Will bleach kill bed bugs and their eggs? If your home is suffering from a bed bug infestation, then you may feel tempted to try and resolve the problem yourself, before resorting to the costly measure of calling in professional pest control services. One obvious method for removing the blighters is dousing your bedding, mattresses etc in bleach. But does it work? Read on as we attempt to answer the question of does bleach kill bed bugs for you.
About bed bugs
Small, non-flying insects with flat, oval-shaped bodies and a reddish-brown hue, bed bugs seem to appear wherever humans live and sleep. That is because our blood is a major source of food for them; the little insects come out at night, biting whatever areas of our skin are exposed as we sleep, none the wiser to their dining. The bites they leave take the appearance of small, red spots, somewhat similar to mosquito bites – and often lined up in a row, a ‘fossil’ if you will of the insect’s activities as it moves sequentially from site to site, feeding on the host.
Bed bugs can be found anywhere in the home – or in hotels, laundries, and any other paces containing human bedding – however, they are most likely to be found dwelling within mattresses, bed frames, springs; and the cracks and crevices of other furniture and home fittings. After the war, bedbugs became much less prolific in the developed world due to the development of synthetic insecticides like DDT, however, in recent years, they have experienced something of a comeback, mainly due to increases in international travel and trade, and greater restrictions on the use of the aforementioned pesticides.
Though they can’t fly, bed bugs can easily spread around the home – and from one house to another – by hiding both themselves and their eggs within items of clothing, furniture, and luggage. They also breed quickly, and through their bites aren’t especially painful or dangerous, they are unsightly, itchy, and have the potential to lead to infection around the site of the bite. That is why any bed bug infestation in your home should be dealt with swiftly and firmly!
Will bleach kill bedbugs?
Calling out professional pest control services to deal with a bedbug infestation within your home may seem like a bit of a drastic measure – expensive as well! Wouldn’t it be better if you could just solve the problem on your own, using cheap and easy to obtain household ingredients? We all know that bleach is a powerful and versatile cleaning and disinfection agent. You might be wondering if you can eradicate bedbugs with it as well. Let us find out if bleach can be added to the list of what kills bed bugs.
What chemicals are contained in bleach?
If you are thinking of using bleach to kill bed bugs, then you should first have a good understanding of what it is made up of. Common household bleach contains as it’s main active ingredient Sodium Hypochlorite: it is the agent within the bleach that helps remove stains, kills bacteria – and whitens your clothes. Bleach also contains:
- sodium chloride (ie table salt – it acts as a stabilizer)
- sodium carbonate (helps remove grease and stains, and softens the water used in the bleach cleaning process)
- sodium hydroxide (a pH adjuster; also aids in removing the grease and stains from clothing)
- sodium polyacrylate (an ingredient which helps keep dirt and soil from getting re-absorbed into the clothes you are washing)
Will Clorox bleach kill bed bugs?
Bed bugs are very stubborn creatures, that are highly resistive even to many of the products specially designed for eradicating bedbugs that are now out there on the market. That is if you can detect them in the first place! As well as being stubborn, bed bugs are elusive; they only come out to feed after dark, the rest of the time they dwell within whatever hard to reach cracks and crevices are handy. Sometimes, their presence – and exact whereabouts – can go undetected for years at a stretch.
Will bleach water kill bed bugs? Common household bleach may be able to kill bedbugs – in theory, that is: you would have to spray the bleach directly on the bug so that the sodium hypochlorite (the active ingredient in bleach) oxidizes the insect’s outer shell. You see, according to a study from 2008, when bleach is added to a certain protein known as Hsp33, the latter ceases to function, and the bacteria containing this protein quickly die. Since bedbugs contain the same and similar proteins, it follows that hitting them with a dose of bleach would produce similar results, so that, yes, bleach kills bed bugs.
In practice, of course, finding all individual bed bugs would be next to impossible; and if you were to just douse all of your bedding, mattresses and other home furniture and fittings with bleach, willy-nilly, then in the process you also risk destroying your property, as well as being exposed to the poisonous fumes from the bleach. To be honest, the risks of using bleach to try and kill bedbugs well and truly outweigh the benefits.
In answer to the question of can bleach kill bed bugs, we can say that YES it can, but it probably shouldn’t if you want to get the best results and not suffer harmful side-effects.
If bleach won’t kill bedbugs, what will?
Actually, if you want to solve your own bedbug problems without suffering any unwanted side effects, then you are far better off attempting to harness the power of heat, then that of poisonous chemicals. This, in fact, is one of the main pest control methods used by the professional exterminators: the temperature throughout your home is raised to a point where bed bugs – and other undesirables – cannot survive it.
At the end of the day, a hot wash and dry of all of your household bedding, mattresses etc are a better means of eliminating bed bugs than using a bottle of bleach. And in fact, bringing in the professionals is probably your surest bet for permanently eliminating all bed bugs from your home. So get out your yellow pages, and find the number of your nearest pest control specialist. Bedbugs are a problem best solved by the professionals; bleach and bed bugs don’t really mix!