How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs And Prevent Them
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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Everything You Need to Know to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Before you panic, read up on how the pests really operate.
The resurgence of bed bugs in American homes has caused many a sleepless night — but not everything you hear is true.
Before you start pointing fingers at the reasons your home is infested or why you do — or don’t — have a bed bugs problem, know this: Entomologist Richard Pollack, Ph.D., has found fewer than 10% of the critters people identify as bed bugs actuallyarebed bugs. That’s also why he doesn’t trust websites that list reports of bed bugs at hotels.
If you suspect you’ve got some unwelcome visitors at your house, here is everything you need to know about these nasty insects first.
Where do bed bugs come from?
Bed bugs most notoriously hitch rides on luggage, but traveling isn’t the only way to pick them up. They can easily be carried into the house on secondhand furniture, clothing, boxes, and pillows, so inspect such itemsverycarefully. Encasement products like Good Housekeeping Seal holder AllerEase mattress protector can also prevent bugs that do make it inside from hunkering down in crevices.
But while reports of bed bugs at movie theaters and in retail stores have made headlines, it’s rare that someone actually brings them home, says Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, an urban entomologist at Cornell University.
What are bed bugs attracted to?
Whether you have a messy home or a neat home, bed bugs only care that their food source, a.k.a. people, are nearby. Luckily, there’s no evidence they transmit diseases as they feed. The real threat: itchy, red bites, which are the first sign of an infestation.
Can bed bugs bite through clothes?
Unfortunately, long-sleeved pajamas won’t shield you from bed bug bites. In fact, that’s one of the tell-tale signs of an infestation. "If you wake up with numerous bites, especially under your clothes, it could be bed bugs," says David Dunham of Go Green Bedbug Dogs. Not everyone experiences the same skin reaction though. "It’s common for one person to become the host or the person getting all the bites, while their spouse or partner will get no bites at all," he adds. "Usually the person not getting bites will discredit their partner’s concerns.
Now, here’s how to get rid of bed bugs:
The first step is searching your furnishings, particularly along and behind the headboard and sides of the mattress. Bed bugs will hole up in furniture, along baseboards, in cracks in walls and, yes, in beds. Look for black stains (they leave behind blood and fecal matter), discarded molted skins, and the bugs themselves, but don’t wait too long to contact a professional.
"The biggest mistake people make is waiting too long to call for help, because the longer the problem goes on, the bigger of a chance they’ll spread within the home and even outside of the home," Dunham says.
Send or bring evidence to your local Cooperative Extension office (usually $5) or contact an online bug-ID service such as Pollack’s IdentifyUS ($30) for a diagnosis. Accuracy is very important, so pinpoint the areas and rooms in your home that need treatment and act swiftly.
As soon as you determine you have bed bugs, seal the infested bedding and clothing in clean plastic bags. Sort items based on how you would wash clothes and make a separate dry-clean only pile, advises the University of Minnesota Department of Entomology. Then wash and dry the items at the hottest temperature they can withstand.
While some bugs will die in the washing machine, it’s the heat of the dryer that will kill more of them. At least 60 minutes on a high-heat setting should do the trick, according to New York State Integrated Pest Management. Immediately dispose of the used plastic bags and put clean clothes in new ones. Don’t take the items out of the bag until the infestation is successfully controlled.
Thoroughly vacuuming rugs, floors, furniture, beds, and all cracks and crevices can also cut down on your bed bug population, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Afterwards, put the contaminated vacuum bag in a tightly sealed bag and throw it away in an outside garbage bin.
While some people think over-the-counter sprays are a solution, pyrethroid-based pesticides may kill or repel some of the insects, but can be dangerous if misused, and it’s doubtful you’ll be successful on your own. Instead, get written quotes from three licensed exterminators detailing their course of action, including pesticides, traps, and/or heat treatments they’ll use and how and where they’ll use them. "You should ask lots of questions to the companies you interview, because a good company will answer them and will never pressure you to make an appointment," says Dunham.
Asking the company about their success rate and if their treatment comes with a guarantee, should their efforts not be successful, is a must. Good luck!
Home Remedies for Bed Bugs
You take care of your house. You vacuum the rugs, clean the windows, and keep the bathrooms spotless. Guests visit, and they feel like a cleaning service makes daily trips to your house. Now imagine one morning you wake up to find that you have tiny bite marks on your body. Upon further inspection, you realize that there are small bugs in your bed. That’s right. Bed bugs.
What do you do?
Your first instinct might be to think that your house isn’t clean enough, but that may not be the case. Rest assured, bed bugs can come from several different places and are rarely a reflection of housekeeping skills. Here are some home remedies for bed bugs.
How Do People Get Bed Bugs?
Like most bugs, bed bugs come from outside the house. If you live in an apartment or any other shared living situation and have a bed bug infestation, it could be that they came from an adjoining apartment through cracks in the floors and walls.
Pesticide foggers like bug bombs don’t get rid of bed bugs, but instead, displace them– they go searching for a new home. For that reason, you want to avoid using bug bombs to deal with the infestation. I
f it makes you feel any better, if you live in a shared housing situation, it’s possible that your infestation is the result of one of your neighbors bug-bombing an infestation.
Introducingused furnitureto your house is another way bed bugs find their way inside. Be wary of used furniture, especially upholstery. Check and treat any pieces of furniture carefully before bringing them into the house. Check used clothing and books as well.
Even if it’s brand new, pay close attention to any furniture that has beenstored or transported in the back of a truck.
Finally, if you stay somewhere with bed bugs, they can also hitch a ride on you, your family, or your guests, either via your clothing or in your luggage.
How to Detect Bed Bugs
Bites on your skinare the first sign of a bed bug infestation. If you have unexplained bug bites, especially first thing in the morning, you might want to start checking around for other signs of an infestation.
Check your mattress for the visual signs of bed bugs. If you have them, you may see red or rust-colored stains, indicating crushed bed bugs.
Signs of Bed Bugs
- Tiny,Living Bugs
You might also see tiny black dots, which are bed bug excrement, and egg shells (around 1mm, a pale yellow color) resulting from the bed bugs reproducing. Finally, you may see the bugs themselves walking around.
Make sure you check every surface down to the box spring, and anything surrounding the bed as well. Check curtains, baseboards, behind wallpaper and even under the carpet. Bed bugs prefer fabric and wood to plastic and metal, so check any wooden furniture as well.
If you suspect you have bed bugs, call a professional exterminator to confirm it for you.
Bed Bugs and Your Health
Bed bugs bite because they live on blood, either human or animal blood. They feed on your blood for about ten minutes, then swell and turn red. Their bites are painless but can become itchy, but unlike mosquitos, they are harmless and do not transmit diseases.
However, if you scratch the bites, you can cause an infection. One characteristic of bed bug bites?
They are numerous, and they have a tendency to appear in straight rows. If you seemultiple bites arranged in a straight line, there’s a good chance you’re looking at bed bug bites.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
The best way to get rid of a bed bug infestation is tocall an exterminator. They’ve dealt with bed bugs before and know how to do a thorough enough job to keep them from returning. An exterminator is your best bet, just to make sure you take care of the problem completely.
However, there are some things you can do at home to get rid of bed bugs and to supplement a professional.
Treating an Infestation
Usehot waterto wash all clothes, linens and anything fabric that may have contacted the bugs. Heat will kill anything hiding in your linens. Use a dryer to dry everything as well, because a dryer will hit the bugs with a double dose of heat.
Just make sure you pay attention to the tags on the fabric, as your linens may be dry clean only. Dry cleaning can also kill bed bugs, but make sure you inform the dry cleaner of the possible infestation.
Treating an Infestation
- WashAll Clothes, Fabric and Bedding With Hot Water
- SteamYour Mattress and Box Spring
Once you’ve given your bedding the heat treatment, follow up by vacuuming all areas of the infested room(s).Vacuuming will remove any bugs from the nooks and cranniesin which they may be hiding.
Use a brush to loosen all bugs and eggs. Make sure you clean out your vacuum thoroughly afterward and dispose of any vacuum bags outside of the house. Use a steamer on things like your mattress and box spring. Steam will take care of remaining eggs.
Finally,coveryour mattress, box spring, and pillow in a completely closed bug-proof cover. Sealing up your bedding with a cover ensures that anything left will not be able to escape or feed and will eventually starve. Starvation can take up to a year, however.
Whether you’re looking to prevent bed bugs from re-infesting a room or looking to avoid one before it happens, there are a couple of things you can do. Start by making sure that your house isspotless.
Messy rooms and improperly stored items create a lot of places for bed bugs to hide, so the less attractive your home to bed bugs, the less likely you are to experience an infestation.
Preventing an Infestation
- Clean Your House
- Prevent Bed Bugs From Climbing Your Bed
- Make a Habit of Cleaning
- Inspect New Items for Bed Bugs
Remove bridgesfrom the floor to the bed. Keep bed bugs out of bed by keeping blankets from dragging the floor, and don’t use the bed as storage for anything.
Bed bug interceptors are relatively inexpensive and are placed under the feet of the bed, preventing bed bugs from reaching the legs and climbing to the bedding. Consider using them. Finally,prevention is ongoing. Clean often, checking for signs of a recurrence.
The earlier you catch bed bugs, the easier they are to clean out. Inspect all used items that you introduce to the house. When staying in a new place, check that bed for bugs. When returning from a trip, clean everything you took, including your luggage.
Home Remedies for Bed Bugs
The best ways to get rid of bed bugs are pesticides, heat treatment, and thorough cleaning, but there are a few home remedies that might help.
- Silica gel(the packets included in various products to ensure dryness) ground up and applied to affected areas will stick to the bugs and dehydrate them. Be very careful to avoid inhaling the silica gel, and it is probably best to avoid using it if you have pets or kids. Baking soda can also work for the same purpose.
- Tea tree oilin your laundry and sprayed in affected areas will repel bed bugs, as well as lavender oil. Mix lavender oil with eucalyptus and rosemary oils and water to make a repellent spray.
- Sprayingrubbing alcohol can kill some bugs on contact.
- Scented dryer sheetstend to deter bed bugs. Placing a layer of them on your bed may keep them from visiting you.
- Double-sided tape.Much like bed bug interceptors, double-sided tape prevents bed bugs from reaching your bed in the first place. Apply the tape to the underside of your bed near the legs and the bugs will get stuck on it. Just be sure to keep your blankets from touching the ground, or some of the bugs will be able to reach the bedding.
Bed Bug Removal Recipe
- Cayenne Pepper– 1 Tsp
- Ground Ginger– 1 Tsp
- Oregano Oil– 1 Tsp
- Water– 1 Tsp
You might have ingredients for this simple homemade bed bug repellent right in your kitchen. The strong smells of cayenne, ginger, and oregano repel bed bugs and other insects, too. If you know where the bed bugs are entering the room, use a mixture of cayenne pepper, ginger, and oregano oil to keep them away.
Mix the ingredients in water, strain it, and use a spray bottle to apply the solution at entry points. Make spraying a regular habit, and you’ll prevent the bugs from entering. To keep other insects from getting into your home, spray doorways and windowsills.
If you have bed bugs or are just worried about preventing an infestation, rest easy — there are plenty ofnatural bed bug repellentsand ways to kill bed bugs available.
Bed bugs can happen to anyone and even if you keep a tidy home, random variables, like your neighbor setting off a bug bomb next door, mean that an infestation can happen anytime.
In this article, you learned how to detect bed bugs, as well as a few home remedies for bed bugs, including how to repel bed bugs naturally.
Do you have a friend struggling with a bed bug infestation? Use the buttons below to share to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
In this Article
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Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.
Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.
Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.
Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.
Where Bed Bugs Hide
Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.
Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.
Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.
When Bedbugs Bite
Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.
Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.
People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.
Signs of Infestation
If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:
- Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
- Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
- Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
- An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands
If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.
Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.
If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.
Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:
- Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
- Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
- Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
- Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
- Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
- Get rid of clutter around the bed.
If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.
While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.
Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."
The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."
University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."
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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The blood-sucking BEDBUGS are spreading fast all over the world in places of human habitations. They have become a great nuisance, as It is very difficult to eradicate them with the commonly used method of spraying insecticides. Their bites can cause severe itching, sleeplessness, irritability, depression, anemia and other related problems.
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