Does silica gel kill bed bugs? Can I use silica gel to get rid of bed bugs? And how efficient is silica gel for killing bed bugs? These are all common questions people have regarding this natural bed bug elimination method. Which is why in this blog post we will attempt to answer these quires. Let’s dive in, shall we?
What is Silica gel?
Silica gel is a white and soft form of silicon oxide aka silica. It is porous without a regular three-dimensional molecular structure.
Why is Silica Gel Important for Us?
There are numerous uses of silica gel. Some of the most common applications are:
- As drying agents (desiccants): used to prevent the accumulation of moisture in stored products;
- As anti-caking agents: used as an additive to prevent the formation of lumps in granulated or powdered pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and food.
- As insecticide: used as a pest control measure because of its harmless effect on mammals.
Bedbugs: Our Unwanted Roommate
Bed bugs have long been unwanted parasitic insects dwelling in homes and feeding on the blood of humans and our beloved pets. The most common of them is the Cimex lectularius species of bed bugs which, interestingly, prefers the human blood of the blood of other hosts.
From our furniture to clothing and other textile materials, bed bugs can dwell anywhere in the home. And since they are most active at night, a bed bug infestation in matrasses is the most common. Bed bugs crawl out from crevices of the bed or mattress while you’re sleeping to chew on your exposed skin like your legs, arms, neck, and even your face.
These insect bites may go unnoticed because bed bug bites are painless and often people mistake bed bug bites for a rash. However, if red bumps have appeared on your skin during the night and they are accompanied by mild or intense itching as well as redness of your skin, you can be sure that you most likely have bed bugs.
Control of bed bugs
Nowadays people use all kinds of insecticides for controlling and killing bed bugs. A few of the most common bed bug killing substances are 10% DDT powder, pyrethrum, and sulfur. While those preferring more natural bed bug infestation combating solutions usually reach for diatomaceous earth powered. Yet the diatomaceous earth isn’t actually the best thing to use as a natural bed bug remedy. Silica gel is.
Why Do People Prefer Silica Gel Bed Bug Powder?
Bed bugs are notorious for being able to adapt to different insecticide formulations. Which lately has sparked a renewed interest in the development of powders that kills these parasites by dehydrating them.
Diatomaceous earth is a dehydrating compound which showed immense potential during laboratory studies. Yet, when the researchers went to apply it on a real-life bed bug infestation, the results weren’t promising, since the real-life application did not replicate the impressive results recorded in the laboratory environment.
Which is why recently researchers have shifted towards using silica dust as a way to control bed bugs. Because due to silica powder’s light, fluffy texture, it can easily get stuck on the bed bugs that are crawling over different surfaces where the dust has been applied and therefore is a much better natural bed bug control method.
Yet, during testing a problem emerged – the silica dust was often too lightweight resulting in the powder getting suspended in the air rather than getting stuck on the bugs. Luckily, researchers overcame this challenge by adding petroleum distillate to the silica powder which helps the dust to adhere to bed bugs as well as the surfaces that the power is applied to.
Will Silica Gel Kill Bed Bugs?
Like many insects, bed bugs have an exoskeleton which not only protects the bugs but also helps them stay hydrated. And because of this that how quickly the silica powder will be able to kill the bud bugs will vary. However, silica gel is great for getting rid of these bugs because it actually removes the think protective outer layer of bed bugs that help them conserve body moisture, resulting in faster absorption and faster effect.
How is silica able to do that? Well, since the cuticles of insects are made of jelly wax, silica dust for bed bugs gradually absorbs the water and oil from the bugs’ cuticles, leaving the bugs exposed and susceptible to the deadly effects if the silica gel.
Can I Use Silica Gel to Kill Bed Bugs?
And the answer to this question is an overwhelming yes. You can and should! Because, unlike boric acid that must be ingested by the insect for it to clog of their breathing pores, absorptive dust like silica gel is safe and very potent bed bug killing tool.
Other reasons why you should adopt the application of silica gel dust when trying to control and manage a bed bug infestation include:
- It is inorganic, and less harmful to humans because of its low toxicity;
- It is super effective at penetrating the cracks and crevices of adult bugs as well as their newly hatched eggs which they are called nymphs;
- It is a much better long-term solution considering that studies have shown the efficacy of its residual effects, particularly in less humid environments.
Preventive Application of Silica Gel Dust
And besides helping you kill bed bugs, silica gel dust can also help you control the spread of bed bug infestations. You need to apply it about the perimeter of your home as well as around and under sofas, beds, doors, and even in corridors, because this will help you make sure that both the bedbugs don’t migrate to other parts of your home and that they don’t return once you have dealt with the infestation.
On top of that, the dust that you applied to treated areas also has residual effects. And they are known to last for over a year. Which is another added bonus when using silica gel dust to combat bed bugs. Just make sure that you periodically reapply the silica dust to keep your home a bud bug-free zone!