Home Remedies To Combat Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are horrible tiny insects that feed on human and animal blood. Making them even worse, is that they are hard to find and hard to kill. While perhaps the fastest and easiest way to get rid of them is to use an exterminator, many people would prefer avoiding pesticides and do it themselves.

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There are several types of home remedies you can use to combat bed bugs. The key to success is being thorough and persistent. Bed bugs hide very well and they are very hardy, so you will likely have to use these remedies on a long term basis until the bed bugs are really gone. Also, once they are gone, regular preventive measures should be taken to prevent them from coming back.

You should also be aware that even though they are called bed bugs, they can live in and infest many other areas of your home. This can include other pieces of furniture, especially chairs and sofas, cracks in the walls, dirty laundry, and clutter. If you find an infestation in any area of your home, you need to treat all of your home – not just your bedroom. The best home remedies to combat bed bugs are discussed below.

General Tips and Remedies

– Keep clutter to a minimum, as bed bugs will nest in undisturbed items.

– Regularly and thoroughly vacuum your beds, chairs, sofas and carpets.

– Encase your mattress and box spring with a special insect proof covering.

– Use light color sheets and bedding, as bed bugs are more attracted to dark colors.

– Repair any cracks and holes in your walls or floors.

– Be very careful about bringing back bedbugs from a trip or vacation.

Mattress and Box Spring Cleaning

If you know there are bed bugs in a bed, it must be cleaned completely and repeatedly. Do this by first using a stiff brush to clean all the surfaces of the mattress and box spring. Then immediately clean all of the bed with a strong vacuum cleaner. Once the bed bugs seem to be gone from the bed, encase your mattress and box spring with a special bed bug proof covering. It is very important to immediately after throw away the vacuum bag into an outside trash can.

Applying Extreme Heat or Cold

All bedding – sheets, blankets, pillows and pillowcases must be treated if they were on an infested bed. A good way to actually kill the bed bugs is to expose them to high heat or strong cold. For bedding that can be washed and dried on high heat, do so, both in the washer and dryer. For bedding that can’t be washed like this, put in a bag and then place in a freezer for at least 24 hours. All other bedding must either be disposed of or placed in a tightly closed plastic bag for at least six months (bed bugs can live this long without feeding).

If you have a home steamer machine, this is another way to kill the bed bugs by steaming your mattress and box spring.

Baking Soda

This common household substance dehydrates the bed bugs by removing moisture. Sprinkle a light layer of baking soda wherever you think these pests are present. Let the baking soda powder sit for a week before using your vacuum to clean the area. Repeat this often until there are no bugs or eggs left.

Black Walnut Tea

This exotic kind of tea has insecticidal properties that can help to rid your home of bed bugs. Place used, wet tea bags on areas you suspect are infested, such as cracks, holes, and along the floor. The unused dry tea leaves can be sprinkled on your mattress and bedding.

Tea Tree Oil

The smell of tea tree oil acts as a repellant against bed bugs. Dilute 20 drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle filled with water and spray on all the furnishings, mattress, cabinets, cushions, curtains, and other places the bed bugs can be (make sure to only spray water safe surfaces).

Lavender and Peppermint Oil Spray

The combination of these two natural oils also makes for a bed bug repellant. It can be used to spray on all possible hiding places of bed bugs, just like the tea tree oil spray. This spray is safe for you, your family and even your pets.

Home Remedies Not Recommended

The following remedies are often suggested, but should be avoided because they are not usually effective and can even be dangerous:

– Mothballs: Not for bed bugs and can be toxic to touch or breathe
– Alcohol: Can be toxic and is definitely flammable
– Dryer (softener) sheets: Has not been shown to be effective

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