How Do I Kill Bed Bugs Naturally
11 Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Naturally
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Remedies To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are a nightmare. While commercially available repellents can take care of them, they will cause some serious damage to our health, too. It is best to try some natural bed bug repellents like essential oils like tea tree oil, lavender oil or citronella. Other bed bug eliminators include kidney bean leaves, thyme, clove and diatomaceous earth.
Bed bugs are parasites that belong to the cimicid family. They are small, oval, brownish insects that feed exclusively on blood. While there are quite a few parasites of the cimicid family that feeds on animal blood, thecimex lectularius, the common bedbug, is the famous one as it prefers feeding on human blood. While an adult bed bug has a flat body, and looks pretty much like an apple seed, after feeding, its body swells and also turns a reddish color. Bed bugs usually feed on their hosts quite unnoticed.
Though bed bugs are believed to be more active during the night, they are not nocturnal creatures. A female bedbug can lay hundreds of eggs in its lifetime. These eggs are usually the size of a speck of dust and can be brought into your house along with adults, via luggage, used furniture, used beds, clothing, etc. Bed bugs cannot fly. However, they can move quite quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings.
While some adverse health conditions may be caused as a result of bed bug bites, like skin rashes, allergic symptoms, and even psychological problems, bed bugs are unknown to transmit any disease pathogens. 1
Is Your House Infested?
One of the most evident signs of bed bug infestation is finding itchy areas on your body when you wake up after a sleep. These itchy areas may also present as small red bumps. Small blood stains on your sheets or pillow cases, bed bug excrement on the bed and bed linen or walls, egg shells or shed skins in areas where bed bugs usually hide, and sometimes even a musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands are some other giveaways to a bed bug infestation.
Since bed bugs have flattened bodies, it makes it easy for them to hide in the tiniest of spaces, like mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards. Though bed bugs do not have nests, they tend to live in groups. Over time, they tend to scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location, and even to adjoining rooms.
If you suspect that you may have a bed bug infestation, remove all bedding and dust covers and blankets, box springs etc. and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. You must also check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones, radios, carpet edges, and even electrical outlets.
Ways To Exterminate Bed Bugs
Once you have identified a bed bug infestation in your house, it is understandable that you want to jump right in and eliminate them. But this will be a long, drawn-out battle, and there is nothing like patience and preparation to win it.
Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. Now, this is not an easy task as it includes washing and drying bedding, linens, curtains, clothing, etc. in hot water and then meticulously checking that it is indeed bed-bug free. The cleaning up process also calls for some heavy-duty vacuuming. The entire house, furniture, linens, furnishings etc. need to be regularly vacuumed. After each vacuuming session, ensure you remove the vacuum cleaner bag into another plastic bag and place it in the garbage bin outside the house.
Another way to get rid of these bugs is to freeze them. Although bed bugs can live for up to a year in a cool room, they cannot withstand freezing temperatures. Freezing infested items for at least two hours at -17°C should kill them off.
Like cold, steam too can help get rid of bed bugs. Steam can penetrate mattress linings, crevices and cracks effectively and efficiently. Steam cleaning infested items and rooms at about 140°F (60°C) can destroy bugs as well as their eggs without damaging the surroundings. 2
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
You can also try out some natural insecticides to get rid of the bed bugs and their eggs. In this regard, plant essential oils have gained importance as a significant natural source of pesticides. They represent a market estimated at $700 million. The total production of essential oils in the world is estimated to be around 45000 tons. 3 Most essential oils affect the inner cell membranes of insects, causing cytotoxic effects. It is this property that proves beneficial when tackling any kind of bug or insect infestation. 4 And while the essential oils are toxic to the bugs, they are safe for humans. Here we look at some essential oil based natural insecticides as well as some other less harmful repellents to help get rid of bed bugs.
1. Tea Tree Oil Spray
Studies show that tea tree oil is an effective insecticidal. The essential oil of tea tree effectively disrupts the permeability barrier of cell membrane structures, thus resulting in the loss of chemiosmotic control and fatality. It is this membrane-damaging property of tea tree oil that makes it an effective natural insecticide in fighting bed bugs. You can use the homemade spray in hard-to-reach places, like cracks, crevices, and furniture joints. 5
To Use:To make a natural insecticide with tea tree oil, mix two teaspoons of tea tree oil with 50 ml of water. Pour it into a spray bottle and shake well. Spray liberal amounts of the natural insecticide in all areas where you think bed bugs are living. Use this application daily until all the signs of bed bugs have disappeared. Remember to shake well before each application.
2. Lavender Oil
Like tea tree oil, lavender essential oil can also be used as an effective natural insecticide to kill bed bugs. Lavender oil is also believed to destroy bed bug eggs as well. It is also said that it is the smell of lavender that kills the bugs. \However, the oil probably acts as a cytotoxin and thus kills the bed bugs. 6
To Use:To make a spray, mix 10–15 drops of lavender oil with 50 ml water. Shake well, pour into a spray bottle and use in areas where the infestation is seen. You can also use lavender soap or powder as a spray. Another method is to place fresh lavender leaves or flowers in and around the infested areas to get rid of the bed bugs.
A combination of lavender oil and peppermint oil was also found to be highly beneficial in exterminating bed bugs. 7
To Use:Add 10–15 drops of lavender essential oil and 10–15 drops of peppermint oil into a spray bottle. Fill it with water. Then shake well and spray in affected areas.
3. Citronella Spray
Citronella, or lemongrass as it is more commonly known, is another essential oil that can repel and kill bed bugs as well as its eggs. Citronella oil is believed to increase the acidic condition within the bugs, thus effectively eliminating it. Like lavender, the smell of citronella is also believed to help get rid of bed bugs. 8
To Use:Add 10 drops of citronella oil to a small bowl of water. Pour it into a spray bottle, shake thoroughly, and spray in affected areas to get best results.
4. Eucalyptus Oil Spray
The evergreen, mighty trees of the eucalyptus can be seen in most places across the world. The essential oil found in its foliage is widely used in food, pharmaceuticals, perfumes, etc. It is also used extensively as an insect repellent. Eucalyptus is believed to exhibit ovicidal activity, as well as insect repellency against bacteria, fungi, insects, weeds, nematodes, and mites. 9
To Use:To make the spray, take two ounces of water, 1.5 ounces of witch hazel or vodka and 30 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Pour all this into a spray bottle and shake well to mix it. Then spray the solution on the affected areas. Repeat the spraying every two hours of so.
5. Essential Oils Of Orange
Orange oil contains d-limonene which is classified as an insecticide. This is a nerve toxin which kills the bugs and insects within minutes of contact. 10
To Use:Make a spray solution by mixing 1 cup of compost tea, 1 ounce of blackstrap molasses and 2 ounces of orange essential oil in 4 liters of water. Mix all this together well and spray in the affected areas.
6. Neem Oil
For generations, neem oil has been used for various medicinal and insecticidal properties. The tree, the leaf, the seeds are all used for medicinal purposes with beneficial results. Studies show that neem oil, especially cold pressed neem oil, has high toxicity, and antifeedancy and can repel a number of pests. 11 It was also shown to have high larval growth inhibition properties. 12
To Use:To make a spray solution, add 1 ounce of concentrated neem essential oil to 4 ounces of water. Add ½ teaspoon of soap in order to emulsify the solution. Mix it well. Then spray and wipe down beds, sheets, walls, crevices and all other potential bed bug hiding places. Do this three times a day for the first three days. Then shift to treating your home every alternate day for a total of 18 days.
7. Sweet Flag
Sweet flag oracorus calamus, is an uncommon, semi-aquatic, perennial plant found in Eurasia and the Americas. Valued for its rhizome and fragrant oils, this plant has been used medicinally as well as for its insecticidal properties, since time immemorial. Recent studies have also revealed that the sweet plant possesses antifungal and antibacterial properties. 13 The antimicrobial property makes the sweet flag effective against bed bugs.
To Use:To make a spray, boil 100 grams of sweet flag and 50 grams of turmeric powder in one liter of water. Boil this for an hour. Then keep the solution in a closed container for 24 hours. The next day, filter and dilute the solution in 10 times the water. Transfer to a spray bottle and spray lavishly in affected areas and its surroundings.
8. Bean Leaves
Did you just think “folk lore” when you read the word kidney beans? Well, push that thought aside. Studies have shown that the leaves have microscopic hairs called trichomes on its surface that entangle the bugs onto it, literally stopping them in their tracks. Unlike a Velcro effect, the trichomes actually get hooked onto bugs’ legs, trapping them. 14
To Use:Scatter kidney bean leaves all over the house, especially in infested areas. You can also place the leaves under mattresses. You can either wait for a couple of days before getting rid of these leaves or opt to use fresh leaves every day for a few days. Since the bugs are stuck on the leaves, getting rid of the leaves will ensure the bugs never return.
Thyme oil or thymol concentrate are effective bed bug repellents. They are also shown to be effective deterrents for egg laying by mites. 15
To Use:You can tie a thyme stick with a cotton cloth and burn it near the infested area, or in the infested room. Alternatively, place thyme leaves in net bags and place them in and around the infested areas. Remember to replace these bags with fresh leaves every third day. Continue the process for up to a month to ensure all bed bugs have been killed.
Like most other essential oils, clove oil too possesses insecticidal and insect repellent properties. It is believed that the acidic pH of cloves, as well as its pungent smell, disturbs the survival of the bugs, thus destroying them. 16
To Use:Mix 1 teaspoon clove essential oil with 1 cup water. Pour into a spray bottle, shake well, and spray in affected areas.
11. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a non-toxic insecticide that is used for the protection of stored products and to control pests in the home and garden. It is a natural product that harms neither the earth nor people. It can be conveniently used in any space, even crevices on walls and other inaccessible regions. DE comes as a fine crystalline powder. Fine for the human eye, but the crystals trap and tear up the bed bugs. 17
To Use:Spray or sprinkle food grade DE on the bed, the floor, the crevices, and other areas where bugs are likely to hide. Let it stay for up to three days. After three days, vacuum or broom up the entire house.
Some other products that work effectively against bed bugs are baking powder and boric powder. While boric powder is toxic, baking powder is harmless for humans.
Also, remember that most essential oils should be effective in getting rid of bed bugs. This is because, as mentioned, the oils function as cytotoxins, destroying the membranes of the bugs. So, go ahead, get started on ridding your home and hearth of those pesky blood suckers.
|1.||↑||Bai, Xiaodong, Praveen Mamidala, Swapna P. Rajarapu, Susan C. Jones, and Omprakash Mittapalli. “Transcriptomics of the bed bug (Cimex lectularius).” PloS one 6, no. 1 (2011): e16336.|
|2.||↑||Benoit, J. B., G. Lopez‐Martinez, N. M. Teets, S. A. Phillips, and D. L. Denlinger. “Responses of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius, to temperature extremes and dehydration: levels of tolerance, rapid cold hardening and expression of heat shock proteins.” Medical and veterinary entomology 23, no. 4 (2009): 418-425.|
|3.||↑||Tripathi, Arun K., Shikha Upadhyay, Mantu Bhuiyan, and P. R. Bhattacharya. “A review on prospects of essential oils as biopesticide in insect-pest management.” Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy 1, no. 5 (2009): 052-063.|
|4.||↑||Bakkali, Fadil, Simone Averbeck, Dietrich Averbeck, and Mouhamed Idaomar. “Biological effects of essential oils–a review.” Food and chemical toxicology 46, no. 2 (2008): 446-475.|
|5.||↑||Cox, S. D., C. M. Mann, J. L. Markham, H. C. Bell, J. E. Gustafson, J. R. Warmington, and S. G. Wyllie. “The mode of antimicrobial action of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil).” Journal of applied microbiology 88, no. 1 (2000): 170-175.|
|6, 8.||↑||Watson, Anthony C. “Method of treating bed bug infestation and preventing transmission thereof.” U.S. Patent Application 14/753,825, filed June 29, 2015.|
|7.||↑||Singh, Narinderpal, Changlu Wang, and Richard Cooper. “Potential of essential oil-based pesticides and detergents for bed bug control.” Journal of economic entomology 107, no. 6 (2014): 2163-2170.|
|9.||↑||Batish, Daizy R., Harminder Pal Singh, Ravinder Kumar Kohli, and Shalinder Kaur. “Eucalyptus essential oil as a natural pesticide.” Forest Ecology and Management 256, no. 12 (2008): 2166-2174.|
|10.||↑||Hink, W. F., and B. J. Feel. “Toxicity of D-limonene, the major component of citrus peel oil, to all life stages of the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae).” Journal of medical entomology 23, no. 4 (1986): 400-404.|
|11.||↑||Benelli, Giovanni, Stefano Bedini, Francesca Cosci, Chiara Toniolo, Barbara Conti, and Marcello Nicoletti. “Larvicidal and ovideterrent properties of neem oil and fractions against the filariasis vector Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae): a bioactivity survey across production sites.” Parasitology research 114, no. 1 (2015): 227-236.|
|12.||↑||Isman, Murray B., Opender Koul, Anna Luczynski, and Jerzy Kaminski. “Insecticidal and antifeedant bioactivities of neem oils and their relationship to azadirachtin content.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 38, no. 6 (1990): 1406-1411.|
|13.||↑||Motley, Timothy J. “The ethnobotany of sweet flag, Acorus calamus (Araceae).” Economic Botany 48, no. 4 (1994): 397-412.|
|14.||↑||Szyndler, Megan W., Kenneth F. Haynes, Michael F. Potter, Robert M. Corn, and Catherine Loudon. “Entrapment of bed bugs by leaf trichomes inspires microfabrication of biomimetic surfaces.” Journal of The Royal Society Interface 10, no. 83 (2013): 20130174.|
|15.||↑||El-Gengaihi, S. E., S. AA Amer, and S. M. Mohamed. “Biological activity of Thyme oil and Thymol againstTetranychus urticae Koch.” Anzeiger für Schädlingskunde 69, no. 7 (1996): 157-159.|
|16.||↑||Chaieb, Kamel, Hafedh Hajlaoui, Tarek Zmantar, Amel Ben Kahla‐Nakbi, Mahmoud Rouabhia, Kacem Mahdouani, and Amina Bakhrouf. “The chemical composition and biological activity of clove essential oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzigium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): a short review.” Phytotherapy research 21, no. 6 (2007): 501-506.|
|17.||↑||Quarles, William. “Diatomaceous earth for pest control.” IPM practitioner 14, no. 5/6 (1992): 1-11.|
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.
How to Kill Bed Bugs Naturally?
In this article, we will discuss the best way to kill bed bugs. They are a common problem these days and almost everyone has dealt with a bed bug infestation. Not only their bites are very annoying but they are also potentially dangerous for your health. They are quite difficult to eliminate but you can get rid of the bugs without using any services of the professional exterminator. There are various effective chemicals available in local stores to kill bed bugs but the natural method is indeed the most efficient. Natural remedies will keep you on the natural side and get rid of them without any harmful insecticides that may pose a health risk. Use of insecticide is not only harmful to you but to your pet as well. Moreover, it contaminates the pure air around you.
Some Common Hiding Places of Bed Bugs:
Sometimes you can’t see a single bed bug but that does not mean your home is protected. You should spot their rust-colored dark spots or so-called the “happy trails.” Use a bright white flashlight to check the following places in the home or hotel room:
- Mattress and box spring seams
- Bed sheets
- Picture frames
- Cracks in the headboard and bed frame
- Bed skirts
- Upholstered furniture
- Electrical outlet plugs
- Behind loose wallpaper
Best Ways to Kill Bed Bugs:
1.) Thorough Inspection to Kill Bed Bugs
It is quite important to thoroughly inspect your house to kill bed bugs. You will get several signs of their infestation like the dark spots of dried bug feces are usually present along the mattress or where the bugs have resided. As soon as you find the signs of the bed bugs, began with the methods to get rid of them and save yourself from the bed bug bites. You should remove the gauze fabric underlying the box spring to access for inspection and possible treatment.
It is suggested to check all the cracks and crevices of bed frames. Pay special attention if the frame is made up of wood. The thing is thorough inspection is not possible and the treatment of the mattresses and box springs is hard and infested elements may need to be discarded. We all know that prevention is better than cure so put a bed bug proof bedding cover over infested bedding as it will trap the bed bugs inside and starve them to death easily.
2.) Wash Clothes and Bedding to Prevent Bed Bugs Naturally
Once you have inspected the areas in your home where bed bugs are mostly found, you will find clothes and beddings are the prone sites. Wash all the clothes and bedding to get rid of bed bugs naturally. However, if you cannot wash something then make sure you sanitize it thoroughly. Put it in the dryer or use a hand dryer for this purpose. Washing the clothes and sanitizing the things around for once will not do. This is something that you have to do regularly in order to prevent bed bugs naturally. The laundry area is one of the most ignored areas, so make sure you sanitize it as well. Moreover, wash the cushions, blankets, soft toys, pillow, pillow cases properly to prevent the bed bugs infestation in the future. Store all stuff in a plastic box to prevent reinfestation.
3.) Vacuum to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally
After washing the clothes and beddings, clean your furniture and other places around which can be vulnerable to the infestation. For this, you can use a vacuum cleaner. Vacuum the carpets, mattresses, curtains, box springs, upholstered items and all the more wood furniture, baseboards, hardwood floors and everything with nooks and crannies. Do this twice in a day at least for a month. After vacuuming, dispose of the garb properly. Wear hand gloves and cover your mouth while taking out the cleaner from the machine. Put all the garbs immediately into the plastic bag and tie it tightly. Though the bag outside and do not keep it in your home otherwise the infestation may linger on.
4.) Steam to Prevent Bed Bugs Naturally
Washing and cleaning alone will not do, you have to steam them as well. After washing and vacuuming, you need to steam all the cushions, carpets, mattress and your clothes as well to get rid of the bed bugs thoroughly. Bed bugs can survive at the high temperature, therefore this is the best way to kill the bed bugs naturally. Also, make sure, it is dry steam. The wet steam will leave everything wet and then it could be a messy task to manage and it could further lead to the mold and mildew infestation.
5.) Alcohol to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
This is one of the best remedies to get rid of bed bugs naturally. Rubbing alcohol is generally used for sanitizing the stuff, thus it comes handy to prevent the infestation o the bed bugs. It sanitizes and inhibits the growth of the bacteria around. So spray rubbing alcohol in the areas which are prone to infestation. Moreover, it has a certain drying effect which immediately kills the bed bugs. Pour alcohol in the spray bottle and spray it around all the walls, nooks and corners. Apart from this, you can apply a coat of the rubbing alcohol on the furniture and walls to prevent bed bugs naturally.
6.) Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Bed Bugs Naturally
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is most commonly used treatment to eliminate bed bugs infestation. Using DE will give you two major benefits, killing bugs with sharp micro edges and by dehydrating them. The advantage of using diatoms (diatomaceous earth) is that it is chemical free and quite inexpensive. This remedy will give you instant relief from bed bugs infestation. It works as both a tool for prevention and natural treatment. If you are smart enough, use this remedy in conjunction with some of the other methods discussed in this article. Make sure to get it into all of the cracks and crevices of your home.
The working mechanism of Diatomaceous earth can be easily understandable from its origin i.e. it is made from the sediments of oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams. When bed bugs come into contact with diatomaceous earth its particles make their way into the cuticle of the exoskeleton and kill them.
7.) Essential Oils to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally
Tea tree oil and lavender oil can help you keep the aggravating bed bugs away not only from your bed but from your house due to their strong and pungent smell. Simply, spray the tea tree oil or lavender oil all around your bed and other infected areas. It will effectively prevent the bed bugs from attacking while you are sleeping.
According to studies it has found that the lavender oils have natural and an effective bed bug repellent characteristic. The smell or taste of these essential oils repels the nasty creature in no time. To apply this remedy in the most effective way put dried lavender between two clean cloths pieces and then stitches them around the bed perimeter. The Lavender oil is also readily available in several health food stores. You will find it in concentrated form instead of dilute form and its fragrance lasts for a few weeks. Rub your bed frame and floor with lavender oil to kill and prevent bed bugs naturally.
8.) Heat to Kill Bed Bugs
Killing bed bugs by using dry heat is one of the most innovative methods. You just need to place your clothing, footwear, rugs, toys, stuffed animals, backpacks, and other items in the dryer for sometimes. It can easily remove bed bugs and their infestation. A normal clothes dryer when running for five to ten minutes, it usually generates temperatures of about 120, 140 and 160 degrees. It is always suggested to use high settings to kill bed bugs present in the clothing. Do not put sensitive clothing in high temperature. You can place them in direct sunlight. While working with dryer you should run it for more than twenty minutes.
9.) Peppermint to Kill Bed Bugs
Peppermint oil is considered as the most effective home remedy not only to kill bed bugs but several other household insects as well. It gives an odor that causes allergy reaction in the bed bugs. The oil is quite common and found in most of the houses. Bed bugs cannot tolerate the fragrance of scent of peppermint and hence, they die. Its smell obstructs the bed bugs and they are easily killed. There are several other oils also like lavender oil (already discussed) that can be used to get rid of bed bugs successfully. The scent of these oils is irresistible for these pests.
10.) Mint Leaves and Cayenne Pepper to Kill Bed Bugs
Though these two ingredients do not work in combined form but still considered as one of the most effective herbs to eliminate bed bugs infestation. Mint is so effective remedy that if you just place some mint leave here and there around the house, it will act as a natural bed bug repellent. The use of mint leaves to repel bugs originally started by Native Americans. They just used to crush the mint leaves and spread around sleeping areas to prevent bed bugs. They also used to fold mint leaves inside of the cradleboard of infant and small children.
You can also try adding the fragrance of mint leaves between your bedding and in the linen closets. Now, the cayenne pepper is helpful in stopping bed bugs from entering spaces into your house. You just need to sprinkle some of the spice in specific areas to avoid bed bugs and other pests crossing over it.
11.) Baking Soda to Kill Bed Bugs
Baking soda is considered as one of the most effective home remedies to kill bed bugs fast and naturally. Using baking soda is the most efficient way get rid of bed bugs infestation. You can use baking soda in several ways. However, the most commonly used method is to dip a paintbrush into baking soda and spread around the cracks and crevices and the possible region where they can hide. Do not forget to apply it to all surfaces of the mattresses. Leave the powder for a few days and then vacuum up all of the baking soda. This will remove almost ninety percentages of bed bugs but still you will need a second treatment to completely get rid of them. It actually acts as a drying agent to dry out the bed bugs.
12.) Herbs to GetRid of Bed Bugs Naturally
Herbs like lavender, eucalyptus, mint, rosemary and eucalyptus are known as natural repellents. Therefore they work best to kill the bed bugs naturally. To get rid of the bed bugs you can use the dried or fresh forms of these herbs. You can use them in various ways. To prevent the bed bugs infestation in your wardrobe tie a bunch of these herbs together in your wardrobe. Or place the sachets of these herbs in your home.
Additional Tips to Kill Bed Bugs:
- Dismantle the bed frames in the infested as it will expose an additional bedbug hiding sites.
- Reduce all clutter to make your bed bug inspection easier. Be careful while transferring the infected items to other areas as it can also transfer the bed bugs.
- Properly clean your infested rooms. Scrub the surfaces with a stiff brush to dislodge eggs.
- Seal all holes where electrical wires enter walls and floor. Fill cracks around the baseboards and molding to reduce harboring areas.
- Avoid using insecticides and pesticides on the soft toys and other baby cribs.
- Do not use infested thing, this can spread the infestation easily.
- Do not use second-hand furniture and upholstery since they are more prone to the infestation.
How to Kill Bed Bugs Naturally (and Fleas too!)
Please note that I may earn a small commission from purchases made through product links in this article. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
How to kill bed bugs naturally is really a very simple process, and can be effective for removing fleas as well. Using natural products means you get the double benefit of knowing that these little invaders are gone and that you haven’t replaced them with a house full of nasty chemicals.
Bed bugs and fleas breed very fast, so the sooner you can get them under control the easier your natural pest control process will be. Here is our simple guide on how to kill bed bugs naturally (and fleas too!).
How to Kill Bed Bugs Naturally – in 10 Simple Steps:
Step 1. Isolate the Problem
Inspect your entire house for bugs, and make sure every room that is infested is closed off. Don’t go moving toys or furniture from one room to the other, as you risk spreading the bugs even further.
Try to dedicate at least a whole day to getting rid of your bed bugs, as you may not be able to use some of your rooms as clean them. Try to keep your family particularly young children and pets out of the way during the whole process, as you don’t want the bugs to jump on them and use them as an escape route.
Step 2. Find the Bugs
Bed bugs are pretty crafty, they are tiny and they like to hide in little folds in fabric, like the seams on your mattress, or in the corners of your bed frame. Fleas have similar habits, but they tend to prefer a nice plush carpet to bounce around in.
Bed bugs are happy to hang out in areas well away from your bed too. Other favorite hiding places may include your favorite armchair, curtains, or in your folded clothes (yuck!). Cracks and crevices in your walls and skirting, behind picture frames and wall outlets, anywhere dark and protected is the perfect place for bed bugs to hide.
mattress seams are a popular spot for bed bugs – photo by Ventura.org
Step 3. Hot Washing
Bed bugs and fleas cannot handle high temperatures, so this is an efficient natural way to kill them in a big group. Put all your infested bed sheets, clothes, and curtains in the washing machine and wash in very hot water (140 °F) and dried for at least 20 minutes.
If there are some things that cannot be laundered, such as shoes and toys, you can try putting them in the clothes dryer at high heat for approximately 10 – 20 minutes to kill the bed bugs.
Step 4. Encase your Mattress
As you can guess from their name, your mattress is usually the most popular place to find bed bugs. Of course mattresses are nearly impossible to clean, as any moisture from washing or steam cleaning gets absorbed quickly and turns into damp and mold (which is more unhealthy than bugs).
A mattress encasement is a fitted sleeve that your mattress slips into, locking in the existing bed bugs, and keeping any new ones out. The bugs locked inside cannot bite through the encasement, therefore they can’t bite you and will eventually die from lack of food and air.
You can find these cases on Amazon, and they are a small investment that can make a big difference to the longevity of your mattress.
Step 5. Go Hunting
Catching and killing bedbugs yourself is a natural (and satisfying) form of revenge. Bedbugs can be forced from their hideouts, by using either a putty knife or a playing card. Once the bedbugs have been forced out of their hiding space, you can catch them with sticky tape or crush them in tissues.
Another great tactic you can try is using special “climb up traps” for the legs of your bed. These are called Interceptor Cups on Amazon. The bugs climb into them and cannot get out, because the inside surface of the cup is too smooth for them to climb up.
These are used by pest control professionals to test for infestations, as well as helping to catch the bugs. They are both very cheap and re-usable. Over the long term, they can also help you keep track of how many bugs are still around, and if your natural efforts have been effective.
Step 6. Vacuuming
If physically catching bedbugs is not your cup of tea, you can use your vacuum cleaner instead. Use the hose of your vacuum cleaner around small, hard to reach areas like the seams of your mattress and the corners of your bed frame.
Give your carpet a very thorough vacuum using the highest suction setting. Using this technique maybe far more effective for fleas than trying to catch them with your hands, as they are very fast and slippery.
Step 7. Use Natural Bug Killer
Everything I have mentioned so far may have been obvious to you already, but here is the best natural killer for bed bugs and fleas – Diatomaceous Earth. This stuff is amazing for all kinds of pests, for as soon as the bug touches it, it cuts through their hard shell and dries them out from the inside.
Diatomaceous Earth is a natural product itself, made from fossilized shells, therefore it is tough and hard enough to cut through the tough little bodies of bed bugs, fleas, and even ants.
You can get Diatomaceous Earth products like this on Amazon.
It usually comes in a powder form and is available in Food grade (some types are even fit for human consumption). With this in mind, you can be comfortable spreading this natural product around your home without harm to your family or pets.
The most effective way to use it is to lightly dust your bed frame and other affected areas, and vacuum it up after a few weeks. Don’t forget areas where your dog or cat likes to roam, like their bed, scratching post or favorite spot on the lounge. Diatomaceous Earth powder can be messy to use, so I recommend using a powder duster like the one below to help spread the powder neatly around your home.
A Powder Duster will help you apply the Earth neatly around your home.
Step 8. Throw them Out
This final step is about making sure that the bugs that leave your house stay gone. Make sure that every vacuum and garbage bag that leaves your house is tightly sealed to prevent any escapees.
And if you just can’t seem to get rid of every single bug, it may be time to admit defeat and start throwing things out. Bed bugs and fleas breed frequently and rapidly, and sometimes the best solution is simply to get rid of that old mattress or those armchairs and send those bugs back to nature.
Step 9. Bring in the Professionals
This may seem contradictory if you are looking for a solution to kill bed bugs naturally, but not all fumigators are made equal. There are plenty of professional pest controllers who take a more natural philosophy, by using less harmful and naturally based chemicals to solve your pest problem.
The best kind of pest controllers will get rid of your infestation quickly and efficiently, with the least amount of harm to your family, pets, and property. By doing a little bit of extra searching you may find someone who knows exactly where to find the bugs and what to use to target them at their source in the most natural way possible.
Step 10. Protect your home with Natural Oils
Once again Mother Earth provides the perfect natural solution for protecting your home from bed bugs – by using natural oils. Lavender oil is considered highly effective against bed bugs, as they seem to find the smell and the taste very unpleasant.
Tea tree oil, Eucalyptus and Peppermint oils are also not attractive to bugs and are totally harmless to humans (some are even beneficial!). All of these oils are easy to apply. If you are using a concentrate, dilute a few drops of the oil in water and spray around your room using a spray bottle. All of these oils are safe and easy to use on both hard surfaces and fabrics.
If you want to leave a more lasting impression, you can also leave a few drops in key bed bug hiding places, like the corners of your bed frame. Not only will you be bug-free, but your home will smell beautiful and clean.
Getting rid of bed bugs naturally can be a simple process, and if done thoroughly at first you will succeed in protecting your home from these invaders for a long time. Remember that prevention is the best cure, and by using natural products around your home you can easily stop these bugs in their tracks!
The Top 10 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally
If you notice that you have small itchy spots, red rashes or blisters when you wake up, it could be a sign that you have bed bugs. These tiny little pests can infest the seams of your mattress, bed frames, box springs, and headboards. It can be a challenge to get rid of bed bugs because they are hard to detect and they multiply rapidly. Bed bugs should be destroyed as quickly as possible because they can infest other areas of your home and cause a major problem.
Actually, bed bugs are not a sign that you have a dirty home, but they can be brought into your house through luggage, used furniture and beds, clothing and other household items.
Fortunately, there are many ways to naturally get rid of bed bugs. Bed bugs can’t survive extreme hot or cold temperatures, so, methods like steam cleaning, hot washes, and drying on a high heat are natural home remedies to eliminate bed bugs from clothing and bedding. Placing small items in the freezer is another way to kill bed bugs.
For larger areas, you can make your own natural bed bug sprays from tea tree oil, lavender oil, or eradicate bed bugs by sprinkling diatomaceous earth powder in crevices that bed bugs like to inhabit.
Before we look at the best home remedies to eliminate bed bugs naturally, let’s look at the symptoms of bed bugs and the problems these tiny insects can cause.
The Problems Bed Bugs Cause
Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed and gorge on the blood of humans and animals. Although bed bugs don’t spread disease or cause infections, they cause a lot of personal discomfort.
Bedbugs can also quickly infest beds, couches, furniture and are difficult to find and kill because they like to hide in dark cracks, crevices, and gaps.
Dr. Carol DerSarkissian onWebMDsays that bed bugs reach adult maturity within a month and can produce 3 or 4 generations a year. 1
According to theNational Pest Management Association(NPMA), the problem of getting rid of bed bugs and bed bug control is growing every year. A survey carried by the NPMA found there is a resurgence of bed bug infestations in hotels, movie theaters, public transportation, and even medical facilities. 2
Signs and Symptoms of Bed Bugs
There is no doubt about it – bed bugs are a nuisance and exterminating these tiny pests should be a top priority. One of the first symptoms that you may have a bed bug infestation is bites on your skin. These bites can appear anywhere on your body that the bed bug can crawl to. According to theNational Health Servicein the United Kingdom, some of the other symptoms of bed bug bites are: 3
- itchy red bumps on the skin
- a red itchy bed bug rash
- fluid-filled blisters or welts
- a skin infection caused by scratching the itchy skin and allowing bacteria to enter the wound
There will also be some signs around your bed that indicate you need to think about some effective methods of bed bug control. For example, with a flashlight, you may discover the tiny bugs in seams around the edge of the mattress or in the bed joints or spring box. You may also notice dark or red spots on your bedding or mattress. This is their dried feces or blood from a killed bed bug.
What are the best ways of getting rid of bed bugs from your bed, mattress, headboard, couches, or anywhere else that they might be living? Here are some of the best tried and tested bed bug natural remedies.
If you have bed bug bites, make sure to read my article about the best natural ways to get rid of bed bug bites.
Here are some of the best home remedies to get rid of bed bugs:
10 Best Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Find the bed bug Infestation
One of the first steps to completely eliminate all traces of bed bugs from your home is to find all the infested areas. Bed bugs are usually found in bedrooms but they can inhabit any room in the home where people and pets sleep.
TheUS Environmental Protection Agencyrecommends carefully checking the seams of mattresses and other soft furnishings in your home. Examine the spaces between cushions, your mattress and bed frame and any other possible hiding place in your bedroom. Don’t forget to check drawer joints, behind loose wallpaper, and even in electrical appliances. 4
Any space the thickness of a credit card is a potential home for bed bugs.
Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of bed bug naturally
Using a vacuum cleaner to suck up the bed bugs is a very effective and simple method to eradicate bed bugs from your bedroom.
A vacuum cleaner is a common household item so you can use it right now to kill bed bugs. To make sure and get rid of any eggs around the seams of your mattress, use a stiff brush to loosen any bed bug eggs from the material.
Bed bugs can be hiding everywhere, so you’ll need to vacuum all chairs and other soft furnishings, carpets, box springs, and mattresses and even curtains.
Regarding bed bug control, the journalClinical Microbiology Reviewssays that vacuuming can quickly get rid of a large number of bed bugs and their eggs. When using a vacuum cleaner to control bed bug infestations, it’s essential to use a disposable bag. As soon as you have vacuumed the infested area, remove and seal the bag before disposing of it. 5
Freeze items to kill bed bugs
Kill bed bugs in smaller items by placing them in a freezer. Although bed bugs can’t withstand freezing temperatures, they can live for up to a year in a cool room without any food sources.
To naturally kill the bedbugs you need to place infested items in a freezer that has a temperature below 1°F (-17°C) for at least 2 hours. 5
Hot steam kills bed bug
Hot steam is a great home remedy to destroy bed bugs and their eggs without damaging the environment.
The hot steam method for bed bug eradication can get rid of bed bugs from small crevices and cracks. The steam can also penetrate through the mattress lining and eradicate bug infestations inside the mattress.
Scientists have found that bed bugs are quickly killed when exposed to temperatures above 140°F (60°C). 5
So, if you have a steam cleaner, you can use it to exterminate bed bugs quickly without using harmful chemicals.
To kill bed bugs fast on your own using steam do the following:
- Thoroughly vacuum all the areas you plan to steam.
- Use the steamer on all surfaces where you see bed bugs and areas where you think bed bugs may be hiding to completely get rid of them.
- After using the steamer, the fabric may be damp, but it should not be wet. If the fabric is too wet decrease the amount of steam produced by the steamer.
- After you are finished, use a fan in the area to circulate air to help dry the items you have steamed.
- Repeat the steaming procedure a couple of times until all the bed bugs are completely gone.
You need to be aware that steaming will only kill bed bugs that are exposed to the heat, so any bed bugs that do not come into contact with the steam will survive.
What is the best type of steamer for bed bug eradication?
The general recommendation is to use a powerful and heavy duty steamer with a large water tank, preferably with a steam volume control. Small steamers may not be effective in eliminating bedbugs. Small steamers require constant refilling and may cover less surface area so they can be less effective in eliminating bed bugs. They may also not get hot enough to eliminate bedbugs on and around the mattress.
Hot wash bedding and clothing
You can also get rid of bed bugs from infected clothing and other fabric items by placing them in the washing machine and wash them at a temperature of over 60°C.
Hot washing is probably one of the easiest and fastest natural ways to kill off bed bugs from clothing and other items using a common household item.
Use a hot dryer
After putting infested items of clothing or bed linen through a hot wash, you should dry the items in a dryer set to a hot setting. This will make doubly sure that the bed linen is sterilized from bed bugs.
Dr. Carol DerSarkissian onWebMDrecommends the hot wash and hot dryer method to de-infest fabric items like curtains, bedding, shoes, and stuffed toy animals from bed bugs. 1
You could also use a hair dryer together with your vacuum cleaner to drive bed bugs out of crevices. Set the hair dryer to the hottest setting and direct into the crack. The hot air will kill the bed bugs and also force them out. Any bug not killed by the hair dryer can be sucked up with the vacuum cleaner.
Encase mattresses and pillows
Another natural way to prevent bed bugs from biting you during the night and stop them infesting other parts of your home is to encase mattresses and pillows.
Encasements for mattresses, spring boxes, and pillows are tightly woven covers that prevent bed bugs from entering or escaping. The encasements should be kept on for at least a year to ensure that all the bed bugs die naturally.
TheNational Pesticide Information Centerrecommends using encasements to protect your bed from bed bug infestations. In addition to encasing your bed items, they also recommend placing bed bug traps (such as this one) under your bed legs to stop bed bugs crawling up. 6
Other Natural Home Remedies to Eradicate Bed Bugs
While the above home remedies are excellent ways to eliminate bed bugs from your home, it is also necessary to treat areas with natural insecticides to kill bed bugs and eggs in hard to reach places. Here are some natural insecticides that you can make yourself to get rid of bed bugs.
Tea tree oil bed bug spray
The insecticidal properties of tea tree oil make it a great natural treatment to get rid of bed bug infestation. You can use the homemade tea tree spray to kill off bed bugs in hard to reach places, like cracks, crevices, and furniture joints.
A study from 2014 found that a tea tree oil solution is an effective and natural insect repellent and also acts as an insecticide. 7
To make a natural insecticide with tea tree oil, put 20 drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle filled with water and shake well. Spray liberal amounts of the natural insecticide in all areas where you think bed bugs are living. Use the tea tree oil bed bug spray daily until all the signs of bed bugs have disappeared completely. Remember to shake the natural spray well before each application.
Tea tree oil is also a great natural remedy to cure any skin itching caused by bed bugs.
Lavender oil pesticide spray
Similar to tea tree oil, lavender essential oil can be used to make an effective natural DIY pesticide spray to kill bed bugs.
The insect-repellent properties of lavender oil are toxic for bed bugs but completely safe to use around the home.
One study into the effect of essential oils and their use for insect and bug control found that a combination of lavender oil and peppermint oil effectively kills off insects. 8 Lavender oil also helps to destroy insect eggs and larvae as well as repelling bed bugs. Peppermint oil also has a strong repellent action. 8
To make a natural bed bug spray, add 10-15 drops lavender essential oil and 10-15 drops peppermint oil to a spray bottle filled with water. Use the natural spray to treat areas infested with bed bugs. Use the natural pesticide spray daily until you no longer have any signs of bed bug infestation. Shake well before each application.
There are many other effective sprays to eliminate these nasty critters – read about them in my article about the best bed bug sprays to kill bed bugs fast.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) for bed bug control
Diatomaceous earth powder helps to kill off bed bugs by causing them to dehydrate because it destroys their outer protective membrane. Some people also call it bed bug powder. Because vacuum cleaners may not remove all bed bugs in deep crevices, diatomaceous earth powder is an excellent way to control bed bugs and prevent further infestation.
A study into the use of diatomaceous earth in bed bug eradication found that it is a safe, non-toxic way to rid your home of bed bugs. Even though diatomaceous earth (DE) is slow acting, the study found that this was an advantage. This is because the bed bugs transfer the powder to other bugs and help to distribute the natural insecticide to their habitats. The study found that within 4 days, 80% of all the bed bugs had been killed. Complete eradication was achieved in 12 days. 5
To naturally eliminate a bed bug infestation with diatomaceous earth, dust the bed bug powder around all areas where bed bugs may be hiding. Repeat the process every 3 days for 2 weeks to ensure complete removal of all the bed bugs.
Make sure to usefood gradediatomaceous earth (here is one example), as it is safe to use around the home and it’s an effective home treatment for killing bed bugs and fleas.
Home Remedies for Killing Bed Bugs – Commonly Asked Questions
Can baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) kill bed bugs?
Some people suggest that baking soda is an effective natural bed bug killer as it can dehydrate them or possibly even poison these tiny little pests.
However there is no indication showing that baking soda can eliminate bed bugs. In fact, baking soda doesn’t absorb much fluids so it will not dehydrate the bed bugs.
Baking soda actually breaks down in water quite easily, so its ability to absorb thick, viscous fluids like the wax on a bed bug’s shell is questionable. In addition, bed bugs don’t eat dry items in their environment such as sodium bicarbonate so it cannot poison them.
Can salt eliminate a bed bug infestation?
Salt has been used for decades to kill pests, such as slugs and snails by absorbing fluids from their body and causing them to dehydrate.
Some people believe that salt can eliminate bed bugs in the same way it kills slugs and snails. However there is a very strong anecdotal reference that this doesn’t work.
Does boric acid kill bed bugs?
Boric acid, can be used as a natural pesticide to kill roaches, eliminate ants, and eradicate termites but it needs to be ingested by the pest. Bed bugs have piercing and sucking mouth parts, and they do not ingest material other than blood from living hosts. Hence, there’s no way to get boric acid into the bed bugs’ stomach to kill them.
Does vitamin B1 (Thiamine) repel bed bugs?
Thiamin has been reported to be a mosquito repellent but there is no strong scientific evidence to support the fact that vitamin B1 helps in repelling bed bugs.
What is the best way to kill bed bugs naturally?
The best way to completely eliminate bed bugs for good is to use the following methods together:
- Vacuum all areas where bed bugs can be found.
- After vacuuming, use hot steam to naturally kill the remaining bed bugs instantly.
- Hot wash infected clothing and all fabric items.
- Use hot dryer for items that cannot be washed.
- Encase mattresses and pillows to prevent bed bugs from biting you.
- Use natural remedies such as diatomaceous earth and tea tree oil to exterminate bed bugs in hard to reach places.
How to Prevent Bed Bug Infestations
The best way to make sure that you never have any bed bug bites is to prevent bed bugs from infesting your home in the first place. Here are some top bed bug prevention tips:
- If you notice blood spots or dark marks on your bedding, immediately check all areas of your bed, mattress, and bedding for bed bugs.
- After returning from vacation, thoroughly vacuum your luggage.
- When staying in hotel rooms, take a flashlight with you to inspect the bed frame and mattress for tell-tale signs of bed bugs.
- Before bringing in second-hand furniture, beds, or mattresses to your home, thoroughly examine the items to make sure there are no bugs hiding in corners, joints, and seams.
- If you notice any bed bugs, eliminate them using theseeffective bed bug spraysto get rid of them for good.
Read my other related articles:
13 Responses toThe Top 10 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally
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Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control
Can you get rid of bed bugs on your own?
Treating bed bugs is complex. Your likelihood of success depends on many factors, including:
- How many bed bugs you have;
- How much clutter is available for hiding places;
- Whether your neighbors have bedbugs; and
- Whether all residents of a house or building will participate.
Getting rid of bed bugs completely can take weeks to months, depending on the nature and extent of the infestation. To be successful, everyone will need to cooperate and do their part.
The following steps will help you begin:
You may have to follow these steps more than once to kill all the bugs and their eggs.
Identify the Problem
- Identify the pest:
- Collect a sample of the pest to show an extension agentExitor other insect expert.
- Extension agents can identify the pest at no cost to you. They are trained in pest control and know your local area.
Develop a Strategy
- Make a schedule for completing the steps below. Be sure to include any personal plans, such as vacations.
- Keep records through the whole process. Note the dates and exact locations where pests are found. This will help you track progress and better know where to target your work.
- Keep checking for at least a year after you’re done to make sure all the bed bugs are gone.
Keep the Infestation from Spreading
- Remove infested items. Place them in a sealed plastic bag and treat them. Learn more about treatment methods in the sections below.
- Items that cannot be treated should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and left there for up to a year to ensure any active bugs are dead.
- Empty the vacuum after each use. Seal the bag as tightly as possible and immediately throw it out in an outdoor trash container.
- Discard furniture responsibly if you can’t safely eliminate the bed bugs. Destroy it so someone else won’t be tempted to bring it into their home. For example:
- Rip covers and remove stuffing from furniture items.
- Use spray paint to mark furniture with "Bed Bugs."
Prepare for Treatment
Preparing for treatment is very important; it will make it easier to monitor for bed bugs that haven’t been eliminated. This preparation should be completed whether you are doing the treatment yourself or hiring a professional.
Kill the Bed Bugs
- Make sure the methods you select are safe, effective and legal. See What’s Legal, What’s Not.
- Considernon-chemical methodsof killing bed bugs. Some will be more useful than others depending on your situation. These and other methods can be helpful, but they might not get rid of the infestation entirely:
- Heat treatment:You can use a clothes dryer on high heat. You can also use black plastic bags in a hot, closed car in the sun, but success depends on your climate and other factors. Do-it-yourself heat treatments might not work. Professionals have access to more intensive and proven methods that can even treat whole houses with heat. You may also purchase a portable heat chamber, which is usually quite effective.
- Cold treatmentcan be successful in the home environment if the freezer is set to 0 o F. You must leave the items in a sealed bag in the freezer at that temperature for four days. Always use a thermometer to check the temperature, since home freezers are not always set to 0 o .
- Steam cleaners(wet or dry) can get into cracks and fabrics to treat carpets, baseboards, bed frames, and other furniture. The steam temperature must be at least 130 o F but should not have a forceful airflow, or it may cause bed bugs to scatter. Use a diffuser to prevent scattering.
Evaluate and Prevent
- Continue to inspect for bed bugs, at least every 7 days, in case any eggs remain. You can use interceptors, traps or other monitoring methods. Interceptors are placed under the legs of furniture to catch bed bugs and keep them from climbing the legs. Commercial and do-it-yourself interceptors are options.
- Continue to protect your home from bed bugs.
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