat this step with several other cotton balls so that they are all soaked with lavender oil.

Step Four

Strategically place the cotton balls along paths that rats normally use to forage for food, as well as any other locations where the rodents tend to frequent.

If you’re not sure, check for signs of rat activity, such as the presence of:

  • Rat urine
  • Droppings
  • Smear marks

One of the advantages of using cotton balls soaked with lavender oil is that placing them in areas with rat urine allows the cotton balls to soak up the urine. It will then dilute the smell, thus preventing your home from stinking.

It is worth bearing in mind that the scent of lavender oil reduces in potency when exposed to the air for prolonged periods of time.

For this reason, you should remember to replace the lavender-soaked cotton balls with freshly prepared ones every few days. Do so until there are no more signs of rodents in your home.

Will Lavender Oil Kill Rats?

Lavender oil is not lethal to rats. However, it acts as a powerful deterrent against rodents due to its strong scent. As mentioned, rats have a sensitive sense of smell. This means that even scents most humans consider mild can be highly unsettling for rats.

For this reason, placing cotton balls soaked with lavender oil around high rodent activity areas in your home can prevent them from nesting inside your home.

Like most natural remedies, the use of lavender oil as a rat repellent works best if you are attempting to drive out a handful of rats.