28 Effective Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

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Home Remedies for Bed Bugs
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Bed bugs are the small nocturnal insects that multiply quickly. They belong to the Cimicidae insect family, feed on human blood and are more commonly found in warmer climates. They are active at night and typically infest mattresses, bed and furniture but can hide in drapery, linens, headboards and even clothing. A bed bug will pierce the skin of its victim with its ‘beak’, drawing blood using two hollow tubes as it feeds using a strong analgesic so you don’t feel pain. However,  you should learn how to get rid of bed bug bites as once bitten, the analgesic wares off and red, itchy welts form. These can cause skin infections or allergic reactions. If you want to know how you get rid of bed bugs from your home, then our home remedies for bed bugs are all the treatments you will need.

Signs of bed bug Infestation

The signs of a bed bug infestation are hard to notice at first but quickly become apparent as the bed bugs multiply.

Bed bugs are small, brown, oval shaped insects that feed on human blood. A bed bug starts off life at less than 1mm but can grow to almost 5mm when mature and recently fed with a blood meal.

bed bug life cycle

After feeding, their thorax swells and they become redder in color. Bed bugs can lay thousands of eggs which are almost invisible to the naked eye.

Once these eggs hatch, the nymphs will shed their skin as they grow and the discarded skins are one of the first signs of a bed bug infestation.

how to get rid of bed bugsDead insects, discarded shells and insect feces will over time leave stains on mattresses and linen as shown above. Bed bug bites are another give away as they are distinctive to other insect bites.

Typically they come in threes, in a neat little row. The same bug will bite more than once and will move forward to a suitable bite area, leaving a straight row of marks on the skin in its wake.

Often the bite wound will continue to bleed after the insect has fed, and small drops of dried blood on bed linen is also an indication of a bed bug bite.

For bed bug infestations of this magnitude, as shown above, it is recommended to throw out the entire mattress.

For smaller infestations, check out our home remedies for bed bugs below.

home remedies to get rid of bed bugsHome Remedies for Bed Bugs

1. Diatomaceous Earth

This powder is chemical free and if you are unsure how to kill bed bugs, then look no further.

Spread Diatomaceous earth around your house or on the area where bed bugs nest.  It takes more than 10 days for this product to kill bed bugs but the mortality rate is higher than 90%.

Even, the small amount DE is extremely helpful in destroying these bugs by dehydrating them (1). Add this powder to cracks in the wall and spaces around the bed to get rid of bed bugs (2, 3).

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda helps absorb moisture from the body of bed bugs due to its drying properties. It has antimicrobial properties which destroys bed bugs.

Spread some baking soda around the crevices and cracks or wherever you find bugs. Don’t forget to vacuum the soda after few days and re-apply it.

3. Cayenne Pepper

The antimicrobial properties of cayenne pepper assist to kill bed bugs.

Take 1 tsp each of cayenne powder, oregano and grated ginger. Boil them in water. Strain and spray the solution around the entering spaces of your room and areas where bed bugs may be hiding.  The smell of this solution drives the bugs away and prevents them from spreading.

4. Steam Treatment

Get your carpets, mattress, cushions steamed if you want to get rid of this problem. Bed bugs can’t survive in high temperature, minimum 113 degrees Fahrenheit (F) is required. Steam permeates through these materials and destroys the bugs and prevents the egg from surviving (4, 5).

Note: Steaming should be avoided around electric outlets (6).

5. Double Sided Tape

You can attach double sided tape around the bottom of your beds. The bed bugs get stuck if they try to sneak up on you. This is a good method to check bedbugs (7).

6. Hair Dryer

Bed bugs cannot tolerate high temperature, so you can set the dryer at the highest mode for 20 minutes or above to kill bed bugs (8, 9). Set the dryer and turn it on. Position it around the mattress seam and infested area for about an hour to get the effective results.

This one hour treatment may kill the pest and eggs. Vacuum the heated area and remove the bug’s traces. Don’t forget to clean vacuum filter.

7. Vacuum Cleaner

The suction wand of the vacuum can remove the bed bugs from sleeping quarters, perimeter of carpets, seams of the mattress, under baseboards, box spring, crevices and other susceptible places (10, 11). Change the vacuum bag after each use (12).

Note: Wash all the attachments in hot water and with strong detergent (13).

8. Stiff Brush 

Scrub the mattress seam using a stiff brush to eliminate the bedbugs and remove their egg (14).

9. Cold treatment

Bed bugs can’t withstand cold temperature. All you have to do is to put the infested items in freezer for four days at 0oF (15).

Herbal Remedies to Kill Bed Bugs

10. Sweet Flag

When trying to figure out how to get rid of bed bugs, most people don’t realize there are are herbal options. Once such herbal remedy is sweet flag. This herb is known for its anti-microbial properties and also called as calamus.

The herb is used as a bed bug repellent because of its aromatic properties (16). You can purchase a calamus packet and prepare a solution according to the instructions given on it. Spray the solution in the infested room to eliminate the microbes like worms and bed bugs.

11. Bean Leaves

The used of this herb is a traditional Balkan method of trapping bed bugs. Take some bean leaves and spread on the floor of your room where you find bugs. It helps trap the pests in the infested place.

The leaves make the use of trichomes (microscopic hooked hairs) to kill the pests.  These microscopic hairs are present on the leaf surface that pierce the bedbug’s feet (17).

Researchers at the University of California Irvine and the University of Kentucky published a paper regarding the concept of use of bean leaves to kill bed bugs (18).

12. Indian Lilac

Take a handful of Indian Lilac leaves, crush them and spread on the susceptible area. The smell and antimicrobial properties of this plant eradicate bed bugs effectively .

  • Alternatively, boil some leaves in water for 10 minutes. Strain this solution and bath with this. It treats the infected skin area and keeps bedbugs’ away from you.
  • Moreover, spray Indian lilac oil on all the stuff in your house to get rid of bugs.

13. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is one of the miraculous essential oils which is known for its antimicrobial effects. Besides, the antibacterial properties help you get rid of all sorts of microbes including bacteria, viruses and fungi (19).

You can clean your home with this oil, or you can add some tea tree oil drops on the clothing and other infested area. Prepare a solution consisting of lukewarm water and tea tree oil.

Place this diluted solution in a spray bottle and sprinkle it on the walls, furniture, carpets, linens, beds, drapes, cupboards,  mattresses and clothes. Do this once a week to eliminate the microbes.

14. Thyme

Thyme has antimicrobial properties which helps to get rid of bed bugs (20).

Tie a thyme stick with a cotton cloth and burn it near the infested places of your room and surroundings in order to repel the bed bugs.

  • Alternatively, take fresh thyme leaves and place them in net bags. Put these bags in the mattress, corners, cupboards, under the sofa, beneath the cushions and other places.

Note: Don’t forget to replace these bags with fresh thyme leaves every 3rd day. It will take time, but bugs leave the hiding places permanently.

15. Essential Oils

Take a cup of water and add a few drops of lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oil. Spray the mixture onto the bugs and on the infested things. The mixture works against the pests and kills them (21).

  • Besides, tea tree oil, oregano oil, and cedar oil are also effectual for battling these bed bugs. These essential oils block the bugs and choke them.

16. Mint Leaves

You can use mint leaves to prevent the entry of bed bugs in your home.  It is an effective repellent that keeps bugs at bay (22). Sprinkle crushed mint leaves around the sleeping area or inside the cradleboard of small children.  You can also put dried mint leaves packet between your linen closets and mattress.

17. Black Walnut Tea

This is also an effective herb that can be used as an insecticide and repellent against bed bugs. Sprinkle or place its tea bags on the infested area including corners of the room, creases of bed, interior area and closet area.

The antibacterial and anti fungal properties bring out the bugs from hiding places and help destroy them. The leaves of black walnut posses insecticidal properties against bed bugs (23).

  • Alternatively, prepare an herbal sachet by mixing 1 part of lavender, 3 parts of black walnut, 1 part of the mint, 2 parts of sweet flag and 3 part of thyme. The aroma of all these herbs repels the bed bugs.

18. Beauveria Bassiana

Beauveria Bassiana is a fungus and considered as a natural insecticide. It works against the bed bugs and kill them within three to five days. It has some pre lethal effects including reduced fecundity, mobility and feeding. It works like a parasite on insects and disable them (24).

19. Lemongrass

You can use lemongrass to kill the bedbugs and their eggs, as it increases the acidic condition inside the bug. Bed bugs cannot bear the odor of lemongrass and ultimately helps you get rid of them (25).

20. Clove

The pungent smell and acidic pH of the clove disturb the survival of bed bugs, as they cannot stand this acidic condition. You can destroy the bugs easily by exposing your pillows, mattress and other infested area to clove oil (26).

21. Pyrethrum

The pyrethrum is an extract formed from the combination of dried flower heads of C, Coccineum and Chysanthemum. Chysanthemum contains natural insecticide .

You can use this natural insecticide to kill the bed bugs, as it directly attacks the nervous system of the bed bugs and is toxic to them (27).

  • Besides, you can use an insecticide that comprises canola oil and pyrethrum, since it is safe for your pets and children.

22. Lavender

You can use lavender oil, soap or its powder to get rid of bed bugs. Besides, place fresh lavender leaves on the infested area to keep these bugs away. This is one of the effective methods as the scent of lavender oil nauseates them, and eventually, destroys them (28).

Do’s

  • Wash your clothes and other fabric in hot water that came in contact with the infested area (29).
  • Cover your mattress and spring box in a plastic cover (30).
  • Examine the corner of the mattress regularly (31).
  • Throw off the affected things (32).
  • Be careful while using insecticides to kill insects. Keep your children away from insecticides (33).
  • Remove clutter from your bedrooms (34, 35).
  • Seek professional help if above remedies do not work  (36).
  • Keep beds away from the wall (37).
  • Wash your luggage and clothing which you used while travelling (38).

Don’ts

  • Avoid using pesticides or insecticides on toys or baby cribs (39).
  • Do not move things from an infested room as it will spread bugs to another place.
  • Don’t use second hand furniture and mattress, as they are more prone to be infested (40, 41).

14 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, it is really interesting that you can get rid of bed bugs by using lemongrass. That does seem like a good thing to be aware of if you need to get rid of bed bugs fast. I hate the idea of bed bugs being in my bed. So, I would want them to be killed off as quickly as possible.

    • what kind of disinfectant spray because my dad has had them and he says he has used it but i didnt believe him. could you let me know please – Thank you —

  2. Great list, I would also add cinnamon and soy bean. In fact we derived these natural oils and found it killed and prevented bed bugs.

  3. The best thing I’ve found for getting rid of bed bugs is spraying them and their hiding places with 91% rubbing alcohol. My granddaughter’s bedroom was infested with them. My daughter tried DE and all kinds of other remedies, but the only thing that worked was the bottle of alcohol I left in her bathroom when I visited with them. I slept in my granddaughter’s room, and the bedbugs tore me up. Left me with aching joints, hives, dizziness, etc. I was bitten by so many, I’m still recovering, and it’s been about six months.

  4. This process is not instantaneous. Keep in mind that after using it will take approximately 7 to 17 days for a bed bug to die. The total length of time varies depending on three things: what stage in the molting cycle the bedbug is, in how much of the Diatomaceous Earth they’re exposed to and for how long. The mortality rate is higher than 90%.

  5. The oregano-cayenne-ginger boiled combo appears to be working well. I’d add cinnamon to the mix to make it even more effective.

  6. I live in an apartment building, with joint walls with neighbors. Recently, woke up early in the morning and decided to make a pot of coffee. Upon looking at the counter top, I saw a lot of movement and after close observation realized I was being invaded by Bed Bugs and Cock Roaches. Started to kill them and followed their tracking. To my utter disbelief they were coming in through the wall outlets and even through the Hot, Common and Ground receptacle’s plug outlets. It came to being, my discovery was to late and they were hiding in small spaces. I usually have on hand various chemicals for house cleaning; so decided to experiment by catching them and placing them in small throw way containers that were clear plastic.
    My discovery: Placed about a drop of Lime-A-Way Turbo Foam (Spray Bottle), which is normally used to rid of Lime, Calcium and Rust stains. Within seconds both Cock Roaches and Bed Bugs were dead. Sprayed all areas that were safe, including the floor areas in the kitchen and just let it air dry, including Vacuum Cleaner tools, bag and inside housing. Suggest leaving the area for about two hours, so chemical does not irate eyes and skin. If used on counter tops, make sure you wash the areas with soap and water that would come in contact with food, utensils, ect. So far this has eliminated them. I covered my outlets with clear tape to keep them from entering.

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