Cedar Oil



Dermestidae (aka carpet beetles, larder beetles, leather beetles) is the bane of all insect collectors. Multiple collections have been destroyed by these critters. Diligent collectors look for the telltale sign of dusty particles (beetle poop) under their specimens. As a result, they arm themselves with a multitude of chemical fumigants to keep them at bay, some more successful than others. However, to protect your precious collection, it should not come at the expense of your health (and other family members).


Dermestidae Larva
Here are some popular products (and toxicity) used to repel Dermestidae beetles:
However one collector, Mr. Bill Garthe, tested cedar oil to protect his collection. He later reported it on a popular insect forum, InsectNet.com . His posting generated many questions and interests about the possibility of using cedar oil as a safe way to protect a collection. People using moth balls were tired of their houses smelling like a laboratory (or your grandmother’s old clothes chest). This is without mentioning the health hazard associated with the various chemicals.
I have contacted Natural Pest Free, a company who manufactures cedar oil based pest control products. Company representative, Mr. Destin Cummings, describes cedar oil as, “the perfect product to keep the insects away without damaging your collection.”
How cedar oil work is this: Cedar oil affects the pheromone (odor) driven insects by disrupting the octopamineneuron receptors of these pests. This is equivalent to the irritating smell of ammonia to a human. 




Of the wide selection of products that Natural Pest Free offers, one product was suggested as the ideal product: Nature’s Defender, which comes in 3 formats (32 oz. spray, 4 oz. spritzer and 1 gal. jug).
When asked what the difference was between Nature's Defender brand and Nature's Defender PCO Choice brand (requires water dilution 4 oz to 1 gallon of water), Mr. Cummings gave me this answer:
"The difference between the products is this: Natures Defender is 90% cedar oil and 10% silane (melted quarts rock) and The Natures Defender "PCO Choice" is the concentrate that you want to water down(85% cedar oil 15% silane, makes a big difference.) Now the PCO choice is used mainly for outside use, it is used as a barrier protector for your property once you have eradicated the problem. The Natures Defender is the direct contact kill product."


Dermestidae larvae at work
Author: Michal Manas, 30 October 2005

Dermestidae beetle (Wanted: dead or alive!)
Author: Aka 13 July 2006


Mr. Bill Garthe uses a small piece of cork (around 1”x1”) and saturates the cork with the cedar oil. Once prepared, he uses an insect pin to hold them inside the drawer and places two such cork pieces at the extremities of a standard size drawer (3 pieces for a 2’x2’ drawer). In addition, he paints a very small quantity of the cedar oil on the wood lips of the drawers. Considering the small quantity of oil used and the low cost per drawer that it entails, you can probably “recharge” the corks each time the drawer is opened. This can be done with an eyedropper to dispense the oil onto the corks. It was recommended that the drawer be “recharged” twice a year to retain its effectiveness.


Photo courtesy of
Dave Rolfe

Photo courtesy of
Dave Rolfe


In addition, cedar oil can be used as a pest control agent in various situations (dog fleas, bed bugs, snakes and scorpion controls, etc.)
For more information, please contact Natural Pest Free.
I am hoping that this small article will help my fellow collectors make a better decision on how to protect their collection AND health. 





Comments are closed.

left footer navigation Insect-collection Fossil-collection