How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Natural Ways
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.
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.
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.
Even by using different types of insecticides regularly, I had failed again and again to remove all the BEDBUGS from my room. In desperation, I started using NEEM soap and NEEM detergents to wash my bedsheets, pillow covers, blankets, mosquito net, and also to wash my clothes like the shirts, pants, underwears, banians, nightdresses, caps, socks, handkerchiefs, towels, napkins, etc. Only after I did that, the BEDBUGS DISAPPEARED totally within a few days!
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We can use NEEM SPRAYS to kill and repel bedbugs, mosquitoes, mites, lice, fleas, ticks, cockroaches, ants, flies, etc. Washing our clothes with NEEM soap and NEEM detergents repels these insects.
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How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally
Bed bugs suck…. that’s a fact. And if you have ever had to deal with them, then you know they can literally make your life a living hell.
They bite you, they make you itch and worst of all…they can be an absolute pain to get rid of. For this reason, you want to be sure you follow the correct steps to get rid of bed bugs to save yourself time and money.
I am one for doing things the good old organic way when I can, so this article is going to focus on how to remote these biting pests without chemicals.
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Signs You Have Bed Bugs
Before you run to the bedroom to burn your mattress, let’s make sure that you actually have bed bugs.
First of all, you should know what bed bugs look like.
The main physical characteristics of bed bugs are:
- Resemble a tick
- Around 1/5 of an inch long
- A rusty brown color
- No wings
So now you know what they look like, you can look for these signs that may indicate you have a bed bug infestation:
- There may be blood stains/spots on the bed sheets
- Carefully inspect your mattresses, bed frames, floors and walls for any signs of the bed bugs them selfs. Be sure to check cracks and crevices carefully
- Inspect your mattresses, bed frames, floors and walls for signs of bed bug feces – these will be rusty brown spots or smudges
- There may be a musty odor from the bugs themselves
DON’T FORGET UNDER THE BED!Don’t forget to check under the bed and on the floor for all these signs. Another important place to check is piles of clothes.
If you have found signs of a bed bug infestation, then getting on top of it as quick as possible is important. The sooner you break the life cycle of this biting pest, the quicker they will be gone.
How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs – The Non Toxic Way
As I have already mentioned, the key to ridding your house of bed bugs is to break the life cycle.
You don’t have to carry out every single one of these methods, but using as many as possible will give you the highest chance of successfully eradicating your bed bug infestation.
A quick note to add here, if you believe your mattress is beyond saving then I highly recommend reading the guides over at restfaq.com before rushing out and buying a new one. It is very easy to waste a lot of money so make sure you are armed with all the facts first!
Wash Bed Linen, Fabrics and Clothes
Take off all the bed linen and gather up the following items that have been in or near the affected area:
- Pillow Cases
- Underlays/mattress protectors
- Clothes that have touched the bed or been in the general area
There is an important process to follow when it comes to ridding your fabrics of bed bugs and their eggs, so be sure to read the following carefully.
- Stay in the infested area (you don’t want to move the bed bugs to other areas of your house) and sort your clothes as you would for a normal washing day
- Put each separated pile into a plastic bag
- Be sure to separate out clothes that must be dry cleaned – you can’t wash these but you can tumble dry them (which can kill bed bugs)
- Twist the tops of the bags and use some tape to seal them up to ensure bed bugs can’t escape
Washing and Drying
- Take your first lot of washing and add it to your washer – be sure to tip the bag directly into the machine to avoid spreading bed bugs
- Place your empty bag inside another clean bag and seal it up – once again to avoid spreading the infestation
- Use the hottest setting that the fabric can stand and wash and dry each load
- If clothes are dry cleanable only, then place them in your dryer for 30 minutes or above on the moderate to hottest setting – this will kill the bed bugs (be sure to take them to the dry cleaner afterwards, as they will still need to be properly cleaned)
Storage of Cleaned Clothes
- As soon as your clothes come out of your dryer, store them in clean, sealed plastic bags to ensure they cannot become re-infected
- Do not remove them from the plastic bags until you are in an uninfested area – on other words…do not put them away until you are sure your infestation is gone!
An important step of getting rid of bed bugs is to remove as many of the eggs, nymphs and actual bugs (both alive and dead) as possible.
This is an important part of breaking the life cycle of the bed bugs in your place of infestation.
A great way to do this is with a vacuum cleaner.
You will need:
- A vacuum cleaner that is reasonably powerful
- A crevice tool
- Grab a stiff brush and scrub along mattress seams, stitching and any crevices to loosen bed bugs and their eggs
- Set your vacuum on it’s most powerful setting and fit your crevice tool
- Vacuum along basically your whole mattress, focusing especially on:
- any other places that are indented where bed bugs or eggs may hide
This is an important step in the process, so you must make sure you do a good job. Even missing a few eggs or bugs can result in the infestation coming back.
Steam kills bed bugs in all stages of their life cycle, so using a good quality commercial steam cleaner is an effective way to help ensure any bugs left in your infested area are dead.
It is important to note here that you should not use a carpet cleaning machine. These devices do not reach a sufficient temperature to kill bed bugs. Steam temperatures of between 160-180°F (71-82°C) are required to kill bed bugs quickly.
Steam from a high-quality steam cleaner effectively reaches into fabrics, deep cracks and crevices and indentations on surfaces.
- Choose an appropriate nozzle that comes with the steamer. Our favorite is the triangular shaped one that is included with most models
- Move the wand at an appropriate speed to ensure the surface reaches the required temperature to kill bed bugs 160-180°F (71-82°C). You can use an infrared or laser temperature gun to test this.
- Ensure you do not move so slow that the heat gets too high and damages the surface
- Steam clean all surfaces that have had bed bugs on them or where you think bed bugs may be hiding. Paying particular attention to:
- The mattress (including seams, stitching etc)
- Bed frame and bed head
- Carpet and hard floors
Steam Is DangerousSteam is very hot and can cause very serious burns. Be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully that are included with your steam cleaner.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is an effective (if messy) way to kill adult bed bugs. It does take some time to break the life cycle, but it does work.
Use Lavender and Tea Tree Oil
Bugs hate lavender and tea tree oil, so much so that they generally won’t come anywhere near it due to its strong smell.
Grab some Lavender Oil or Tea Tree Oil and wipe the bases of your bed frame and any furniture around the area affected by bed bugs. It will stop them using the furniture to climb back into your bed for several weeks.
The last thing we want is those disgusting little bugs to have an easy path back to our beds!
What If The Bed Bugs Come Back?
If after all this, you still find your bed bug infestation returns then you have a few options:
- Try again -painful but will be the cheapest and most natural option
- Use insecticides – not natural…. but you might just be at your breaking point
- Call an exterminator – Oncea again, not natural… but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes
Pricing last updated on 2020-04-19 at 03:14 / affiliate links – Details