Easy home treatments for bed bugs

Left unchecked, bed bugs can become a massive problem in your house. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that you can remove bed bugs without spending an arm and a leg, and without calling in pest control. Here are some of the easiest and best home treatment for bed bugs out there today. Read on to find out more.

First though, a little primer on bed bugs. You may not have had much personal experience with these creatures – while those of you who have had to replace mattresses, doonas and other furniture damaged beyond repair by them, will have had far too much experience! Bed bugs can appear anywhere, in any home, apartment, flat, hotel, dormitory, hostel or shelter – they also inhabit public settings like city transport, schools, offices, hospitals, laundries and more. In fact, this is the most common way you bring them home with you. In addition to their liking for mattresses, quilts and other furniture and upholstery, your clothes and bag also serve as highly effective carriers for bed bugs – and in fact due to the recent upsurge in international trade and travel, we are seeing an increase in bed bug infestations, as tourists bring the critters home with them from tropical locations (bed bugs like the heat).

Bed bugs are small, flat shaped creatures, which enables them to find their way into all sorts of little cracks and crevices. They breed quickly, and this is what makes them such a hassle to deal with – alongside their hunger for bedding and furniture (which is what they feed on), and the difficulty we have in detecting them. Bed bugs are tiny and almost transparent in terms of color and appearance, so it is difficult to spot them with the naked eye – if they happen to be hiding within cracks below the surface of whatever fabric they have set their eyes on, it is impossible to sight them. They do leave some signs, however, including little red bites on our skin, that can be itchy and irritable, blood stains on your mattress and linen, and also tiny black spots in the areas they have been feedings – these spots are actually the bed bugs‘ feces.

Given the difficulties of detecting and rooting bed bugs, you may think any bed bug infestation at your house is a job best left for the extermination squad. But not so fast! Detect the source of the infestation, and then use one or more of these easy and affordable home remedies for getting rid of bed bugs.

Diatomaceous Earth

This is a natural, chemical-free powder for removing all manner of different household pests, including those pesky bed bugs – it’s actually comprised of the fossil remains of little aquatic organisms. How does it remove insects? It basically dehydrates them by absorbing oils and fats from the pests. simply apply to affected areas – soon enough you will start seeing dead insects, that you can them easily vacuum away. While slow acting – it will take around 10 days for this material to kill all pests – it is highly effective, with a hit rate of more than 90%, and you are also able to sprinkle it in otherwise hard-to-reach crevices and cracks. Before usage, wash your linen in hot water, vacuum the house, and be sure when sprinkling to wear a mask, as although it is non-toxic, the small pieces that make up the earth are quite sharp and pointy, and can cause damage to your lungs if inhaled. Vacuum the powder up when it has finished doing its work, and re-apply several times to remove all bugs, including the recently hatched ones.

Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum

As well as washing all your fabrics and linen in the hottest water you can, thoroughly vacuum all surfaces where bed bugs may be dwelling, including carpets, chairs, mattresses, even soft furnishings like curtains. Vacuum all areas at least weekly, and be sure to empty or dispose of your vacuum bag outside, once you have finished.

Steam cleaning

Some items – like non-removable carpets – obviously cannot be washed at high temperatures, so you may also want to give steam cleaning a go if you have a bed bug problem at home. Steam cleaners reach temperatures of up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit – they basically kill bed bugs by delivering a lethal dosage of heat to them. They are also able to penetrate deep below the surface of your fabrics. And most of them come with various nozzles that allow you to reach inside otherwise inaccessible cracks and crevices. The good quality ones can be expensive, so see if you are able to rent a professional standard steamer.

Baking soda

Similar to diatomaceous earth, baking soda fights bugs by drying them out. Sprinkle a light layer over all surfaces known to be affected, and allow to sit for one week. Then suck up the baking soda using a vacuum cleaner. You may have to repeat several times to rid yourself of all bugs, including the eggs.

Cayenne Pepper, Oregano, and Ginger

Concoct a home-made bed bug fighting spray using these common cooking ingredients – you’ve probably got some of each contained in your spice cabinet already. The strong smell of the oregano oil and the spiciness of the ginger and cayenne will easily repel any bed bugs who happen to run into it.

Tea tree oil

With its antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral and antiseptic properties, tea tree oil is super effective at not only suppressing bacterial and viral infections but also at killing pests including bed bugs, due to its anti-parasitic qualities. Pour, diluted, into a spray bottle and spray affected linen and furnishings. Repeat the process several times until the bed bugs are totally eliminated.

Lavender and peppermint oil spray

The lavender essential oil contains insect-repelling chemicals that on the other hand are safe for humans and pets – it has actually been used for centuries to repel insects, often in clothes and linen as a way of keeping away moths. Like tea tree oil, it makes a fine natural pesticide – no toxic chemicals to contend with. Combine with peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle, and spray all affected areas. Once again, you may have to repeat the process multiple times to get truly effective results.


Main editor

Expert in mosquito control and the main website editor at InsectCop.net. Karen started InsectCop to help people get rid of mosquitoes. But now she gives advice an all things pest control.

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