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DIY bed bug treatment: Myths and facts

More often than not people will try a DIY solution using home remedies to control bed bugs before contacting a pest control professional. Here, we dig into which methods, if any, are effective.

If you have noticed any signs of bed bugs, you should contact us to solve your problem. A bed bug infestation can occur quickly and Ehrlich experts are prepared to get rid of them fast. Call us at 800-837-5520 or contact us online to set up a bed bug inspection today!

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Home remedies for bed bugs

So, which home remedies for bed bugs actually work? And what can you do to help stop them from spreading? Jump to a specific method to see if it is works.

Ultrasonic devices

Method:

The high frequencies of the sound waves emitted from the ultrasonic device are believed to be uncomfortable for bed bugs, forcing them to leave the area.

Myth or Fact:

Myth. Like with most theories of using ultrasonic devices as home remedies for pests, these devices have no effect on bed bugs whatsoever. Michael F. Potter, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, explains that ultrasonic devices have never proven themselves to be effective control tools. "If anything, I would expect the bugs to utilize them as a haven since they often emit small amounts of heat."

Baking soda

Method:

Sprinkle baking soda around the areas that bed bugs typically inhabit, such as the mattress and the area around your bed. After a few days, vacuum it up and repeat the process.

Myth or Fact:

Myth. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that baking soda is a successful home remedy for bed bugs.  Baking soda actually breaks down when it comes into contact with water, so the idea that it can absorb the thick fluids found on a bed bug shell is quite questionable. Although it may seem to work in some instances, it is not a guaranteed fix to fully remove a bed bug infestation from a property.

DIY bed bug control

Moth balls

Method:

Place a handful of mothballs around common bed bug hotspots such as underneath your bed, sofa, or other furniture.

Myth or Fact:

Myth. Studies have been conducted to test the effectiveness of mothballs as a home remedy for bed bugs. Changlu Wang and his research team at Rutgers University in New Jersey tested the effectiveness of this DIY bed bug treatment option. The results showed that the mothballs failed to wipe out bed bugs after seven days. Although between 44-60% of the adult bed bugs died, the eggs and bed bug nymphs still survived.

Wash bedding

Method:

Strip the bedding from your bed, place it in a garbage bag and transfer it to the washing machine. Wash the bedding at a high temperature of at least 140°F, ideally for at least 90 minutes.

Myth or Fact:

Washing your bedding is an effective method to get rid of bed bugs. The use of heat is a great way to eradicate bed bugs and is one of the main features of our professional solution of bed bugs. However, it is important to note that although washing your bedding is a good home remedy for bed bugs, it is not a 100% guaranteed fix. Yes, it can reduce the number of bed bugs in your home but it will not fully remove them.

Get rid of bed bugs in your home today!

Talcum powder

Method:

There are two methods for using talcum powder to get rid of bed bugs.

  1. Sprinkle talcum powder around the bed bug hotspots such as underneath bedroom furniture. Similar to baking soda, it is believed that talcum powder will get rid of bed bugs by causing them to dehydrate.
  2. Create a trap by putting some talcum powder in a bowl and placing it underneath your bed. Bed bugs will be able to get into the bowl, but the talcum powder will make it too slippery for them to get out.

Myth or Fact:

 Myth. Like with baking powder, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea of talcum powder getting rid of bed bugs by causing them to dehydrate. This is because the powder is not sharp enough to penetrate a bed bug’s exoskeleton. Using talcum powder as part of a bed bug trap can have some success, but it does not fully eradicate a bed bug problem.

Rubbing alcohol

Method:

Pour rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle and apply the solution to the common bed bug hotspots such as underneath furniture and on your bed frame.

Myth or Fact:

Myth. It all depends on the alcohol percentage. Another study conducted by Changlu Wang and his research team at Rutgers University showed that after being sprayed with rubbing alcohol, half of the bed bugs still survived after four days.

Freezing

Method:

Place infested items such as pillows and duvets into your freezer.

Myth or Fact:

Fact. Freezing infested items is an effective home remedy for bed bugs. For this bed bug home remedy to be successful, the temperature of the freezer must remain at or below 0°F, and the items should be left in the freezer for at least four days. However, like with most home remedies, it is not a foolproof solution to fully remove bed bugs from your home, but it is an effective way to help reduce the number of bed bugs in your home.

Tea tree oil

Method:

Dilute around 20 drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle filled with water and apply the solution to the common bed bug hotspots.

Myth or Fact:

Myth. This bed bug home remedy is only partly effective when it is sprayed directly onto the insect and will not fully solve a bed bug problem. Furthermore, it is argued that only undiluted tea tree oil will work, which is something that can be harmful to humans and pets and is NOT advised.

 

DIY bed bug control
Get rid of bed bugs in your home today!

Dryer sheets

Method:

Place scented dryer sheets underneath your mattress, in cupboards, and drawers, underneath sofa cushions and any other areas you might expect bed bugs. The idea behind the success of this DIY bed bug treatment is the scent of the dryer sheets repels bed bugs.

Myth or Fact:

Myth. There is no scientific evidence to support the success of dryer sheets repelling bed bugs. Even if the scent of the dryer sheets does repulse bed bugs, they will often find a way around them to get to their food source.

Vacuuming

Method:

Vacuum your home thoroughly. Pay close attention to the bed bug hotspots such as underneath furniture and between wall joints. Once finished, empty the contents of the vacuum in an outside trash can.

Myth or Fact:

Fact. Vacuuming is an effective DIY bed bug control solution. Unlike other home remedies, this process can help remove both adult bed bugs and nymphs as well as the eggs. It is important to remember to empty the vacuum in an outside trash can to help reduce the possibility of them returning. However, like most DIY pest control solutions, vacuuming will not fully eradicate bed bugs from your home, but it can help reduce the numbers.

DIY bed bug control

Diatomaceous earth

Method:

Apply a fine amount of diatomaceous earth along the seams of your mattress, bed frames, and furniture. This home remedy for bed bugs is believed to work by causing the bed bugs to die of dehydration.

Myth or Fact:

Fact. Diatomaceous earth can be an effective DIY bed bug treatment. However, there are a couple of elements that lead to its success.

  1. It has been suggested that the amount of diatomaceous earth applied affects how well this home remedy for bed bugs works. Too much and the bed bugs will simply navigate around it, and it can also be bad for your health if inhaled.
  2. A study detailed on the Pest Control Technology website examined the effectiveness of diatomaceous earth to get rid of bed bugs and the results showed that as a stand-alone treatment, it’s not a foolproof solution. The most effective way to use diatomaceous earth to get rid of bed bugs is alongside other bed bug control options.

Professional bed bug control

The best way to get rid of bed bugs is with the help of a pest control professional. At Ehrlich, we have environmentally safe bed bug solutions to eradicate bed bugs from your property.

Think you have a bed bug problem? Get in touch with Ehrlich today.


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