Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite. That saying can be mighty scary if you have ever dealt with a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs can hide in cracks and crevices, and they are quite stealthy. You could be getting bitten for weeks before you even realize what the culprit is. What’s more, the remedy can be as terrifying as the cure. Spraying down your mattress with chemicals might not put your mind at ease. Do you want to risk breathing in all of those toxins every night? Research shows that when people treat bed bugs with insecticides, they tend to use too much.
Essential Oils Bed Bugs
Fortunately, many essential oils work to repel bed bugs. In addition, they can provide aromatherapy that has added benefits for your body and mind.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil comes from the melaleuca alternifolia plant. It has a distinct scent that can be likened to camphor. Many people already add tea tree oil to natural cleaning solutions that they make for home use.
According to Pestkilled.com, tea tree oil can also keep pests, including bed bugs, away. The oil soaks into the exoskeleton of insects, causing them to suffocate and die. In order to kill bed bugs effectively, the oil must come into contact with the insects. Therefore, you must regularly spray it everywhere bed bugs may be hiding.
Although most humans think lavender smells pleasant and calming, bed bugs hate the scent. Some people may be less sensitive to lavender than tea tree oil. Because tea tree oil is so potent, it can cause skin irritations. In addition, some people don’t like the scent of tea tree oil, so lavender may be a better option.
Lavender essential oil is a remedy for many skin irritations. Therefore, it is less likely to cause sensitivity than some other oils. It’s also known for its ability to soothe the nerves and induce sleep. Spraying lavender around your bedroom can help reduce stress.
You can also add lavender essential oil to your bathwater. It soaks into your pores, making your skin less attractive to bed bugs.
Cedar oil is one of the ingredients in an insecticide called EcoRaider. Laboratory tests have found this product to be 100% effective in killing bed bugs. However, this may be due to its interaction with other ingredients in the product that allow it to penetrate the insects’ exoskeletons more effectively.
You can also use a homemade spray made with cedar essential oil to kill any live bugs that you see.
How to Use Essential Oils for Bed Bugs
Spray your clothing and luggage with an essential oil repellent spray when you travel. This will keep critters out of your bags so that you don’t bring home unwanted guests.
If you have bed bugs in your home, make a spray and use it just about everywhere. Don’t neglect these hiding places:
- On and under the mattress
- Inside the box spring
- In the cracks of the headboard
- On the floor and carpet around the bed
- Inside picture frames that are hanging on the walls
- Along baseboards and crown molding
- Around window frames, window sills and door frames
- Inside cracks in loose drywall or plaster
- Inside dressers and night stands
- In the seams or cracks of upholstered furniture
Add a few drops of essential oil to your laundry. Don’t save this just for laundering bedding; use essential oil even when washing clothing and stuffed animals. This can help you eradicate bedbugs completely.
Diffusing the Oil
Keep cotton balls soaked with essential oils around your room and your house. You can shove these into cracks where you’ve noticed the pests in order to keep them away. You can also place these between the mattress and box spring.
You can also use a cool-mist diffuser in areas where you suspect bed bugs. Diffusers send out a mist that can settle on the bugs’ exoskeleton and kill them. If you run a diffuser while you are not home, make sure that you don’t allow pets in the room. Some essential oils can be harmful to pets in large concentrations.
Treating Existing Bites
If you already have itchy bites from the bed bugs, you can treat them with many essential oils. Dilute these oils by adding 12 drops to 1 oz. of coconut or jojoba oil. Apply to each bite. The following oils can help soothe bug bites and prevent infection:
- Peppermint essential oil
- Citronella essential oil
- Eucalyptus essential oil
- Lavender essential oil
- Tea tree essential oil
Get Rid of Bed bugs for Good
No matter what you spray with, a one-dimensional remedy may not work to completely eliminate your bed bug problem. Spraying alone may not kill enough of the critters or get rid of the eggs. The best offense includes inspecting your home daily, spraying your bed with repellant, spraying live bugs with an oil that will kill them, spraying liberally in areas where the bugs may be hiding and vacuuming. You can even use some powders to help kill bed bugs.
Inspecting the Area
On a daily basis, pull up your mattress. Inspect every seam and surface. Lift your box spring and look around the surfaces and seams. Because box springs often have a wooden framework inside that’s covered only by a thin mesh, you may have to cut away the mesh at the base to inspect all of the cracks in the frame. Kill any live bugs with lavender or cedar oil if you find them, and remove them from the area.
Also inspect all of the areas around your room. This includes nightstands, dressers, furniture, picture frames, carpets, corners and cracks. Bed bugs don’t just live on beds; inspect and treat the other rooms in your house too.
You may find it easier to inspect for and kill bed bugs if you don’t have clutter in the area. Keep the floor under your bed open. Don’t store shoes, clothing or anything else under the bed for the time being. Anything that you remove from the room can be stashed in plastic bags and placed in the sun for several hours. The heat may kill the bed bugs. You can also spray the interior of the bags with an essential oil spray.
Vacuum the entire room every day, making sure to get in corners and under furniture. Empty the bag or canister every time you vacuum. You can add essential oils to the canister or vacuum bag to help kill any bugs that end up inside.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe to use to kill bed bugs. You can dust your box spring and mattress lightly with the powder. You can also use it to dust the carpet below the bed, along the floorboards and inside dresser drawers and the cavities they sit in. When you dust with diatomaceous earth, don’t overdo it. The coating should be as light as the dust that settles on your dresser from time to time. You can dust with the powder after applying an essential oil spray. Just wait for the spray to dry first.
You can make an easy bed bug trap by filling a small tub with ½ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons of yeast. The bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide that is emitted by the mixture. Adding spearmint oil to the trap can help to attract the bed bugs, according to National Geographic.
Place the tub inside a larger tub. Tape the outside of the larger tub with masking tape, making sure to smooth down any wrinkles where the bugs could hide. The texture of the masking tape helps the bugs be able to climb up the walls of the slick larger tub. You can also use a paintbrush to add baby powder to the inner wall of the larger tub so that the bugs can’t crawl out once they are trapped. However, the slick plastic surface should prevent them from crawling out anyway.
You can place each leg of your bed or other furniture inside one of these traps. Although traps are unlikely to kill all of the bed bugs in your home, they can let you know if you have gotten them all once you’ve tried the other measures.
Bed bugs can be a nuisance, but they don’t have to take over your life or force you to use harsh chemicals in your home. Taking natural measures to combat them using impeccable cleaning, inspection and essential oils can stop an invasion and bring you peace of mind.