Bed bug infestations are persistent, and increasingly common, household problems. It’s almost always necessary to seek professional assistance in dealing with the presence of bed bugs.
However, there are certain things that you can do at home to try to reduce the extent of the infestation. These measures could also help to prevent infestations from taking hold and getting out of control in the first place. The use of certain essential oils in addressing the bed bug problem is the focus of this article.
- 1 What are Bed Bugs?
- 2 Essential Oils For Bed Bugs
- 3 Other Natural Bed Bug Repellants
- 3.1 Black walnut tea
- 3.2 Mint leaves
- 3.3 Beauveria bassiana
- 3.4 Indian lilac
- 3.5 Sweet flag
- 3.6 Stiff brush
- 3.7 Double-sided tape
- 3.8 Steam cleaning
- 3.9 Cayenne pepper
- 3.10 Baking soda
- 3.11 Bean leaves
- 3.12 Thyme leaves
- 3.13 Lavender
- 3.14 Diatomaceous earth
- 3.15 Pyrethrum
- 3.16 Vacuum cleaner
- 3.17 Wash all fabrics in very hot water
- 3.18 Oregano, ginger, and cayenne spray
- 3.19 Peppermint and lavender spray
- 4 Natural Remedies for Bed Bug Bites
What are Bed Bugs?
If there are bed bugs in your home, someone has brought them in from elsewhere. Perhaps you’ve purchased a piece of used furniture harboring some of these insects, or a few got into your clothing or bag during a visit to a friend’s house or public place.
Don’t underestimate how many places bed bugs can be found today. In the 1950s, bed bugs had almost been eradicated in North America by the use of DDT, a pesticide extremely dangerous to humans. Since DDT was banned, bed bugs have become increasingly widespread.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that bed bugs are only found in dirty surroundings. This is not the case. Bed bug infestations can take hold in the most fastidious of households.
Bed bugs tend to be an especially serious problem in densely populated cities. Bed bugs are parasitic, feeding on human blood.
They are alarmingly resilient creatures that can stay alive for as long as a year without food. It takes only about a month for a bed bug to reach adulthood, and three or four generations of the insects can be produced within a single year.
While adult bed bugs are reddish-brown in color and about five millimeters in size as adults, babies are pale and the size of the head of a pin.
Bed bugs will suck your blood until they’re full. When full, they can be as much as six times their regular size. Their shape also changes from flat to almost that of a football.
Despite their name, bed bugs aren’t only found in the bed. They can be found all over the household. Just a few examples of spots where they can live include livingroom furniture, bookcases and books, behind pictures on the wall, and within printers and computers.
If you have a bed bug infestation and are bitten, you’re likely to have itchy skin welts that are red in color. It’s believed, however, that there are some people who do not have these symptoms, making their infestation harder to detect.
When people scratch their itchy bed bug bits too much, secondary infections can develop. It is rare, but a small group of people can have anaphylactic reactions.
Bed bugs shed skin during the course of their lives, and this dead skin can lead to asthmatic reactions in some people. If you have bed bugs, you might find blood droppings in your bed. These droppings can be from light brown to black.
Try to reduce the amount of clutter in your house, and especially in the bedroom, as bed bugs can hide and thrive in it. If you have a large headboard on your bed, you should be aware that bed bugs can live and breed behind it.
Try completely encasing and sealing your mattress and box spring in plastic covers for at least a year. This can starve bed bugs and hopefully kill them.
Also, wash all your bedding and clothes in hot water, and use the dryer. Ensure that you vacuum thoroughly and frequently.
An increasingly common way to detect bed bugs is to use specially trained dogs to sniff out these insects.
Essential Oils For Bed Bugs
Below is a list of essential oils that you can use in your fight against bed bugs in your home. Please note that the only one of these oils that you should use in a child’s bedroom is lavender. Many of the others might cause adverse health effects. Also, it’s important to ensure that none of your family members are allergic to the essential oils that you plan to use.
Tea tree essential oil
It makes sense that tea tree oil can be effective against bed bugs, as it is believed to have the ability to kill lice. Tea tree oil is an excellent natural insect repellent, as well as an antibacterial substance.
To use this oil, mix it with a few ounces of water in a spray bottle. You can spray this all over your rugs, carpets, linen, couch, and curtains. You might also find it helpful to add a few drops of tea tree oil to each load of laundry.
Neem essential oil
Neem essential oil is one of the most useful essential oils for addressing a bed bug problem. This oil has an extensive history of use as a natural pesticide in India.
To help kill bed bugs, you’ll need Neem oil that has been cold-pressed from the Neem leaves. You should be aware that many people find the scent of Neem essential oil to be unpleasant.
Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint is useful for repelling bed bugs, as insects dislike it and it has antibacterial properties. You can spray peppermint oil mixed with water wherever you like in your home. Its fresh smell will help to give your home a crisp and clean atmosphere, as well.
Lemongrass essential oil
Bed bugs hate acidity in their environment. This is the reason why lemongrass can be effective. It is very acidic. Acidity makes it more difficult for bed bugs to breed, as it can destroy their eggs. Be careful not to get lemongrass oil on your skin, as it might cause a reaction.
Eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus oil can kill bed bugs and their eggs. You can mix it with water and spray it wherever you would like in the house. You’ll find that this essential oil has a pleasant and refreshing scent.
Lavender essential oil
Lavender essential oil is thought to help repel bed bugs. In southern France, this oil is even used to deter scorpions. Lavender oil smells wonderful, and will help you relax in the evening. Lavender oil might help to weaken bed bug eggs.
Thyme essential oil
Thyme can be useful in addressing bed bugs because it has excellent astringent properties.
Clove essential oil
The acidity of clove essential oil will help to deter bed bugs and make it difficult for them to breed as they might otherwise. Some people dislike the smell of clove oil, so it would be advisable to ensure that you can tolerate it before use.
Lemon essential oil
Lemon is effective for repelling insects and making their environment inhospitable. It also has antibacterial properties. You can spray lemon essential oil and water on your bed and wherever else you’d like, and add it to your laundry, if you’d like.
Using essential oils
One way you can use any of the above essential oils is to mix water and 30 drops of one or more of the oils of your choice in a spray bottle.
Shake the bottle well before spraying it. You should apply this mixture on all the soft surfaces and other areas where bed bugs might live in your house.
Another variation of this recipe is one and a half cups of distilled water, one ounce (two tablespoons of witch hazel), and 30 drops of the essential oil of your choice.
With this recipe, it works best to mix the ingredients in a large measuring bowl. Try to find one that has a pouring spout. Once you’ve done this, transfer the liquid to a spray bottle.
If for any reason you decide that you want to use any of these oils directly on your skin, make sure it is safe to do so by reading the label on the bottle. Any essential oils applied to the skin should be diluted with a carrier oil (such as olive oil).
Other Natural Bed Bug Repellants
Essential oils aren’t the only avenue for natural bed bug solutions. Below is a list of other natural solutions for the pesky problem:
Black walnut tea
Black walnut tea is an herb that can help repel bedbugs. It is considered by some to work as a natural insecticide. You can either place black walnut tea bags in spots such as closets, the crease and nooks of the bed, and the corners of the room, or you may sprinkle the tea in the same area. Black walnut tea is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, as well.
Sprinkle crushed mint leaves, and make a packed of dried leaves and put it where it would be most effective in repelling bed bugs.
Beauveria bassiana is a fungus that is believed to work as a natural insecticide. Some people believe that it can kill bed bugs within three to five days of use.
You can simply crush Indian lilac leaves and put them in relevant spots. Their antibacterial properties and aroma will help to fight bed bugs.
If you’d like, you can also boil Indian lilac leaves in water for around 10 minutes. Once the liquid has cooled, train it. You can add it to your bath. It will not only help to repel bed bugs from your skin but address irritation from bites.
Sweet flag is also referred to as calamus. It is this substance’s aromatic properties that make it effective as a bed bug repellant.
There are packets of sweet flag (calamus) available on the market. They should provide instructions for use. Make up the solution and then spray it, as instructed there.
Brushing your mattress with a stiff brush should get rid of bed bug eggs and adult insects.
It can be helpful to stick double-sided tape around the bottom area of your bed. If any bed bugs attempt to move over that area to reach you, they’ll get stuck and be immobilized by the tape.
Very hot temperatures (113 degrees Fahrenheit minimum) can kill bed bugs. Get a professional steam cleaning to kill the bugs and destroy their eggs. You should have your cushions, mattress, and carpets steamed.
Mix one teaspoon of oregano and one teaspoon of grated ginger, with one teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and boil this concoction in water.
Once the liquid has cooled, strain it and transfer it to a spray bottle. Spray the liquid in the spots where bed bugs might hide, as well as the thresholds of rooms. The smell will help to repel bed bugs.
Baking soda not only has antibacterial properties but also can help to absorb moisture from bed bug bodies. This drying effect makes it more difficult for bed bugs to live in their environment.
Sprinkle generous amounts of baking soda in crevices and other areas where bed bugs might take refuge. It’s important to vacuum up the baking soda and re-apply it fresh every few days.
Put bean leaves all over the floor of the room with a bed bug problem. The microscopic hooked hairs (trichomes) on the leaves can help to kill bed bugs by piercing their feet. This is a traditional method of dealing with bed bug infestations in the Balkans.
Stuff some small net bags with fresh thyme leaves, and arrange these bags in places where bed bugs could be hiding. It’s important that you change the leaves in these bags every few days, to ensure continued efficacy.
Lavender powder and soap can be useful in helping to repel bed bugs.
Put diatomaceous earth in the areas of your home where bed bugs could be hiding. This substance is believed capable of killing most bed bugs within about 10 days.
One of the reasons why it’s effective is the fact that it dehydrates the bugs. You can put diatomaceous earth in cracks in the walls where bed bugs can hide, too.
Pyrethrum is believed to have natural insecticide properties. It is an extract created by combining Chysanthemum and Coccineum flower heads. This concoction can attack bed bugs’ nervous systems, making it a toxic substance for these creatures.
Don’t forget to vacuum regularly. Vacuuming can suck up bed bugs and their eggs. It’s especially useful after you’ve used another remedy to kill the bugs and eggs first.
Wash all fabrics in very hot water
It’s important to use very hot water when washing fabrics during a bed bug infestation. The heat can kill the bugs.
Oregano, ginger, and cayenne spray
To make this spray, you will need one cup of water, one teaspoon of oregano essential oil, one teaspoon of grated ginger, and one teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
Mix all of the ingredients in a pan, and put this pan on the stove. Boil the solution for seven minutes. Once it has cooled, strain it and then transfer it to a spray bottle.
Spray the solution in all the entry points of the rooms in which you think there could be bed bugs, as well as around mattresses and bed frames. Do this every three days or so.
Peppermint and lavender spray
Mix 15 drops of peppermint oil and the same amount of lavender oil in a spray bottle full of water. Shake well before spraying wherever you feel that there are bed bugs in your house.
Natural Remedies for Bed Bug Bites
Below are some popular natural remedies for the itchiness and general discomfort of bed bug bites. Remember that you need to see a doctor if you think that a bite might be infected.
Witch hazel is an astringent that you can purchase at any drugstore. It will help with itching. To use witch hazel, soak a cotton ball in it. Position the cotton ball on the bite or bites. You can repeat this as often as you would like.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar will help to soothe the burning and itching of bed bug bites. This is because of its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the acetic acid in it.
Put apple cider vinegar (unfiltered and raw) on the affected areas of skin, and let it dry. After that, rinse it off. You can do this several times a day. White vinegar can be used if you don’t have access to the apple cider variety.
Ice packs can help with itching because they can numb nerve endings. To make an ice pack, wrap up some ice cubes in a suitably thin towel, and position this on the area of skin affected. Keep this on for between 10 and 15 minutes, and then make a new ice pack (if required).
Lemon juice is an astringent that will help to dry out any rashes caused by bites. In doing so, it will alleviate itching. The juice also has useful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This will aid in reducing swelling and redness.
Soak one cotton ball in lemon juice, and then apply it to the bites. Let this dry, and rinse with water. You can do this as needed.
You should be aware that lemon juice can make you more likely to get a sunburn. It’s because of this that you shouldn’t go out into the sun for a few hours afterwards.
Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel is anti-inflammatory and soothing. It will help with itching because of the amino acids and other active compounds. It also hydrates the skin and promotes healing.
If you have an aloe vera plant, take off one leaf. Rinse it off, and then cut it open to access the gel. Take out the gel, and massage it onto the affected areas of skin. If you don’t use all the gel, you can put the rest in the fridge to store.
Tea tree oil: Mix tea tree oil (one or two drops) with coconut oil or another carrier oil. You can apply this to your bed bug bites twice a day. This will help with inflammation, redness, and itching.
Using a cool compress can help to alleviate soreness and inflammation.
Taking an oatmeal bath will help to deal with the itching and inflammation of your bed bug bites.
Patchouli oil will help to reduce the inflammation of your bed bug bites, and generally encourage healing. Massage the oil into the affected areas, and let it soak in. If you wish, you can add several drops of patchouli oil to a warm bath.
Soap and water
Make sure to always wash bed bug bites with soap and water. This will reduce the risk of an infection developing. It might also help a bit with the itching.
Baking soda can bring down the redness and inflammation of bed bug bites through helping to neutralize the chemicals and acids that cause these problems. The substance’s general anti-bacterial properties also make it a useful choice.
Cucumber has excellent soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Slice up a cucumber and place the places on the affected areas of skin for half an hour. You can repeat this as needed.
There’s nothing to be embarrassed about! Bed bug infestations are a common problem. Luckily, there are numerous things that you can do to help deal with the issue until you can get professional help. The use of certain essential ones is among them.
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