Bed bugs are some of the most annoying insects that invade homes and cause sleepless nights for many people around the world. They’re commonly found in mattresses, bedding, and even in furniture. These pesky bugs feed on human blood and can cause skin rashes, allergic reactions, and even psychological distress. If you’re suffering from a bed bug infestation, you might be wondering what you can do to keep them away. In this article, we’ll explore some natural repellents and tricks that bed bugs don’t like.
The Characteristics of Bed Bugs
Before we dive into natural ways to get rid of bed bugs, let’s take a closer look at their characteristics:
- Bed bugs are small and reddish-brown in color.
- They’re flat and oval-shaped, with six legs and no wings.
- Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed.
- Bed bugs are nocturnal insects and are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale when we sleep.
- They hide in cracks and crevices during the day, making them hard to spot.
- Bed bugs reproduce quickly, and a single female can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime.
What Do Bed Bugs Not Like?
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil has a sweet and calming scent that’s commonly used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and reduce stress. However, bed bugs aren’t fans of lavender oil. The scent is unpleasant to them, and they’ll avoid areas where it’s present.
You can use lavender oil in a spray bottle to repel bed bugs. Add 10-15 drops of lavender oil to a cup of water and shake well. Spray the solution around your bed, mattress, and any other areas where you suspect bed bugs are hiding. You can also add a few drops of lavender oil to your laundry detergent when washing your bedding.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil is another natural repellent that bed bugs don’t like. This essential oil has antiseptic properties and is commonly used to treat skin infections, acne, and even dandruff.
To use tea tree oil as a bed bug repellent, add 10-15 drops to a spray bottle filled with water. Shake well and spray around your bed, mattress, and other hiding places. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to your body lotion to repel bed bugs while you sleep.
Powdered Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a natural powder that’s made from crushed fossils of aquatic organisms called diatoms. The powder is abrasive and drying, making it an effective bed bug repellent.
Sprinkle powdered diatomaceous earth around your bed, mattress, and other hiding places. The powder will stick to bed bugs’ bodies, dehydrating them and causing them to die. Be sure to wear a mask and gloves when handling diatomaceous earth, as it can irritate your lungs and skin.
Neem oil is a natural insecticide that’s derived from the seeds of the neem tree. It’s commonly used in organic gardening to repel pests and protect crops.
To use neem oil as a bed bug repellent, add 10-15 drops to a spray bottle filled with water. Shake well and spray around your bed, mattress, and other hiding places. You can also add a few drops of neem oil to your body lotion to repel bed bugs while you sleep.
Clove Essential Oil
Clove oil has a strong and spicy scent that’s commonly used in cooking and baking. However, bed bugs don’t like the smell of clove oil, making it an effective repellent.
Add 10-15 drops of clove oil to a spray bottle filled with water. Shake well and spray around your bed, mattress, and other hiding places. You can also add a few drops of clove oil to your laundry detergent when washing your bedding.
Additional Tips to Repel Bed Bugs
Use Mattress Encasements
One way to prevent bed bugs from infesting your mattress is to use a mattress encasement. These are specially designed covers that fully encase your mattress and box spring, making it impossible for bed bugs to get in or out.
Be sure to choose an encasement that’s labeled as bed bug-proof and has a zipper that’s small enough to prevent bed bugs from crawling through. Also, make sure to inspect the encasement regularly for any tears or openings that bed bugs could crawl through.
Declutter Your Home
Bed bugs love cluttered spaces where they can hide and breed unnoticed. To prevent infestations, it’s essential to keep your home clean and clutter-free.
Declutter your home by getting rid of any unnecessary items and organizing your belongings. Be sure to vacuum regularly, paying close attention to cracks and crevices where bed bugs like to hide.
Use Hot Water and Dry Heat
Bed bugs cannot survive in high temperatures. Washing your bedding, clothing, and any other fabrics that may have come into contact with bed bugs in hot water is an effective way to kill them.
Dry heat is another effective way to kill bed bugs. Place your bedding, clothing, and other fabric items in the dryer on high heat for at least 30 minutes to kill bed bugs and their eggs.
Bed bugs can be a real nuisance, but there are natural ways to repel them. Using lavender, tea tree, neem, and clove oils, as well as powdered diatomaceous earth, can help keep bed bugs away from your home. Additionally, using mattress encasements, decluttering your home, and using hot water and dry heat can help prevent infestations.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can bed bugs survive in cold temperatures?
- Do bed bugs only live in mattresses and bedding?
- Can bed bugs spread diseases?
- Can I get rid of bed bugs myself?
- How can I prevent bed bugs from entering my home?
- How long does it take to get rid of bed bugs?
No, bed bugs cannot survive in temperatures below freezing.
No, bed bugs can also be found in furniture, clothing, and even luggage.
No, there’s no evidence to suggest that bed bugs can spread diseases. However, their bites can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some people.
Yes, it’s possible to get rid of bed bugs yourself, but it may be difficult without professional help. Make sure to follow proper safety precautions and use natural or chemical treatments as directed.
Be cautious when staying in hotel rooms, and inspect your luggage and clothing before leaving. You can also use bed bug-proof mattress encasements and keep your home clean and decluttered.
The length of time it takes to get rid of bed bugs depends on the severity of the infestation and the treatment method used. It can take several weeks to fully eliminate a bed bug infestation.
- University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. (n.d.). Bed Bugs. Retrieved from https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef636
- Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). 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
- North Carolina State University. (2018, May). Bed Bugs – Biology and Control. Retrieved from https://entomology.ces.ncsu.edu/bed-bugs/bed-bugs-biology-and-control/