When it comes to home remedies for bed bugs, there are many: some that legitimately work and others that are merely old wives’ tales. First let’s address those that simply do not work and then move on to the best home remedies for bed bugs that, for our purposes here, are defined as solutions that can be employed without seeking the advice or assistance of a professional service.
Home Remedies to Try
Try to focus on using these and other effective home remedies, but remember that you may need to use a combination of them in order to truly rid yourself of bed bugs:
Hot washer and hot dryer
Wash your bedding and clothing in very hot water in the washing machine and also use the hottest possible setting for the clothes dryer. This should be done regularly as it has been proven that bed bugs and their eggs can be killed by temperatures that are 120 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter. If you can afford it, you can also send your clothing and bedding to the dry cleaner on a regular basis. However, other treatments must also be used rather than to solely rely on this remedy.
Bed bugs can be brought into your home on clothes, and they can live in items like stuffed animals, so using hot water to wash everything you can put into your washing machine is one of the home remedies for bed bugs that always makes sense.
Unfortunately, bed bugs rapidly spread, so washing clothes is more of a preventative step than a way to get rid of a bed bug infestation.
Steam creates the high temperature necessary to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs. The steam can get in more of the cracks and crevices for a longer and deeper reach into a structure or piece of furniture. Moreover, steam is a desirable natural method. However, the equipment is not necessarily cheap and must be used very carefully.
Mattress covers and encasement
Consider this both a treatment and preventative measure for bed bugs as these can keep on working for up to two years if you’ve purchased a quality cover. This is also a very reasonably priced solution. However, this product only covers mattresses and box springs so it is still important to use another remedy for other areas in the home or facility.
Caulking all holes and cracks in your floors and walls is not only one of the best bed bug home remedies—potentially trapping some of the bed bugs—it also will help keep out other pests and probably improve your energy efficiency.
Bed Bug Traps
For the best bed bug solutions, there are two types of bed bug traps to choose from: passive and active.
Passive traps consist of two bowls, one smaller than the other. Each of the small bowls will go into one of the larger ones. Then, you place each one of these pairs under one leg of your bed.
When the bed bugs come out at night, they will need to climb up the legs to reach you. If they are not caught inside the larger bowl when they climb up, they will likely be caught in the smaller bowl on their way back down.
Active traps don’t wait for the bed bugs to start heading for your bed. Instead, they include chemicals that attract bed bugs.
Once a few have been drawn toward the trap, more will quickly follow as they draw each other to areas where they believe sustenance, aka your blood, is located.
Bed Bug Remedies Available In Stores
There are numerous bed bug remedies on the market that you can use to try to get rid of a bed bug infestation. But before you spend money and time on store-bought bed bug remedies, consider the following six limitations of DIY treatment of bed bugs.
- If the label doesn’t specifically mention that the product kills bed bugs, then it won’t.
- Bed bugs are developing a resistance to the pesticides that have long been used to kill them, particularly pyrethrins, which are the active ingredient of most store-bought pesticides.
If you treat bed bugs with a pesticide to which they’re resistant, you could actually make the problem worse because only the most-susceptible to the pesticide will die, leaving the “stronger” bed bugs to continue to reproduce.
- Incorrect use of pesticides—too much or too little—can cause health problems for humans and pets or render the treatment ineffective. Directions must be followed to the letter.
- Pesticide treatment for bed bugs requires tremendous thoroughness that most amateurs won’t bring to the job. Bed bugs can hide in cracks the width of a credit card, and most people don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to locate all bed bugs in a residence. Therefore DIY treatment usually misses some of the bed bug hiding places. Adequate bed bug remedies must treat all places where bed bugs are living. Otherwise, you might make a temporary dent in the population, but they’ll be back in big numbers again soon.
- Improper preparation can give bed bugs places to hide. If you don’t clean up clutter and seal off cracks and crevices, bed bugs will move to a new hiding place to escape pesticides that are bothering them.
- Adequate treatment often involves follow-up treatment in a certain time-frame because many store-bought pesticides don’t kill bed bug eggs.
Home Remedies for Bed Bugs that Don’t Work so Well
Here are some home remedies for bed bugs that will not get rid of the infestation:
Vacuuming can spread the problem
While it may seem effective to suck up as many of the bed bugs as possible by trying to cover every crack and crevice in your home, in actuality this strategy will not cover all hiding spots, is difficult to get bed bug eggs, and may actually spread the problem if you don’t seal the vacuum bag that you throw away. It could be a supplemental treatment with other more effective methods but is not ideal.
Rubbing alcohol is cheap but cannot do much
Because it is a liquid and does dry up, it does not do much over the long term to eradicate bed bugs and their eggs. It would also have to be used on identifiable bed bugs, which are often hard to detect. And, pouring liquids of any sort into the walls or foundation of a structure is never advisable.
Throwing out your belongings is a bad idea
This can be costly and certainly not effective as many people take what others throw out in terms of mattresses, clothing, bedding and furniture, which means that they inherit bed bugs as well. Meanwhile, you have to pay out for new stuff and you likely will still have bed bugs lurking in soft-side décor items or behind outlets, smoke alarms, furniture, and baseboards just waiting to lodge themselves in your newly purchased products.
When Nothing Seems to Work
While all these home remedies have some impact on bed bugs, they do not always do the trick if the infestation has become too extensive or not all the bed bug hiding places have been treated. Instead of waving your hands in frustration and saying, “Bed bugs what to do?”, consider this:
- Hire a bed bug dog inspection company to determine all locations where bed bugs might be hiding. These pet detectives are the best way to uncover the insects anywhere and everywhere they might be hiding.
- Hire a bed bug exterminator to take a more comprehensive, expert-based approach.
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