Science project

Cinnamon Bug Repellent: Sweet Relief?


Can cinnamon oil repel bugs?


  • 3 apples
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon oil
  • 3 plates
  • 3 labels
  • Permanent marker
  • Timer
  • Knife
  • Adult
  • Outdoor spot with plenty of mosquitoes


  1. Have an adult cut your apple in to four equal sections.
  2. Eat one of the apple sections -- this is important for the sake of deliciousness.
  3. Put your remaining three apple slices on three separate plates.
  4. Use a permanent marker to label each plate with the name of the oil you will be testing: vegetable oil, olive oil and cinnamon oil.
  5. Put the plates in the outdoor spot. Spread the plates out so that there is at least a foot between each plate.
  6. Pour the vegetable over one apple slice, olive oil over another and cinnamon oil over the last. Make sure the oil you pour matches up with each label.
  7. Set your timer for 30 minutes.
  8. Leave the apples alone. Do not go near the plates.
  9. When the timer dings, slowly approach the plates. Which apple slice has the least amount of mosquitoes on it?


The cinnamon oil apple as the least amount of mosquitoes on it.


Cinnamon oil has chemicals that kill mosquito eggs. Mosquitoes aren't stupid -- they can smell cinnamon (just like we can), and they know to stay away. Vegetable and olive oil do not have the same kind of special chemicals that cinnamon oil has. That's why their apples still attracted the pesky insects.

So now you know cinnamon oil works to repel mosquitoes from apples, but does it work on people? Try comparing cinnamon bug repellent with real bug repellant to see which one can keep your friends and family members more bug-free. Guessing new ways to experiment and then testing those experiments are what scientists do every day -- why not join in on the fun?

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