But, if you’re anything like me, you hate second-guessing when handling household pests, and I hope you do too. Therefore, in this post, I’ll be answering this question – “does Ammonia truly kill bed bugs and their nymphs?”
So, ammonia good for bed bugs? The short answer is YES. Ammonia (or Ammonium hydroxide a compound of nitrogen + hydrogen) kills bed bugs simply on contact. But, you might need a combination of bed bugs control methods such as heat (done by an exterminator) or bed bug bombs.
What’s this ammonia?
As noted above, Ammonia (NH3) is a chemical compound that’s created from hydrogen + nitrogen to create what we generally call household ammonia. The chemical is also used in ammonium nitrate fertilizer for adding nitrogen to the soil and thus your flowers or grass.
Ammonia is also used in making household cleaners to clean tough stains on kitchen counters, bathroom, toilets, sinks, and tubs. In addition, it’s great for eating away oil/ grease stains, killing bacteria, and food fermentation. It’s no wonder that ammonia is recommended for use in killing bed bugs.
How to treat Bed Bugs with Ammonia
Summary: So, take the household ammonia, mix with water (plus alcohol) and put it into a spraying bottle with a secure lid. Next, spray all the bed bug hiding places such as bed frames, mattresses, and attics.
1. To get started, get your Ammonia and dilute it as advised on the product label instructions. Generally should be 1 part of water and 1 part of Ammonia The key consideration when at this step is to ensure that you don’t waste your ammonia while still making sure that it kills the bed bug quickly.
2. Next up is a consideration that really confuses many homeowners – i.e. should you add alcohol to the ammonia to effectively kill the bed bugs? So, my answer is – absolutely YES! Ammonia combined with alcohol is like having a dual-rocket propelled grenade against the nasty bed bugs. So, get the ball rolling by mixing the two bed-bugs solutions for fast and effective action.
3. Third, get the solution into a secure spraying bottle. However, remember that Ammonia is toxic to the human skin and hence you must not allow it to get to your bare body. Therefore, you might need to put on some gloves that’ll protect your skin.
4. It’s finally time to spray! Now, take the bottle with the ammonia plus alcohol solution and spray the bed bug hideouts. Such areas include under carpets, baseboards, bed frames and mattresses. While spraying, ensure you lift any covers or lids that could be hiding some bed bug, their eggs and larvae.
5. Finally, some people recommend using the ammonia solution in healing bed bug bites. Is this method safe? Is it effective? My informed opinion is that ammonia will be great in healing the bed bugs bites. However, the main issue is that most of us might get the concentration wrong which might be toxic to your skin. Therefore, I advise that you avoid ammonia in trying to heal bed bug bites.
6. Repeat the bed bug spraying process after 24 hours until you can see no moving bugs. In addition, ensure that you machine-wash the infested clothing and fabric with the highest allowable temperature. In addition, ensure that you vacuum the floor and wash all the carpets and rugs.
Safety Precautions for handling Ammonia
On its own ammonia won’t be toxic if used as prescribed by the manufactures. However, if you decide to mix this chemical with other substances, you’ll need to be extra careful to avoid toxic reactions and possible poisoning to humans and pets.
However, when mixed with chemicals such as bleach, you must be extra cautious to avoid poisoning. For example, bleach (which is basically chlorine) mixes with ammonia to produce chloramine – hazardous for humans and pets.
For the avoidance of doubt, yes, Chloramine (existing a tri-chloramine, di-chloramine, and mono-chloramine) is the same chemical we use when disinfecting water. However, tri-chloramine (the toxic fumes) is known to be highly poisonous and would harm your respiratory system.
Other health effects of Chloramine poisoning (from the ammonia and bleach reaction) include pneumonia, wheezing or sneezing, nausea, and chest pains. Therefore, if you get Chloramine poisoning you must seek immediate medical attention.