9 Home Remedies for Bed Bugs

If you have ever been bitten by a bed bug, you will agree with me that these bloodsuckers instill painful injection that may even lead to allergic or abnormal swelling. 

Some home remedies for Bed bugs include use of Diatomaceous Earth, Steam treatment, Borax, Hair dryer, Vacuuming, Heat treatment (very high or low temperature), Use of oil extracts (Tea Tree Oil/Peppermint Oil), Baking soda and Hydrogen peroxide.

Moreover, Bed bug Herb such as Sweet Flag, Lavender, Mint Leaves, Peppermint Leaves, Tea Tree Oil, Lemongrass and Black Walnut Tea are best in killing and keeping off bed bugs plus baby bed bugs in your home. 

Details: 9 Home Remedies for Bed Bugs

Home Remedies for Bed Bugs

1. Use Extreme Heat or Extreme Cold

One of the permanent way of killing bed bugs is by use of high or low temperature. Temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit will kill the entire infestation of bed bugs (eggs, larvae and adult) in your home. To achieve this, you will need to carry out the following:

Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs

  • Remove all the items that are infested with bed bugs and scatter them in one room to allow heat action on them.
  • Open all the closets in your house/room to enable heated airflow.
  • Lock all the windows, doors and available ventilations to boost heating efficiency.
  • Remove all heat sensitive items such as plastics and nylon clothes for special treatment (vacuuming).
  • Place the room heating machines centrally to enhance equal distribution of heat within the room (uniform heat transfer.)
  • You can put indicator on windowpanes or doors to show a given color when bed bugs killing temperature (119 degree Fahrenheit) reaches.
  • Switch on the machine and let it heat the room for 30 to 60 minutes after witch you will switch off.
  • Open the doors and window and let in fresh air for 30 minutes (helps in cooling the room) before cleaning the bedbug treated room and items.

All eggs and larva stage of bed bugs will begin to die at a temperature of 98 degree Fahrenheit while adult bed bugs will start dying at a temperature of 118 degree Fahrenheit. It is important to maintain the killing temperature anywhere between 120 to 140 (max) degree Fahrenheit in order to allow complete killing of bed bugs infestation.

Alternatively, you can freeze the bed bug infested items or room to a temperature below zero degrees. The low temperature denatures enzymes action in bed bug’s lifecycle thus killing it.

You will need to carry out freezing at least 4 days for complete bed bugs’ killing to take place. NB: This method may be slightly expensive but very efficient and environmental friendly (it cause no pollution). 

Related: Pictures of bed Bugs

2. Vacuuming

In vacuuming, the vacuum machine sucks very tiny particles including small insects (bed bugs). You will require a vacuum cleaner and a source of power/energy.

Cleaning Leather Sofa with Vacuum Brush (1)

  • Plug the vacuum cleaner into a power source and switch it on.
  • Run the machine for 1 to 3 minutes to enable it reach maximum working point.
  • Point the nozzle of the vacuum on the surface of bed bugs infested items. Make sure you leave an ample space to allow effective sucking.
  • Ensure you vacuum walls, floor, cracks/crevices and closets where bed bugs can hide.
  • After thorough vacuuming all the places, empty the vacuum cleaner’s trash bin into a furnace to burn all the sucked substances. Burning is the best way of ensuring all what has been sucked (including bed bugs) is dead.

The vacuuming kill bed bugs by sucking and whirling them at a higher velocity/speed. Those bed bugs that are not killed during sucking, they are secured at the trash bin ready for destruction.

This method eliminated over 90% of bed bug infestation including eggs and larvae. Ensure you vacuum your bed bugs infested items thrice a month to completely remove bed bugs traces.

3. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth is naturally occurring sedimentary rocks that is formed from microorganisms that decomposed for many years. Your need to carry out the following:

Diatomaceous earth

  • Grind the Diatomaceous Earth in fine grain powder.
  • Wear gloves and sprinkle the powder into bed bugs infested area. You can rub bed bug infested items with Diatomaceous powder or sprinkle it over the items.
  • You can also fill cracks and crevices with this powder too.
  • Leave the treated area or items for 1 to 3 days. You will need to do this after every 3 weeks for complete bed bugs elimination.
  • Then, vacuum the area or items to remove the Diatomaceous Earth and dead bed bugs.

Diatomaceous Earth kills bed bugs on contact. The sharp edges of the rock particles penetrates/easily pierce the exoskeleton/cuticle of the bed bugs thus dehydrating them to death. The arsenic component found in the Diatomaceous Earth poisons the bed bugs when ingested (rare). This product is quick acting and increases its working with quantity applied.

Diatomaceous Earth is poisonous to your pets and children when swallowed though it does not cause irritation to your hands on contact. When purchasing Diatomaceous Earth, buy the one that is pest related such as safe brand Diatomaceous Earth.

4. Using a Dryer (Hair and clothes)

A Dryer (for clothes) is a suitable device that can be used to kill bed bugs in bed bugs’ infested clothes and smaller items, which can fit in a given dryer.

Family in laundry room with washing machine

  • Select a dryer with a power rating that will generated temperature above 110 degree Fahrenheit (bed bug killing temperature).
  • Plug the dyer into the power supply/socket.
  • Put bed bug infested items into the dryer and close.
  • Switch on the power. Set the dryer into a maximum temperature of 130 degree Fahrenheit and a run time of 15 minutes. Then, press the dryer start button.
  • Stop the dryer after 15 minutes if it’s not automatic and remove the items.
  • Blow flesh air over the treated items to remove dead bed bugs or hung them for 2 to 3 hours.

The Bed bugs in the infested items will die due to high temperature on the dryer and swirling in the chamber. 99% of the live bed bugs, larvae and eggs will be destroyed by this method. It’s not advisable to put temperature sensitive items in the dryer.

Alternatively, you can use a hair dryer.

  • Plug the hair dryer into the power supply and switch on.
  • Once heated, point the hot air from the dryer over the bed bugs infested items or areas.
  • Once treated, leaver the items to cool before blowing cold air over them.

The heat generated from the hair dryer kills the bed bugs on infested items on contact. This method is able to destroy 93% of the infestation (eggs, larvae and adult).

The killing power of hair dryer or bed bug heaters is a function of power rating of the dryer (select a higher rated hair dryer to help generate high temperature).

5. Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning involves use of superheated steam from a steam generator to kill bed bugs infestation.

floor steam cleaning

  • Heat water in a steam generator to 117 degree Fahrenheit (bed bugs killing temperature).
  • Direct the steam nozzle of steam generator onto bedbug infested items or areas.
  • Steam all closets, crevices/cracks and floor. Take care since superheated steam may burn badly.
  • Leave the treated items to cool for 30 minutes before cleaning them.

Superheated steam kill bed bug eggs, larvae and adult bed bugs on contact. This method is quick acting though it may require as specialist for complete bed bugs elimination.

Keep off all heat sensitive items and pets during treatment.

6. Using Borax (Boric acid)

Borax also called boric acid is a home solution that can be used to kill bed bugs instantly on application. The ability to kill bed bugs is determined by the concentration of borax and amount fed/breathed by bed bug.

Borax compounds

  • Wear hand protection (gloves) and sprinkle borax on bed bugs infested items (mattress, bed sheet, clothes etc.) or area (cracks, floor or closets).
  • Leave them for 20 to 50 hours for the chemical to work.
  • After treatment, clean the items to remove borax and dead bed bugs.

Box kills bed bugs by suffocating them. Though bed bugs won’t eat box as per say, the environment will make bed bugs difficult to breathe thus dying. This method will kill up to 95% of adult bed bugs. This method won’t kill eggs. Therefore, you need to combine it with complement method such as steam treatment.

Borax will cause burning sensation when in contact with eyes and upset your stomach when swallowed and thus should be kept away from children.

7. Using Vinegar

Vinegar is a strong bed bug killer since it contains a strong acetic acid, which affects the nervous system of the bed bugs.

Cleaning Vintage silverware with bicarbonate and vinegar

  • Measure 100ml of vinegar (Kroger Brand Heinz Distilled or Walmart) and mix with equal amount of water.
  • Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray over the bed bugs infested items or area (cracks, floor or closets).
  • Leave the area for 30 minutes for medicine to act/kill.
  • Clean the items after treatment to remove vinegar and dead bed bugs.

Vinegar will kill adult bed bugs on contact. The acetic acid in the vinegar will attack the nervous system thus inhibiting transport activities.  Most of the bed bugs larvae won’t die on contact (especially if the concentration won’t be much). Therefore, it is recommended to supplement this method with others such as use of Diatomaceous Earth. You should not use vinegar on acid sensitive items.

8. Rubbing Alcohol

Alcohol is able to kill the entire life-cycle of bed bugs (eggs, larvae and adults) on contact.

Rubbing alcohol

  • Put concentrated alcohol in a spray bottle.
  • Spray over the bed bugs infested items (beddings, clothes, couch) and areas (crevices/cracks, walls, floor and closets).
  • Leave the area for 4 to 6 hours for the chemical to work.

All the bed bugs that comes into contact with alcohol will be killed. Wear breathing mask (irritates nasal cavity on inhaling) and hand protection when spraying.

9. Baking Soda

To kill bed bugs using baking powder, carry out the following steps. The baking powder kills bed bugs on contacts. It will dehydrates the exoskeleton/cuticle of bed bugs thus killing them.

baking soda with brush on wooden

  • Sprinkle baking powder over the bed bugs infested areas (floor, wall, cracks/crevices and closets) and items (clothes, couches, beddings or mattress).
  • Leave the items for 2 to 6 hours.
  • Clean the treated items/area to remove baking powder and dead bed bugs.

This method will kill up to 97% of bed bugs infestation. Though some egg may be destroy, it is advisable to supplement this method with other ways such as use of steam or Diatomaceous Earth.

10. Use of Bed Bug Herbals: Indiana Lilac Leaves

Bed bug herbals entails plant and plant extracts that keep away or kill bed bugs in your place.

Indiana Lilac or lavender emit scent that either poison the bed bugs or keep them off. To achieve this, you can carry out the following procedure:

Lilac Flowers in Old Rusty Mug

  • Crush the Indiana Lilac lives into fine particles.
  • Spread the crushed leaves in bed bugs infested area and items.
  • Alternatively, boil the Indian Lilac leaves and strain the solution.
  • Sprinkle the solution over the bed bugs infested items or areas.

The Indiana Lilac leaves extract/liquid will kill bed bugs on contact. The insects breathe the scent and get paralyzed to death. Moreover, this product will also keep off bed bugs in your house.

11. Spraying Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil has anti-microorganism properties that will kill bed bugs on contact.

tea tree oil in the amber glass bottle and fresh tea tree leaves

  • Dilute 20 drops of Tea Tree Oil with little water.
  • Put the solution in a spray bottle.
  • Spray over bed bugs infested items (clothes, beddings, mattress or couches) and areas (cracks/crevices, closets, walls or floor).
  • Leave the liquid to act for 5 hours.
  • Clean the area and items to remove the oil and dead bed bugs.

Once bed bugs breathe Tea Tree Oil, they get suffocated and die since the product affect both the nervous and respiratory system. Undiluted Tea Tree Oil is unsafe for human during use. Well-diluted Tea Tree Oil will leave a nice scent on the items or areas sprayed.

What will kill bed bugs instantly?

  1. Heat treatment and use of household dryer will kill bed bugs instantly. The generated heat denatures the hormonal system and enzymes (which are protein in nature) thus killing them. 
  2. Diatomaceous Earth will also kill the entire lifecycle of the bed bugs. The destroy the exoskeleton/cuticle and inhabit the transport system thus killing them. Superheated steam destroys the incubation stage of bed bugs’ eggs and their larvae. 
  3. Use of bed bugs sprays such as Eco Defense Bed bugs killer will kill bed bugs instantly. The sprays contains ingredients that destroy the bed bugs’ eggs or inhibits the hatching of the eggs. 

Conclusion

Bed bugs bites human beings and pets injecting pain and leaves marks that may swell or lead to allergic reactions. It is also necessary to observe proper bed bugs preventive measures.

Homemade bed bugs remedies such as use of Diatomaceous Earth, Borax, Baking powder, Steam treatment, Heat treatment, Tea tree, vinegar or use of herbal such as Indiana Lilac leaves can keep off or kill bed bugs infestation in home. 

Sources: 

  1. Seasons, searches, and intentions: what the internet can tell us about the bed bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) epidemic
  2. The resurgence of bed bugs, Cimex spp.(Hemiptera: Cimicidae) in Australia 
  3. Sleep Tight! Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

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