Wondering how to get rid of bed bugs naturally? Join the club. After all, who wants to fill their home with toxic chemicals? Pretty much nobody.
The trouble with most pesticides is that they are harmful not just to the bugs they are meant for, but also to humans and pets. After all, pesticides are made to kill.
While they should be perfectly safe if used correctly, accidents can and do happen. Not everyone is comfortable with that kind of risk.
Besides, there’s another reason to be wary of using pesticides against bed bugs. Thanks to their astonishing reproductive rate, bed bugs can become resistant to pesticides quite quickly.
In fact, in certain populations of bed bugs, this has already begun to happen. Pesticides that killed bed bugs 10 or 20 years ago are no longer as effective as they once were.
We can’t keep up this arms race forever. Unless you’re ready to wave a white flag and become an all-you-can-eat buffet for an army of conquering bed bugs, you need to find some non-pesticide methods that are still effective at getting rid of bed bugs.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally
Fortunately, there are some natural remedies for bed bugs that work wonders.
The catch? Generally, these natural bed bug remedies work best when used in conjunction with one another.
A bed bug infestation is an extremely tricky thing to deal with, mostly because if one single female escapes the treatment, she can restart the problem all by herself.
So you’ll need to deploy a variety of anti-bedbug techniques. Here are some of the best natural bed bug killers to use.
Diatomaceous Earth for Bed Bugs
This fine powder may look and act like a regular insecticide, but it’s not. Diatomaceous earth creates a physical barrier to bedbugs.
How? This fine powder may feel soft to the touch, but at the microscopic level, it’s nothing but sharp shards and jagged edges. Any insect crawling through this powder will lacerate its exoskeleton and die of dehydration.
So the bed bugs have a choice: they either crawl through the diatomaceous earth and die, or else they avoid it completely. Either option may work for you.
Using diatomaceous earth is easy. Just sprinkle it along your baseboards, on your bed frame and anywhere else that bedbugs may be hiding or may walk across to get to you.
Here are some suggestions to get the most out of this bed bug killer:
- Make sure to get in every crack and crevice and that includes the gaps in and around electrical sockets – in fact, you should unscrew electrical socket covers so you can scatter dust inside each of the outlets
- Sprinkle DE across the borders of all rooms, including rooms where you haven’t seen any bed bugs
- Bed bugs can live in furniture so apply DE under furniture as well as the inside spaces of furniture like the wood frames of couches and chairs
Be thorough but also be wary of using too much. While it’s tempting to think that more is better, no insect will crawl through a pile of powder. It’s better to use a light dusting to kill bed bugs.
Don’t want to deal with the bother of constant re-application? Diatomaceous earth is also available as a spray, which makes it far easier to apply to bed frames and other furniture. The spray dries to a fine powder that provides good residual protection against crawling bed bugs.
Invest in Bed Bug Covers
This isn’t the time to cheap out. If you want to protect your sacred sleeping zone from bed bugs, a bed bug mattress cover is your best bet. These covers completely encase your mattress and are sealed with special zippers that are bed bug proof.
Bed bugs can’t bite through the fabric, and can’t get inside or out.
So if you install a cover on a mattress that has bed bug problems, you can simply leave it in place until the bed bugs inside starve to death.
Note, though, that bedbugs can go 12 months or more without feeding. In order to be safe, it’s recommended that you keep the cover in place and intact for 18 months to two years.
Set Bed Bug Traps
Bed bugs don’t only live in beds. But that’s often where an infestation starts, and it’s usually where you’ll find the majority of the bugs. By isolating your bed from the surrounding furniture, these bed bug traps can help to keep bed bugs contained in the bed.
Furthermore, any bed bugs outside the bed that try to come to you in the night for that blood meal will get trapped in the outer ring. You’ll find them there in the morning, hungry and looking sheepish.
As unsettling as it may be to think of yourself as the bait in a bed bug trap, it’s an effective way to protect yourself.
Just make sure that the bed remains isolated at all times. That means you need to keep it away from the wall and make sure that no sheets or blankets trail over the edge to the floor for bedbugs to climb.
Steam Bed Bugs and Eggs to Death
Heat kills bed bugs. And unlike pesticides, there is no possibility of bugs becoming resistant to heat.
Even better? Temperatures over 120°F not only kill adult bedbugs instantly, but also sterilize their eggs. This is one of the most effective ways to deal with a bed bug infestation.
Of course, it means you’re going to have to take the time to hunt down where the bedbugs hide. But there’s something extremely satisfying about incinerating the bugs that have been feeding on you while you sleep.
The best way to steam against bed bugs is to use a commercial grade steamer.
This is not the time to cheap out but luckily, one of the best bed bug steamers – the McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner – is affordable and comes with everything you ned to kill bed bugs and their eggs.
While 120°F is the magic number for killing bed bugs, you want a steamer that is capable of producing higher temperatures than this. That way, the heat will penetrate soft furnishings such as mattresses and sofas.
Note: We recommend you don’t use a clothes steamer to kill bed bugs – the steam doesn’t get hot enough so it won’t be effective. Carpet cleaners also don’t reach high enough temperatures and won’t work for bed bugs.
Get a Bed Bug Heater
Steaming isn’t the only way to cook bed bugs. You could also try baking them. You can do this by using specially designed bed bug heat chambers.
They come in a variety of sizes, from a small suitcase-type device that is good for heating clothes, all the way up to a large room-sized bed bug heater that you can use to cook your furniture.
You’ll need to heat your possessions for at least a few hours to make sure that the heat penetrates every crack and crevice and kills all the bed bugs.
But it is an excellent method of clearing an infestation. Just be aware that the bed bugs are capable of hiding in places like baseboards, carpets, and electrical outlets.
So while heating your furniture and clothing can be very useful, it’s best used in conjunction with other methods.
Non Toxic Bed Bug Sprays
Not every bed bug spray involves a toxic chemical. Bedbugs have a well-deserved reputation for being hard to kill, but not in the same way that a rogue cop with nothing to lose is.
It’s not especially difficult to kill a bed bug; what’s hard is to find it in the first place. And what’s even harder is finding all of its disgusting relatives and killing them too.
So there are plenty of products available that will kill bed bugs on contact without causing any harm to you or your family.
The active ingredient in this spray is citric acid. That’s the same thing that makes oranges and lemons delicious.
So not only will this formula kill bed bugs on contact, but it will also make your house smell like a Mediterranean orange grove.
Just remember that it’s not going to get rid of a bed bug infestation by itself. But it’s a great tool to have for killing any bed bugs that you see running away from your other treatment methods.
Have you ever heard of the combined arms doctrine? Combined arms is an approach to warfare that uses different methods of attack to mutually complementary effect.
When doing battle with bed bugs, it helps to think like a military strategist. There are many tools at your disposal to get rid of your itchy problem, including natural bed bug remedies that actually work.
But chances are, none of these methods will solve your problem by itself. By using a combination of different approaches, you give yourself the best chance of declaring victory over bed bugs.
And if you want to throw yourself a parade afterward, who’s going to stop you? Not us.