How Do Bed Bugs React To Alcohol
Don’t Pour Alcohol on Your Bed Bugs—Try These Tips Instead
Getting bed bugs is a nightmare experience, one that’s sure to cost you oodles of time, money, and emotional distress. The bugs are painfully hard to purge from your household, and it’s getting even harder as they become more resistant to common insecticides. Unfortunately, home remedies are often no match for these parasitic insects. Dousing them with rubbing alcohol (a tip you’ll often hear) won’t kill them; in fact, it might just burn your house down, as a woman trying to rid her Cincinnati apartment of bed bugs found out recently. AsThe Washington Postreported, the alcohol in that case was too close to the flame of a candle or some type of incense, and ignited. It wasn’t an isolated incident.
In the last 10 years or so, people trying to kill bed bugs with alcohol have started several house fires across the U.S., including a different incident in Cincinnati just two weeks ago. So short of burning down your entire house and starting over, how do you get rid of them?
The short answer is: Give up on the idea of saving money and call an exterminator. According to 2014 research, plenty of DIY bed bug-killing remedies are woefully ineffective. Rubbing alcohol, in fact, only killed half of the insects sprayed by the Rutgers University researchers in that study. Researchers have found that other recommended home remedies, like moth balls, foggers, or ultrasonic bug repellers, are even less effective. And don’t even think about using “natural” type products that use essential oils as the main ingredient. They might smell nice, but they won’t help your bug problem.
But before you call in the big guns, therearea few effective, concrete steps you can take to reduce your infestation. As Rutgers bedbug specialists Changlu Wang and Richard Cooper wrote in their bed bug fact sheet, putting your belongings in plastic storage bins or garbage bags is a good place to start. Since the bugs don’t like to climb on smooth plastic, this can help contain the infestation. Just make sure to treat whatever you’re putting inside the bags or bins first by putting them through the hot laundry, steaming, heating, or freezing them.
You’ll need a mattress encasement, too. This will keep the bugs that have already infested your mattress from escaping, meaning they won’t be able to feast on you anymore and will die of starvation. Nor will any new bugs be able to get inside to nest. You’ll want to make sure it’s a scientifically tested brand, though, since not all mattress encasements are bite-proof or escape-proof for bed bugs. (Most experts recommend the Protect-a-Bed BugLock encasement, which costs about $81 for the queen-sized version.)
Next, pick up some bed bug traps. Set them up under the legs of your furniture and around the perimeter of rooms to help detect new infestations and reduce existing ones. According to Wang and Cooper, a one-bedroom apartment might need eight to 12 of these traps, while bigger apartments will require more.
You’ll want to expose all your belongings to extreme temperatures before you even think about touching them again. Putting them through the washer/dryer on its hottest setting will do the trick to kill both bugs and their eggs, but if you need to eradicate bugs lurking in items you can’t wash, you can freeze them in plastic bags (as long as your freezer gets down to 0°F). You can also kill them with a steam cleaner, especially if you need to purge them from your couch or other upholstered furniture.
If you’ve still got a large number of bugs lurking in your house, you can tackle them with a vacuum cleaner, sucking them out of seams, zippers, trim, and other furniture crevices. But you’ll want to use a stocking or some other method of protecting your vacuum from being infested itself. (See Figure 6 here.)
Some research has also found that desiccant dusts that dehydrate bugs to death, like diatomaceous earth and silica gel, can be effective at controlling bed bug infestations (silica gel in particular) when spread around the perimeters of rooms, on bed frames and couches, and on furniture legs.
As we mentioned before, you’ll probably want to consult a professional even if you do all of the above, because if you miss even one bug or egg, you’ll be back to where you started. The cost of an exterminator pales in comparison to the cost of throwing out everything you own, moving homes, and then realizing you’ve brought the bed bugs with you anyway.
The bad news for anyone who’s already infested is that prevention really is key when it comes to bed bugs. So brush up on what the pests look like, make sure to check your hotel room for them when you travel, and if you spot them in your apartment, make sure to warn your neighbors.
Does Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs: Fact or Myth
Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?
A bed bug infestation can immediately change your home from a place of comfort to a miserable place filled with creepy crawlies that can bite you anytime.
Over the course of their existence, bed bugs have become quite resistant to common pesticides, and as a result, their population has grown, resulting in frequent bed bugs infestation.
As homeowners are desperate to kill every little bed bug, they are constantly in search of DIY remedies. One of the most common pest control solutions that homeowners use is rubbing alcohol or Isopropyl alcohol. In fact, there are numerous sprays available on the market for killing bed bugs that contain alcohol.
Thus, the question that arises here is, does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs?
Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?
It is important to note that rubbing alcohol can indeed kill, repel bed bugs and control a bed bug infestation; however, the relief should be seen as temporary. In minor infestations, alcohol can be used to eradicate a bed bug infestation. In addition, like bed bugs, rubbing alcohol can be used to kill ticks and also disinfect the infected area.
However, please note in case of a major infestation, it is important that you get in touch with a professional exterminator.
How does alcohol kill bed bugs?
Rubbing alcohol has a few properties that make it effective for killing bed bugs. Since it is a solvent, rubbing alcohol can kill the insects by dissolving the cells. Moreover, rubbing alcohol is a drying agent which means that it can destroy the eggs of the bed bugs by drying them.
While bed bugs may seem quite tough, their skin is actually highly sensitive. So, when they are exposed to alcohol, they often die immediately. Moreover, alcohol is fairly dangerous for most of the bed bugs’ organs. When alcohol makes contact with the organs inside, it burns them, thus messing with the physiology of the bug. Furthermore, alcohol also destabilizes the bed bug’s pH which causes a disruption in their internal fluid flow.
Alcohol also repels the bugs, thus discouraging them from laying eggs or crawling on such surfaces that have been treated with it. As a result, spraying the furniture and bedding with alcohol has become a common and cheap solution for terminating bed bugs.
Furthermore, the reason behind their quick multiplication is their ability to lay hundreds of eggs at a time. By learning how to attack the bed bug’s eggs, you can help prevent the multiplication of these pests. Remember that by getting rid of the eggs way before they hatch, there is a high chance of completely eradicating these bugs from spreading throughout your house.
When using alcohol for killing bed bugs, make sure that you use a spray bottle. Not only is this the easiest way, but is also the safest considering the toxic properties of alcohol.
Types of alcohol
There are three kinds of Isopropyl alcohols that can be used for killing bed bugs.
How to use rubbing alcohol to kill bed bugs
Getting rid of bed bugs using alcohol is fairly easy and only involves a few steps which are:
1. Vacuum the house
The entire house must be vacuumed including the areas behind the furniture and under the bed. You must also include the upholstered furniture and curtains present around the house in your vacuum session. Then, after you are done, you need to dispose the vacuum bag away from your house.
2. Get large sized alcohol bottles
The majority of stores sell the alcohol you need for this process by gallons. If you have any empty spray bottles lying around the house, you can fill them up with alcohol and then use it around the house. It is recommended you go for large spraying bottles.
3. Remove all sheets and covers
Remove all of the pillowcases, sheets, and bed clothing, etc. and seal them in plastic bags. However, before you seal them, spray the items with alcohol so that it kills any present bed bugs, larvae, and eggs. In case of a large infestation, bag all of the linen, clothing, and other items from each room and spray alcohol on it.
4. Wipe the furniture
Wipe all of the furniture including the headboards and box springs as well as all of the electronic goods with alcohol treated wipes. By spraying 91% alcohol, you can get rid of the larvae and eggs that are hiding in the crevices and cracks of every room.
5. Spray alcohol on suspected bed bug hideouts
Now, this doesn’t mean to go drench your house with alcohol, don’t forget alcohol is highly flammable!
Isopropyl alcohol can be sprayed around your home, this will repel the bed bugs from finding a new home in your house.
You MUST make sure that you avoid electrical sockets, (switch off the fuse box if available). Further, avoid using fires or smoking in areas where you have sprayed.
6. Pair it up with other treatments
We suggest combining the alcohol treatment with other bed bug removal techniques such as bed bug sprays or steam cleaning since this greatly improves the chances of terminating bed bugs completely.
Is Alcohol an Effective Bed Bug Killer?
Rubbing alcohol as well as 70% and 91% Isopropyl alcohols can be effectively used to temporarily get rid of bed bug infestations. While a majority of the sprays can get rid of the bugs, expert entomologists suggest using alcohol with higher concentrations to get rid of bugs.
Take note that bed bugs that are sprayed with the regular Isopropyl alcohol aren’t too affected by it. In fact, they can live up to 4 days after being initially exposed. Therefore, alcohol isn’t an ideal solution for permanent termination of bed bugs.
Moreover, rubbing alcohol can evaporate quite quickly. So, you will need to go through with numerous treatments so that you can get control over the bug infestation. It can take up to around two weeks for the bed bugs to hatch. So, you will have to spray the infested area with alcohol after every two or three days to kill these critters and stop eggs from hatching.
Effects of using isopropyl alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol must be used carefully as it can cause a number of problems.
Firstly, it combusts easily, making it a dangerous substance that can lead to severe burns to a person affected by an explosion. Moreover, acute exposure to the isopropyl alcohol can irritate the skin and eyes. Furthermore, it can also cause internal irritation and can affect the mucous membranes which include the throat and nose.
Exposure to such alcohol can also lead to dizziness and poor sensory coordination. In fact, it can also lead to a condition called Narcosis which temporarily distorts consciousness.
Should I use alcohol to kill bed bugs?
We Hope haven’t scared you too much.
Now that you have the answer to the question ‘does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs?’ the next question is whether you should use it or not?
If you are well aware of all the places where the bed bugs are hiding around the house, then using alcohol may be a good idea, but not an ideal one.
On the other side, other reports have stated alcohol as not a good solution for bed bugs.We would like to give our input and say, although alcohol can kill bed bugs as previously stated, it is not an ideal solution.
Remember that using alcohol alone won’t make your house free of bed bugs. In fact, excess use of the alcohol or any other repellant for that matter will only drive the bed bugs away from the infested space and make them spread into other areas around the house.
Moreover, a large amount of alcohol, if used around the house can react with the chemicals used by the exterminator, making it less effective at terminating the bugs.
When it comes to the question ‘does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs?’
Alcohol can eradicate bed bugs in early infestations. But it isn’t an ideal solution.
It is important to know that rubbing alcohol only kills and repels the bed bugs so that you can sleep soundly. Despite being helpful for preventing the multiplication of bugs, the effects of alcohol on serious infestations are limited.
Does Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs – Conclusion
So, does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs?
Recent studies show that using alcohol to kill bed bugs may be ineffective in the long-run. And therefore should be seen as atemporary solution.However, you must keep in mind the limited effectiveness of alcohol as well as the side effects it can have.
It might be quite difficult to control the infestations with only alcohol. As soon as you spot a bedbug’s hiding spot or an egg in your house, you must immediately work on bed bug termination methods.
In worse case scenarios, since alcohol might take longer to produce results, call your local exterminator.While you wait for your quite late exterminator appointment, you can spray alcohol around the infected area to prevent bed bugs from multiplying.
Will Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?
Do you think you might have a bed bug infestation? If you have unexplained bumps that showed up overnight, found tiny exoskeletons hidden in your sheets in the morning, and you used a flashlight to find little bugs on your mattress, you are likely dealing with the dreaded bed bug. At first sign of an infestation, people often Google a variety of DIY methods. Do heat treatments work? Can you vacuum them away? Will alcohol kill bed bugs? Today, we answer the last question.
Will Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?
Yes and no. Rubbing alcohol can kill bed bugs and eggs, but it’s not likely going to take care of your infestation. It kills insects by dissolving their cells and destroys eggs by drying them out. When sprayed, rubbing alcohol can discourage the bugs from crawling and laying eggs on the treated surface.
Here’s the bottom line: It’s not effective enough. Rutgers University conducted a research study in 2013 about the effectiveness of alcohol killing bed bugs. They discovered half the bed bugs sprayed with rubbing alcohol were still alive after four days. You don’t want half of your infestation gone…you want no survivers. That’s why the alcohol method isn’t your best choice against bed bugs.
Don’t Deal with Bed Bugs Alone.
Bed bugs might be small, but they are a big problem. The good news is that you don’t have to deal with them on your own. The pest professionals at Green Pest Solutions have dealt with the dreaded bed bug before. If all else fails, or if you want to take some preventative measures to stave off another outbreak, please consider giving us a call to schedule a free consultation. Contact us today at 877-636-9469.
Bed Bugs Facts and Checklist
Remember how to identify common bed bugs that might have invaded your home and how to get rid of them.
Bed Bugs and Alcohol: How To Use Alcohol To Kill Bed Bugs
In their quest to get rid of bed bugs quickly, homeowners are always on the lookout for safe do-it-yourself remedies and pest control solutions. Important among these is the use of rubbing alcohol, ethanol or Isopropyl alcohol for bed bug treatment. Many sprays containing alcohol are available commercially to help get rid of bed bugs for good. Naturally, the question foremost on most homeowners’ minds is whether alcohol indeed kills bed bugs?
In this guide, we will consider the safety and efficacy of use of Isopropyl rubbing alcohol for eradicating bed bugs permanently.
Bed Bugs and alcohol: does alcohol kill bed bugs?
Rubbing alcohol, 70% Isopropyl alcohol as well as 91% alcohol based sprays can be used effectively to get rid of large bed bug infestations. While most of these sprays can do the trick, expert entomologists recommend the use of Isopropyl alcohol in higher concentrations when dealing with bed bugs. This means that 91% rubbing alcohol sprays will help get rid of bed bugs faster than the 70% isopropyl alcohol sprays would. As far as the safety of rubbing alcohol is concerned, one has to take into account the flammability of these sprays. Alcohol is highly flammable and it is best to inform all residents of the building where such a bed bug treatment is in progress. Additionally, alcohol can be highly abrasive on certain surfaces and fabrics, so you must ensure avoiding its use on them.
70% alcohol vs. 91% rubbing alcohol for killing bed bugs
Salient features of 70% alcohol for bed bugs– Less expensive, readily available, safer flammability levels. On the downside, they are more prone to evaporation if the bottle is left uncapped.
Salient features of 91% isopropyl alcohol– This dries faster on account of their lower water content, and the rate of evaporation will not change the concentration of alcohol in the sprays. Also, they are known to be a lot kinder on certain surfaces and materials.
Where to buy 91% rubbing alcohol to kill bed bugs?
Unfortunately, it is harder to find a store carrying the 91% Isopropyl alcohol than it is to find the ones that carry the 70% bed bug rubbing alcohol sprays. That being said, a bit of online research can help you obtain these higher concentration bed bug sprays. Do note that products containing 91% alcohol are usually more expensive than those available at lower concentrations.
How to get rid of bed bugs using alcohol
- Vacuum the house completely. Make sure you cover all areas under the beds, behind the furniture etc. Take care to include curtains, upholstered living room furniture etc. Dispose off the vacuum bags far from home.
- Purchase large sized bottles of rubbing alcohol or ethanol bed bug sprays. Many stores sell rubbing alcohol by the gallons. You can use empty spray bottles to fill up with rubbing alcohol to conveniently use throughout the house.
- Remove all bed clothing, sheets, pillow cases etc and seal them inside plastic trash bags. Before sealing, liberally spray these items with rubbing alcohol sprays. This will kill eggs, larvae and adult bed bugs and also deter new bed bug eggs.
- For very large infestations, bag all items, clothing and linen from every room and spray them with the bed bugs rubbing alcohol spray. Seal these items during the process of treatment.
- Wipe down the furniture including the box springs and headboards as well as electronic goods with wipes pre-treated with rubbing alcohol. You can also liberally spray 91% rubbing alcohol all over. This will get rid of eggs and larvae hiding in cracks and crevices of each room.
- To keep bed bugs from biting you when following the bed bug rubbing alcohol treatment, you can even spray yourself from head to toe with the alcohol before sleeping at night. This will protect you from new bed bug bites. In the meantime, the isopropyl rubbing alcohol sprayed around the house will repel bed bugs on contact. Make sure you avoid smoking or using fires around the sprayed regions.
- Experts recommend combining the rubbing alcohol bed bug treatment with steam cleaning as this can greatly improve one’s chances of getting rid of bed bugs completely.
When using the rubbing alcohol bed bug treatment, make sure that the bugs actually come in contact with the spray. Also, it might seem that the treatment is working but it is still better to repeat it every 14 days. This will ensure getting rid of newly hatched bed bug eggs and kill all the pests once and for all.
Word of warning, please read the safety instructions on the bottle. If you’re spraying your bed and linens, you should do so in a well-ventilated area – outside would be better. Rubbing alcohol contains poison and shouldn’t be inhaled. If you experience breathing difficulty after cleaning, be sure to consult your medical practitioner immediately.
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Bed Bugs FAQs
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.
Where are bed bugs found?
Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.
Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.
Do bed bugs spread disease?
Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.
What health risks do bed bugs pose?
A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.
What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?
One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:
- the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
- bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
- rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
- a sweet musty odor.
How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?
It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.
Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.
How did I get bed bugs?
Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.
Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?
Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.
How are bed bugs treated and prevented?
Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.
This information is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the parasites described above or think that you may have a parasitic infection, consult a health care provider.