Bay Leaves to Get Rid of Bugs
Bay Leaves to Get Rid of Bugs. Bay leaves contain natural volatile oil from the bay laurel tree. In addition to flavoring food, bay leaves have a reputation for repelling pantry pests, ants and cockroaches. Try bay leaves to protect dried food and get rid of bugs in your kitchen. A compound in bay leaves, eucalyptol, is a natural repellent to the American cockroach, Kansas State University researchers reported in the "Ohio Journal of Science."
Bay leaves have a history as a folk remedy. The oil from bay laurel leaves and berries is used as a rub for bruises and sprains. Bay's role as a folk remedy extends to hysteria, rheumatism pain and gas. Although bay leaves may repel some insects, and it has the advantage of being safe to use in dried foods and in the kitchen, it may not be sufficient by itself to prevent or end insect infestation.
The active ingredient in bay leaves that may help to get rid of bugs bears the common name cineole or eucalyptol. To preserve the active ingredient, avoid heating, microwaving or exposing the bay leaves to direct sunlight. If you have a bay tree, cutting stems of fresh bay leaves will give you a plentiful supply. Bay leaves are also sold for cooking. You can find them in the spice aisle.
Washing and drying bay leaves thoroughly prior to use will help prevent contamination. Placing bay leaves directly from a tree into a pantry could infest the pantry with any eggs or larvae present on the leaves. Rinsing them well in a colander and patting them dry with a towel prepares them for use. Crush the bay leaves to release their oils and aroma. Placing the bay leaves in small baskets or other containers makes it convenient to remove and replace them without leaving a mess.
There isn't sufficient evidence that bay leaves protect stored food from insects. Use clean, impermeable food storage containers such as metal or glass to store food. Dispose of food infested by insects. Insects leave feces and eggs in food. Store susceptible foods such as flour and other staples in the freezer to protect them from bugs if you've had bugs in your cupboards, the University of Minnesota Extension advises.
- University of California Davis: Good Life Garden; April 2011
- "Ohio Journal of Science"; Determining the Active Component in 1,3,3-Trimenthly-2-Oxabicyclo [2,2,2] Octane (Cineole); R. Scriven and C. E. Meloan; 1984
- University of Minnesota Extension: Insect Pests of Stored Foods; Donald Lewis et al.; August 1995