Bed bugs are those little insects that live in your mattress, sheets, and even your clothes. They are little vampires that survive off human blood, and if your mattress, sheets or pillows cases contain them, they will be dining on you. Most of us at some point in our lives have had to deal with bed bugs. Bed bugs can invade your home in any number of ways.
These hairy little hitchhikers can follow you home from vacation, catch a ride on second-hand furniture, or mysteriously come into your house from some unknown source. It can prove difficult to be rid of them. It takes persistence and perseverance to deal with bed bugs and the Organic Daily Post has discovered some natural remedies for bed bugs we feel you should know about.
Be Aware of Where You Are
If you do any travelling, hotel rooms can be a breeding ground for Bed bugs. When on vacation, be careful where you place your luggage in the room. Avoid putting your suitcases or clothes directly onto the bed. Instead, use the luggage rack (so that’s what that thing is) or the top of the dresser. Don’t hesitate to check out the mattress and pillowcases for any obvious signs of infestation like brown spots, red spots, dead bugs, and even live ones.
Once back home, rather than unpacking your clothes (clean or not) and placing them directly into your dresser, put all clothing straight into the washing machine. As an extra precaution, if you’ve stayed in a hotel or motel room, vacuum out your suitcase.
There are some proactive behaviors that you can also implement in your home even if you’re not traveling. Clear up clutter. Bed bugs don’t need a dirty home in which to thrive, but like spiders, they do love clutter. It gives them plenty of places to hide.
Additionally, carefully check any secondhand furniture you may bring into your home for signs of bugs; especially old cloth couches, chairs and mattresses.
Hot and Cold
Hot and cold treatments are often used for dealing with bed bugs. Steam cleaning will also kill them. Steaming works great for all those items that you can’t fit in the washing and dryer such as mattresses, couches, and upholstered chairs.
You can rent a steam machine at many retail outlets. Dry heat is another option.
Freezing cold temperatures is another way to kill them off.
Once you’ve gone through the process of dealing with bed bugs, you may want to invest in a set of mattress covers. These covers are created in such a way that they prevent bed bugs from being able to get through the material to live inside your mattress. Once you’ve cleaned and disinfected a mattress, by properly covering it, you’re creating a nearly impenetrable barrier making it difficult for them to return. Re-infestation is a real threat with Bed bugs, and mattress covers are an effective weapon in your arsenal to combat that problem
Our Top Recommendation
Almost regardless of which insect is infesting your home or yard, our top recommended solution is the same. Cedar oil is a safe, non-toxic and all natural solution for killing and repelling most insects.
Cedar oil does not harm beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, but it is a contact killer and effective repellent for most insects you’d want to get rid of. See this article to learn more about cedar oil or to see the full range of cedar oil products, click here.
Cedar oil is used to kill bed bugs by fogging the area. Cedarcide makes a home infestation kit specifically for this purpose, that treats up to 4,000 square feet of indoor space.
Tea tree oil and lavender oil are both essential oils that can be used as a natural remedy to treat bed bugs (buy it here). The pungent smell of tea tree oil will help drive them away from your mattress. However, the scent may be an issue for some people.
Lavender oil is great for sleeping and pulls double duty in that it can also help repel Bed bugs at the same time (buy it here). You can use either oil in this fashion or use dried sprigs of lavender flowers.
If your best efforts have failed, short of throwing the infested mattress away, it may be time to call in the professionals. Some companies use bug-specific pesticides when necessary but also steam and heat. Remember, in some parts of the country it’s illegal for homeowners to apply pesticides or insecticides themselves. Check your local environmental laws.
Use a Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuuming is another extremely effective way to get rid of them. Make sure that you use a brush attachment with your vacuum cleaner to dislodge the bugs from the surface and seams of the mattress. Keep in mind that any crack or crevice that you could slide a credit card into could be a potential hiding place. Vacuuming is a very effectual way to remove their eggs as well.
Use a Steam Cleaner
Steaming is a super effective way to kill bed bugs and their eggs without harming you or the environment. What’s great about using steam is that it’s powerful enough to kill the bed bugs and their eggs even when deeply embedded in the mattress.
Diatomaceous earth (die-uh-toe-may-shuss) is another natural method. DE as it is called (you can see why) is completely natural and composed of the fossilized remains of small aquatic organisms and is perfectly safe to use in your home. Highly magnified, one can see it has sharp and rough edges that cut open the exoskeleton of the insect causing it to dehydrate. Works great for fleas, fire ants and just about any insect with a hard exterior.
Research has shown using food grade DE can totally eradicate bed bugs within a couple weeks of use. Simply sprinkle the DE (it’s like white powder) in areas where the bed bugs live. Repeat that process every two to three days for 2 weeks.
Wash Your Bed Sheets & Clothing in Hot Water
How you kill bugs that are embedded into your clothing is quite simple. As you would your sheets and blankets, simply wash them in very hot soapy water.
Dry Everything on a Hot Dryer Setting
Additionally, dry your sheets, blankets, pillows, pillowcases, and comforters on the High Heat setting. Always check to make sure that your clothes and any fabrics or linens can be dried on High heat before doing so to avoid shrinking or damaging them. You can also use the freezer method with your clothes. This involves placing your clothes in plastic bags then putting them in the freezer for an hour or two. Personally…I couldn’t/wouldn’t do that. I’ll stick to the heat.
Make Tea Tree Oil Spray
Using essential oils can be a quite powerful treatment against bed bugs. Tea tree oil has some excellent, non-toxic, insecticidal properties that are really effective at getting rid of bed bugs (buy it here). All you do is put 15-20 drops of tea tree oil into a spray bottle, add some water and shake it a little. Spray that solution onto any suspect surfaces. Tea tree oil is a really effective ‘all around’ insect repellent as well.
Lavender oil is toxic to many insects, but is totally natural and safe for people to use in their homes(buy it here) . Lavender oil can kill bugs, destroy insect eggs, larvae, and repel them too. In fact, using lavender and peppermint oil together make an incredibly potent solution to kill and repel Bed bugs and many other types of insects.
Just take some lavender oil and/or peppermint oil (a half oz. of each?) and add to a spray bottle. Add some water and shake it up. It’s not rocket science. Just make it strong enough to work. Spray it over the surfaces you suspect harbor bed bugs.
Happy to Help
At the Organic Daily Post we are continually searching for and discovering new ways to make Life more productive, creatively interesting and more fun. All while looking out for Mother Earth.
Did you learn something new from this article? If so, please share this with a friend. If you have any questions or comments about natural remedies to get rid of bed bugs or any natural pest, please leave them in the comments section below.
Questions from Readers
Bed bugs are nasty little creatures that take on the role of unwanted houseguests. These disgusting little parasites inhabit our beds, bed sheets and pillow cases. One bed bug in particular (and one of the most common) is the cimex lectularius. This little monster has a real taste for blood, especially human.
The following twenty-five questions pertaining to these mini vampires are the most frequently asked by Organic Daily Post readers and we’re itching to get to them (see what we did there?). Let's go!
- Q: How do you check for bed bugs?
A: You shouldn’t have to check for bed bugs. If you have them you will know it. They are visible to the naked eye, congregate in groups, generally live in or directly around a bed (including the mattress and box spring) and leave their little bug droppings wherever they are. Additionally, their bite can cause swelling and itching at the bite site marked by a noticeable redness to the skin.
- Q: Do bed bugs like the cold?
A: In fact, they do. While bed bugs can go for 2 to 6 months without feeding when conditions dictate, at temperatures below 55 degrees F. the bed bug can go without a blood meal for up to one year, making starving them out a wishful thought.
- Q: Do bed bugs like paper?
A: The answer is no. While there are reports of finding bed bugs in old Library books and news papers, they more than likely came from infested homes that contained the books. The bugs found in these books are merely hiding out as they would in any crack or crevice awaiting an opportunity to feed.
- Q: Do bed bugs like wood?
A: We don’t know if they like wood or not but they certainly don’t eat it. People find bed bugs on wooden beds and assume they are dining on the wood. Not true. They are bloodsuckers and as such, a blood meal is their staple.
- Q: Do bed bugs prefer a certain blood type?
A: No. Can you imagine a bug passing up