What are bedbugs?
Bedbugs are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on human blood. They like to hide in small crevices such as the seams of mattresses, headboards, and box springs. Bedbugs can also be found in furniture and can be transported from place to place by hitching rides on people’s clothing and luggage.
What is diatomaceous earth?
Diatomaceous earth is made from the finely ground remains of diatoms, which are tiny marine organisms with a hard shell composed of silica. It is a non-toxic, natural substance that is used to kill a variety of pests, including bedbugs.
How does diatomaceous earth work?
Diatomaceous earth works by dehydrating a bedbug’s exoskeleton. The dust gets into the cracks and crevices where bedbugs hide, and when they come into contact with it, the dust sticks to their bodies and absorbs the oils and fats from their exoskeletons, causing them to dry out and die.
Can diatomaceous earth be used on a bed?
Yes, diatomaceous earth can be used on a bed, but it is important to use it correctly. You should only use food-grade diatomaceous earth, which is safe for humans and animals to ingest. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is available at some health food stores and online retailers.
How do I apply diatomaceous earth to my bed?
To apply diatomaceous earth to your bed, start by stripping the bed of all bedding and mattress covers. Then, apply a thin layer of diatomaceous earth to the entire surface of the mattress, paying extra attention to the seams and crevices. Use a soft-bristled brush or broom to work the powder into the fibers of the mattress. Repeat the process on the box spring and any other furniture in the room.
Do I need to vacuum up the diatomaceous earth?
Yes, you should vacuum up the diatomaceous earth after it has had time to work. Leave the diatomaceous earth on the bed and furniture for at least 12 hours, and then use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove the powder. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag or contents of the canister outdoors, away from the house.
Are there any risks to using diatomaceous earth?
Diatomaceous earth is generally considered safe, but some people may experience skin irritation if they come into contact with it. As with any dust, it is important to wear a mask and gloves when applying it, and to avoid inhaling the dust. It is also important to only use food-grade diatomaceous earth, as other types may contain harmful substances.
Is diatomaceous earth effective at killing bedbugs?
Yes, diatomaceous earth is effective at killing bedbugs, but it may take several applications over the course of a few weeks to get rid of an infestation completely. Keep in mind that diatomaceous earth is not a preventive measure and should not be used as the sole method of pest control.
What other methods can I use to get rid of bedbugs?
Some other methods to get rid of bedbugs include using insecticides, heat treatment, and professional extermination services. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using insecticides and to properly ventilate the room. Heat treatment involves heating the room to a temperature that is lethal to bedbugs, and professional extermination services use a combination of methods to eliminate the infestation.
How can I prevent a bedbug infestation?
To prevent a bedbug infestation, it is important to inspect secondhand furniture before bringing it into your home, and to wash and dry all clothing and bedding on high heat before storing or using. When traveling, inspect the bed and furniture in your hotel room, and keep your luggage off the floor and away from the bed. Seal any cracks or crevices in your home where bedbugs could hide, and regularly vacuum and clean your home to eliminate any potential hiding places.
Diatomaceous earth can be an effective method of getting rid of bedbugs, but it is important to use it correctly and as part of a comprehensive pest control plan. Other methods, such as insecticides, heat treatment, and professional extermination services, may also be necessary to eliminate the infestation completely.
FAQs about Using Diatomaceous Earth on a Bed
- Can I use regular diatomaceous earth on my bed?
- How long does it take for diatomaceous earth to kill bedbugs?
- Can diatomaceous earth harm my pets?
- How often should I apply diatomaceous earth to my bed?
- Can diatomaceous earth prevent bedbugs from coming back?
No, you should only use food-grade diatomaceous earth on your bed, which is safe for humans and animals to ingest.
Diatomaceous earth can take several days or even weeks to kill bedbugs, depending on the severity of the infestation and the amount of dust used.
No, food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for pets to ingest, but it is important to avoid inhaling the dust and to apply it in a well-ventilated area.
You should apply diatomaceous earth to your bed and furniture as needed, depending on the severity of the infestation. It may take several applications over the course of a few weeks to see significant results.
No, diatomaceous earth is not a preventive measure and should not be used as the sole method of pest control. It is important to practice good hygiene and regularly inspect your home for signs of bedbugs.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Bed bugs FAQs. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html
- Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. (n.d.). Bed bugs. Retrieved from https://nysipm.cornell.edu/whats-bugging-you/bed-bugs/
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2019). Bed bugs: Get them out and keep them out. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/bed-bugs-get-them-out-and-keep-them-out