What Smell Do Ladybugs Hate? (Get Rid Of Them Naturally)

what smell do ladybugs hate

With their bright red and black bodies, ladybugs are one of the cutest insects to exist in our gardens. But when they take over the yard and house, their cuteness turns into something nasty and unbearable.

They settle down in huge quantities – creating a swarm. And let’s not forget the foul-smelling liquid that they release to ward off the predator. It can be very gross!

So, if ladybugs have infested your home or garden, it’s best to get rid of them using smell deterrence. These insects have a strong smell of sense that can be used against them. But, for this to be effective, you should know what smell ladybugs hate.

In today’s post, we will discuss exactly that. Let’s get started!

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What Causes a Ladybug Infestation?

What Causes a Ladybug Infestation?1

When the colder months arrive, ladybugs move into suitable spots for hibernation. They will find dark, warm, and secluded areas. These include rock crevices, rotting logs, tree bark, and even leaf litter.

Once a ladybug has found a hibernating spot, it will secrete aromatic chemicals called pheromones. This will be released periodically as a signal for other ladybugs to come and hibernate.

This creates a swarm of ladybugs – also called an infestation.

Typically, the ladybugs will reuse the same spot for future hibernation periods. However, it’s possible to remove them permanently using smell deterrence.

Signs of a Ladybug Infestation

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Ladybugs don’t hide or camouflage themselves much. You can easily spot an infestation by the huge amount of ladybugs gathered in one place. They are likely to be still and sleeping (hibernation period).

But you may also find some moving around to eat and collect food. If the infestation spot is somehow well-hidden from your sight, look for strange yellow stains in your house.

Ladybugs a yellowish liquid whenever they get scared. This reflex bleeding has a foul odor that is meant to scare away the source of fear (usually predators). However, the smell eventually fades away, and the liquid leaves behind a dirty stain.

So, if you find a lot of strange stains on your walls and furniture fabric, follow them until you reach the infestation spot.

Why Are Ladybugs Attracted to Your House?

Our homes have multiple hidden places for a ladybug to hibernate. These include window panes, exterior walls, cracks, drainage pipes, and basements.

But, while ladybugs can infest any house, they are attracted to houses that receive more sunlight or heat. The warmth helps them survive the cold winter months. They are also more inclined towards building with bold contrasting colors.

The dark-light combinations provide them with ideal spots to hide and protect themselves against predators. Moreover, they also enjoy inhabiting houses near the woods and grassy lands.

What Smell Do Ladybugs Hate?

What Smell Do Ladybugs Hate?1

Ladybug infestations are fairly easy to deal with. You don’t need to purchase insecticides or call pest control professionals. Just place natural smell deterrents and watch them work like magic!

This is because ladybugs have a powerful sense of smell. They have special smell organs on their antennae and feet that help them detect nearby predators, mates, and food items. If a ladybug likes a smell, it will move in that direction and vice versa.

So, if ladybugs have invaded your house, don’t panic and use the following smells to deter them:

1. Bay leaves

Bay leaves are a common pantry item that we use in soups, stews, and sauces. Most people also like to add fresh or dried leaves as garnishing to the dishes. But, apart from enhancing the flavor of food, bay leaves also have a hidden power – they repel ladybugs!

This herb has a floral scent that can be described as a mix between thyme and oregano. What’s more, it has two important chemicals:

  • Eugenol
  • Linalool

Both of these produce a smell that repels ladybugs. So, if you have some extra bay leaves, put them in a food processor or grinder to crush them. You can also create a powder, but you will need to use a lot of it for effective results.

Once crushed, scatter the leaves wherever the ladybugs are present. Another approach is to place some crushed bay leaves in a cheesecloth bag, tie it, and hang it near the ladybug infestation.

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2. Citrus Oils

All citrus fruits have a zesty smell that comes from the chemical compound – limonene. When ladybugs inhale this citrusy odor, limonene enters their body and overstimulates their senses. It disorients them and makes it hard to do anything.

This is why ladybugs hate the smell of citrus fruits. They never come near gardens with orange and lemon trees. And, if they accidentally come across citrus peels, they will run away immediately.

So, the quickest way to get rid of ladybugs is to spread citrus fruit peels around the house and yard. You can also add citrus essential oils to the diffuser and place it in the room with ladybug infestation.

If that’s not possible, take an empty spray bottle and fill it with water. Add a few drops of concentrated citrus essential oil and shake the bottle. Spray the liquid on the window pane, wooden crevices, and other hidden ladybug spots.

3. Citronella Oil

Citronella Oil1

Citronella oil is a type of essential oil extracted from different species of the Cymbopogon grass family. It has an overwhelming grassy smell that masks the scent of aphids and other food items. This forces the ladybugs to leave the area.

Like citrus oils, you can either use a diffuser or spray bottle to spread the smell of citronella oil in infested places. Or, if you want to keep the ladybugs away forever, consider planting citronella grass in your garden. You can also use citronella candles to prevent ladybugs from coming indoors.

4. Cloves

Just like bay leaves, cloves have an abundance of eugenol that produces a woody, herbal scent. It messes up with the ladybug’s olfactory system, which explains why these insects hate the smell so much.

You can randomly scatter cloves around the infested area. But if you want the results to be quick, fill small bags with cloves and drop them at equal distances. This will create a powerful scent barrier that will drive ladybugs out of your house.

If the infestation is in the garden or multiple places, make a spray solution. Fill an empty spray bottle with 1 cup of room-temperature water. Then, add 10 to 15 drops of concentrated cloves essential oil.

Use this spray generously over the infested spots.

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5. Mums

Mums (also called Chrysanthemum) is a beautiful plant that blooms in the fall season. Its bronze, russet, gold, and orange colored flowers compliment the autumn months well. But what is more amazing about this plant is its smell.

The sweet, floral odor has a unique undertone, like menthol. Depending on the type, some mum plants have peppery notes in their scent. While all of these smells are heavenly to us, they are disgusting to ladybugs.

And so, these pesky insects will hibernate in the same area. The only problem is that mums don’t bloom in any other season. So, you can only plant mums to repel ladybugs during their hibernation period.

6. Mint


The minty smell is awful for ladybugs. Its powerful sharp smell confuses a ladybug and drives it away. So, if you’ve anything minty in the house, use it to deter these red-and-black pests!

You can use peppermint, spearmint, camphor, and even catnip. As long as the plant belongs to the mint family, it will work against ladybug infestations. But you need to be careful about how you use it.

If you scatter the mint leaves around the house, the scent won’t be powerful enough. You must bundle them together and drop bags (like we did for bay leaves). Or, you can get dried powder form and make a spray solution.

Another way is to purchase essential oil and pour it into the diffuser. This will spread the minty smell throughout your house and get ladybugs out.

7. Lavender

Lavender has a calming and stress-relieving effect on us. But for ladybugs, it has a distressful effect that forces them to change their location instantly. They just can’t bear the strong sweet odor!

So, it’s best to plant lavender outside your house. If you can’t wait for the seeds to grow into a plant, purchase adult plants from the nurseries and flower shops. Shift the plant into your garden soil or place the pots on your porch.

Another simple method is to use lavender essential oil or sachets. For essential oils, you can either use the diffuser or make a solution (see citrus oils). For sachets, first, make sure you purchase heavily scented dried lavender leaves.

Otherwise, the scent barrier won’t be potent enough to drive the ladybugs away. You will also have to use a lot of sachets, which can make it an expensive option. So, once you’ve bought the right sachets, hang them around the infested areas.


To recap, ladybugs like to infest warm, dark, and isolated areas to hibernate for the winter months. They will leave the place after winter and return to the same spot next year.

So, if your house has been invaded by these bugs, it’s important to know what smell ladybugs hate. Some natural repellents include:

  • Bay Leaves
  • Citrus Oil
  • Citronella Oil
  • Cloves
  • Mums
  • Mint
  • Lavender

Spread these scents around the infested spot and watch the ladybugs leave immediately. Good luck!

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