Infestations by bed bugs are a menace and are increasing all over the world. This has called for ways to kill and get rid of these little creatures fast and for good.
The method of eradication will depend on the extent of a bed bug infestation. For a minor infestations use DIY natural remedies but heavy infestations you will probably need a pest control agent who will use chemicals among other methods
Current practices involve early detection and treatment while prevention is the best way to get rid of bed bugs. All of these interventions are best effective when they are carefully and professionally instituted.
Though there are insecticide treatment options, resistance is emerging. There has therefore been a recommendation by professional bed bugs agencies on a collaborative or an integrated approach in which different methods are used.
The approach is known as an integrated pest management approach and prevention and frequent vigilance should be maintained so that desirable outcomes are achieved.
Here are some steps that you could follow or use in order to get rid of bed bugs
1. Identify Signs of an Infestation
The first move to do away with bed yourself is to check for signs of an invasion. This involves the ability to identify bites, and other bed bug by-products like eggs, fecal matter and shells. Follow the following article for details
Check infested household items. This may be particularly those that are heavily infested. This could mean that if you have furniture or bedding that seem to harbor colonies and colonies of bed bugs, then you need to have them taken out and disposed.
This should be able to augment a treatment method such as spraying so that you do not return items previously taken out with bed bugs.
Remove all things considered clutter to reduce the chances of items playing the harbor role to bed bugs. This will reduce the available hiding spots.
Such may include items in the house that you do not require and are old possibly hiding some bed bugs. When removing the clutter ensure that you have bagged them so that escape of bed bugs is hampered.
Still in the identification phase you need to check bites from bites from bed bugs. Here is a guide on how the bites appear with images: What do Bed Bug Bites look like? Pictures & Identification Steps
While identifying the bites, do not confuse bed bugs bites with other insect bites. Below are detailed articles on the differences with pictures
In the identification stage, remember not confuse other bugs with other pests.
Further reading: Bugs that look like and mistaken for Bed Bugs
2. Detect and Find the Bed Bugs
After recognizing a bed bug infestation, the next step is to detect and find the bugs.
Finding bed bugs will require prior knowledge on their hideouts and how they spread.
Further reading: Places where do Bed Bugs Hide and how to find them
3. Treat and Control Naturally at Home
In the treatment of bed bug infestations, there are many proposed methods of killing this creature. Perhaps due to a dire need to find a breakthrough that will serve as a long-term treatment to the infestations people have.
However, when it comes to baby powder, the best it goes in deterring bed bugs is hindering its movement. Bed bugs may find it harder to crawl out of spots with baby powder.
Propositions to have it used as a bed bug poison does not work on them and the poisonous potency works on humans.
Baby powders consist of a number of ingredients such as talc and cornstarch. This powder therefore hampers the movement of bed bugs. It would best serve as a repellent when applied to the feet of beds though not entirely reliable too.
It is therefore better of as a repellent and not as a treatment option. Furthermore, there are better treatment methods that have shown better efficacy.
As you will learn shortly, pyrethroids and chlorfenapyr are efficacious when it comes to the treatment of bed bug infestations. There are risks associated with the use of these chemicals and to cap it up, are facing emergence of resistance.
It is therefore an incumbent fad to have the chemical insecticides mixed with some oils acting as one of the active ingredients. Some of the oils that can be used include
Since the oils are categorized under foods, these oils have not been subjected to quality control measures.
Some of the products studied for their efficacy by Changlu Wang, Narinderpal Singh and Richard Cooper (2014) mentions EcoRaider and Bed Bug Fix as some of the products that have some of these oils. Geraniol and cedar particularly. Here are some of the oils that hare used in further detail:
As mentioned earlier in this section, this oil has been included in products such as EcoRaider and Bed Bug Fix. It is also an ingredient in Rest Assured.
Manufacturers normally have trade secrets since these three products exhibit different levels of efficacy.
EcoRaider confers a 100% efficacy as owed to by their having a slightly modified cedar oil and preparing a different formulation all-together.
Tea tree oil
You can use this oil by adding about 15-20 drops of it in a bottle with a nozzle and a dip-tube. Prefill the bottle with some water then shake the mixture well. Now use this as a spray targeting the hotspot areas of bed bugs. Do this daily.
Lavender oil pesticide spray
Lavender oil acts in the same way as peppermint oils and other menthol-containing oils. It is also effective as a DIY method in prevention of bed bugs.
It is especially good when it is mixed with another oil such as peppermint oil which act synergistically to potentiate the anti-bed bug action.
To make such a mixture, add about 10-20 drops of peppermint oil to the same amount of lavender oil.
Prefill your spray bottle with some water then add the oil mixture. Make sure that you shake well then spray in areas that are harbors of bed bugs.
Apart from oils, there are other home remedies that you can get from your kitchen and use them to get rid of bed bugs. Home remedies are most useful when you have a small infestation of bed bugs.
This is sodium bicarbonate prepared with some tartaric acid. The mixture in the presence of water results in a reaction that is responsible for the production of carbon IV oxide that raises dough in baking.
Therefore, if you want this method to work, you need to avoid incorporation of water to prevent neutralization of the corrosive action of sodium bicarbonate.
You can apply a thin layer in the affected areas especially the open linings of the ceiling, other plywood and on the edges of switch and socket boards. It is very efficient in the getting rid of eggs of bed bugs and the bed bugs themselves.
When you apply diatomaceous earth on areas bugs hide or walk along, it dehydrates the exoskeleton of bed bugs and hence killing them.
This may however take some time to act but it has a good residual time and you can use it to block cracks and crevices on your walls.
Ginger, Cayenne Pepper and Oregano Cocktail
This mixture is excellent for repelling bed bugs. This is particularly in effect due to the strong spicy smell of the mixture owing to all the ingredients. This is the DIY procedure on how to make it:
You need to ensure that you have about I teaspoonful quantity of cayenne pepper, ginger in grated form, oregano oil and about 250 mL of water. Once you have the ingredients ready in the required form and quantity, now do the following:
- To the whole amount of water. Add a pre-mixed cocktail of the three spicy ingredients. Then heat the mixture for about 7 minutes ensuring that the water boils.
- Get a spray bottle and strain the solution that you have after boiling.
- Spray the mixture on areas that are hiding spots of bed bugs ensuring that you also capture the corners and head board of your bed and other furniture.
- Do this each day for several days then do some monitoring.
Black Walnut Tea
This is a broad spectrum home remedy to fungi, bacteria and relevant to this case, insects and pests. Therefore, it can be used in the elimination of bed bugs.
Black walnut tea is packaged in tea bags and this offers a relatively easier way of hooking them in corners of beds and other areas. It is also said to work as a repellent
In addition to the above natural methods;
You can also try to use Bed Bug Sniffing Dogs.
There are also known natural predators of bed bugs.
4. Chemical Treatment-What Chemical Kills Bed Bugs?
There are a number of chemicals that can kill bed bugs though with the growing resistance to some of them, they end up being less efficacious. These chemicals include:
Apply some insecticides such as pyrethroids. This insecticide kills all stages of bed bugs. However, this is best handled by a professional pest agency so that the chemicals are well handled.
When the spray is properly done, it is very effective though there needs to be a follow-up repeat of the spray so that any remaining bed bugs can be killed.
This in effect due to the little residue chemical after the first spray (Kweka EJ et al., 2009).
Other insecticide that is not of pyrethrin origin is the dichlorvos organophosphate. This best for the treatment of infestations in clothes and closets.
Again, just as with the pyrethroids, use of this method will require that you invite a professional pest management agency.
The pyrrole insecticide, chlorfenapyr is another option if you cannot access pyrethroids but is slow however.
Other ways to get rid of Bed Bugs
Try using a vacuum on items in your house that are furry. Mattresses, duvets, furnishings, carpets and mats may be furry and hence it may be hard to identify the level of infestation in them.
Therefore, vacuuming should be able to clear out the bed bugs that have hidden in the fur.
Vacuuming can also help you in getting rid of bed bugs that have hidden in the cracks and crevices of walls, the edges of ceilings and at the corners of furniture at the hinges.
According to Frishman A. (2000) and Pinto L. et al (2007), vacuuming can reduce use of pesticides and is very effective in making room for inspections after treatment to monitor the presence of bed bugs.
Use encasements on your mattress and other furnishings that you think may be hiding bed bugs. This would come in handy when you are doing an inspection before or after you have done your treatment.
Some encasements have been impregnated with some insecticide hence serves a double role.
Doing this has been shown to be very effective in reducing the infestation on your bed as given by the National Pesticide Information Center.
Do some laundering when you have pulled out clothes that are harboring bed bugs during the same time you are doing some chemical treatment.
Do this by soaking your clothes in some hot water at about 60˚C and some detergent. Leave to stay for about one hour. Afterwards, use a dryer to kill residual bed bugs.
You can however use a dryer instead of hot water especially for clothes that are thermolabile at high temperatures.
Naylor and Boase in their publication in the Journal of Economical Entomology mention that you can dry-clean infested clothes with a chemical known as perchloroethylene.
This chemical is also effective at killing bed bugs at all temperatures.
Freeze your identified items by placing them in the freezer or apply some dry ice. Dry ice refers to compressed carbon IV oxide gas stabilized in a solid-liquid phase.
The best temperature as proposed by Harlan H (2006) is –17˚C for 2 hours. This should suffice in killing the bed bugs and the eggs.
his method has been shown to be worth it when bed bugs are subjected to the optimum conditions that facilitate their killing.
Kells SA and Goblirsch MJ (2011)’s study indicates that temperature and time are the variants that determine these conditions.
Eggs can be got rid of when the room is heated to about 48 degrees Celsius for a period of 72 minutes. This method offers a clean solution to bed bugs without having to use chemicals that may have residue.
Further Reading: How Bed Bug Heat Treatment works
You can also pass some steam from a nozzle on materials that you have identified as having bed bugs.
This method provides a heating alternative to dry heat and has been shown to be cost – effective being able to kill bed bugs when the steam is passed at a rate of 15 seconds/12 inches.
Due to the technicality of this method, professional support would be recommended.
Further Reading: Bed Bug Steamers- Best, Rental, Hot & Dry Reviews
More other known bed bug control techniques include;
Assess if they are gone & Prevent
After using the methods showcased above the next step is find out if they’ve gone after the treatment. Below is a detailed guide
If you successfully eradicated the bugs, all you need is to put prevention measures in place. You can use bed bug repellents and other ways.
Further reading: How to prevent bugs
Killing Bed Bugs FAQs
What is the Best Cheapest way to Kill Bed Bugs?
Getting that cost-effective method to get rid of bed bugs is quite important. People end up blowing their money on methods that do not work and become frustrated.
Some even undergo psychological breakdowns and in fact, bed bug infestations propagate the prevalence of depression. Here’s one of the cheapest ways to have bed bugs killed:
- If you have a vacuum, use it to suck up the bed bugs from hidden spots. You can use it on mats, mattresses, duvets and carpets. You can do this mildly on electronic gadgets too.
- Identify clothing and bedding that have been infested by investigating the presence of bed bugs. Then encase them in a plastic paper bag and put them outside. Thereafter, dry-heat or soak them in some hot water for 30 minutes. Dry them in the sun then iron them while doing some inspection.
- In the meantime, pour some water in the corners of your bed and other furniture while overturning to ensure you have a better view. Metallic beds are much easier to use in this method as wood soaks up the water and may rot if not taken care of afterwards.
- Seal the cracks and other openings of your wall with some solid soap or some diatomaceous earth.
- Scrub your walls while inspecting it for any eggs. Eggs normally attach to the walls and are white in color hence camouflaged well.
- You can apply some oils to the areas you have cleaned out to repel re-entry.
It would not be cost-effective to throw away your mattresses, clothing or furniture as you will have to make a new purchase which if infested by reentrant bed bugs, may prove unworthy to have them disposed in the first place. However, you can still do this once every 3 years.
Also ensure that you have everything about a new method researched on. You wouldn’t want to spend on a method that doesn’t work. It is at times also wise to call a professional pest management service as, in the long-run, it is cheaper.
Will ammonia kill bed bugs
This is another trial and error method. It may indeed have some effect but you would be sure, it wouldn’t match up to your expectations.
You are better off using methods that have proven efficacy. Use of ammonia has not been tested and to add, ammonia has a really pungent smell.
Does boric acid kill bed bugs
Boric acid does not work on bed bug infestations. It is however good for other roaches such as the cockroaches. According to the University of Nebraska, Lancaster, bed bugs do not ingest this slow poison.
The reason for this is that cockroaches feed on your food and hence, when you add the poison to it, they ingest it too.
However, bed bugs are dependent on a fresh blood meal directly derived from the host’s body. They wouldn’t even feed on spilt blood since they require it to be of a specific temperature among other optimal conditions.
Does pine sol kill bed bugs
Pine sol has a large percentage of alcohol and while alcohol does kill bed bugs and its eggs, it only offers a short-term repellent action to bed bugs.
Therefore, it would be effective in the treatment of bed bug infestations. However, beware of the flammable nature of alcohols and try avoid them.
Do moth balls kill bed bugs
Moth balls do not have a repellent action on bed bugs. The poisonous effect it has on humans does not guarantee its effectiveness in killing bed bugs.
It is a potent poison to humans for their containing a chemical known as paradichlorobenzene.
Does salt kill bed bugs
This proposition may be due to the effectiveness of salt in killing slugs and snails. This is however not the case when it comes to bed bugs.
Slugs and snails are molluscs that act as membranes being able to allow easy transfer through osmosis of water content from either side depending on the tonicity of both sides.
Therefore, when you add salt to them, the external environment becomes hypertonic and hence withdraws water from its body. This makes them flaccid hence dying.
Bed bugs have exoskeletons instead which prevents osmotic action of salt on it.
Diatomaceous earth is the ‘salt’ version of snails in bed bugs as it has shown proven efficacy in the dehydration of bed bugs. It in fact has about 5 times more effectiveness in absorbing water.
Does cold kill bed bugs
Cold can kill bed bugs. Not just any cold but that configured to a certain temperature.
Temperatures as low as about -17oC can kill bed bugs. It requires your patience and have the articles frozen for about 4 days at least.
In order to set the right optimal temperature, you will need a metered gauge to do so.
Does borax kill bed bugs
Borax is a derivative of boric acid. The two are most effective in killing termites and cockroaches. Therefore, they are not effective in treating bed bug infestations that basically require that they ingest it.
Can lysol kill bed bugs
Lysol is also an alcohol. Alcohols are best for short-term and direct actions.
When you spray them in anticipation of bed bugs, then this method would not work.
You will need to spray the alcohol onto the bed bugs so that they elicit their action better.