Bedbug Treatments: Facts and Myths

Bedbug Treatments: Facts and Myths


What works and what doesn’t to get rid of a bedbug infestation?

  • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

Bedbugs aren’t easy to get rid of, and in desperation, you might be tempted to try the first remedy you read about online. Unfortunately, many of these methods are ineffective—and some can even be dangerous. If you ever find yourself in a battle with these pesky varmints, make sure to separate fact from fiction before you fight back. Knowing what works and what doesn’t will save you time, money, and aggravation.

Fact: You’ll Need to Call Pest Control

The most effective means of getting rid of bedbugs is to call in a trained professional and have them apply a pesticide. Many pros also recommend giving your home a thorough cleaning because bedbugs can hide anywhere and pesticides can’t be applied to everything you own. You’ll need to get rid of clutter and launder anything washable in hot water. You may also need to steam-clean your carpets and furniture.

Fact: Pesticides Don’t Always Work

Bugs can develop resistance to pesticides over time, especially if they’re overapplied. Chemicals, such as deltamethrin, that were once commonly used to combat certain pests are no longer effective. According to research from 2017, bedbugs may be developing resistance to pyrethrums, the most common chemical used to combat them.

Fact: You May Not Have to Toss Your Furniture

If the infestation is caught early, a professional pest control application and diligent cleaning should remove these critters from your furniture. More severe infestations are another matter. If your mattress is torn or separated at the seams, bedbugs have likely moved inside, making treatment near impossible. In such circumstances, replacement may be your only option.

Fact: Mattress Covers Work

A number of companies make bedbug resistant mattress covers that form an impenetrable barrier around the exterior of your mattress. If you’ve had your home treated for a bedbug infestation, using a mattress cover can prevent any remaining bugs in your mattress from getting out and biting you.

Myth: You Can Kill Bedbugs With Bug Bombs

Bug bombs, or total room foggers, release a pesticide into the air in your home. Most bug bombs contain pyrethrin, one of the chemicals used to combat bedbugs, so you might think this product is an effective way to eliminate an infestation. Not so.

First of all, bedbugs (and other crawling insects) typically flee when pesticide is released, heading for cover in the deepest, most inaccessible crevices of your home. Second, effective treatment requires directed applications in all the places where bedbugs hide: behind moldings and casements, inside electrical boxes, or inside mattresses, for example. Chemicals released by a bomb simply can’t reach such places adequately to kill all the bedbugs in your home.

Myth: Bedbug Sniffing Dogs are Highly Effective

While companies that use bug-sniffing dogs may claim a success rate of over 90%, the truth is, there hasn’t been a lot of testing to see if these claims are true. (And at between $500 and $1,000 for their services, that’s an expensive «maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t.») In 2011, two researchers at Rutgers University did put some bedbug-sniffing dogs through their paces in real apartment buildings, and the results were nowhere near as effective as advertised. The accuracy of the dogs’ detecting abilities averaged just 43%.

Myth: You Can Kill Bedbugs by Turning Up The Heat

Heat treatments do kill bed bugs effectively, but simply turning up your thermostat is not a heat treatment. To roast bedbugs in your home, you’d have to heat the entire house evenly to over 120° F for at least an hour (including the voids between interior and exterior walls and the insides of your furniture). No home heating system is designed to do that. Professional heat treatments usually involve sealing your home and using multiple heat sources throughout the house to raise the temperature.

Myth: You Can Kill Bedbugs by Turing Off The Heat

Temperatures below 32° F can and do kill bed bugs outside of the home—if temperatures remain below freezing for a prolonged period of time. but who wants to live in a freezing house? Moving out for the two to three months that it would take to starve bed bugs of their source of food (you) is equally impractical.

10 Best Home Remedies For Bed Bugs

October 15, 2016, 5:33 pm 6.1k Views

Being bugged by bed bugs and losing precious sleep over it is a common occurrence which most people would have experienced at some time or the other. These tiny, crawling insects (they can’t fly), also known as Cimex Lectularius, suck the blood of humans and are a menace that needs to be eradicated.

To make up for their inability to fly, these persistent pests make it up by scrambling at incredible speeds on almost any surface. However, they do not get attracted by unhygienic conditions and can invade the cleanest household at any time.

You might have allowed some of them to tag along from some hotel or resort you stayed at recently as they love crawling into open suitcases and bags and hitch a ride to wherever you are headed. Once they enter your house, they can spread to every nook and corner and cause havoc in your lives. While there are no shortcut remedies short of calling in the bug exterminators, there certainly are some amazing home remedies for bed bugs that work.

See also:  How To Tell The Difference Between Ticks And Bed Bugs

What attracts bed bugs into our homes?

  • Dirt or grime do not attract bed bugs
  • They hop onto blankets and pillows that you carry along while traveling
  • Warmth, human blood, and carbon dioxide attract bed bugs
  • Bed bugs are active between 10 pm and 6 am when most people are asleep

Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites

  • A cluster of red welts or bumps that are itchy
  • Itching does not subside for quite a while, even after frantic scratching
  • The bites are not toxic, though the vigorous scratching can cause bleeding

10 Best Home Remedies For Bed Bugs

10. Cold Treatment


  • Hang your clothes out in the cold during winter season
  • You may also keep the bedclothes and clothing in a freezer for a while
  • Alternatively, wash the clothes and sheets in very cold water or soak in ice
  • Continue this treatment for a few days to eliminate all bed bugs
  • Repeat the process once in 2 or three months

How does it work?

It is rather simple logic – bed bugs just can’t stand the cold. They are used to the warmth of human bodies or warm blankets and bed sheets. Hence this alternative cold treatment has a very repulsive effect on them, leaving several of them dead, and the others scurrying away to safer climes. It is better to keep away from your furniture and refrain from using your carpets for a couple of days until all the bed bugs are exterminated. Once you are sure the bugs haven’t had a chance to recoup, you may start using your clothes and household articles as usual. Cold treatment is probably one of the cheapest and most effective of all home remedies for bed bugs that work.

The remedy may not work, if:

  • The temperature is not cold enough to discourage bed bugs
  • If some clothes or bedclothes are left out and allow the insects to thrive

9. Lavender Essential Oil


  • Take 6 to 8 drops of undiluted lavender essential oil
  • Fill a spray bottle with water and mix the lavender essential oil
  • Spray the mixture on the bed frame, legs, and below the carpet
  • Mix lavender oil in water and mop the floors in your house
  • Repeat the process continuously for a week or so

How does it work?

Lavender essential oil is a natural product that is effective as a bug repellent. The herbal oil has a strong odor that is quite unbearable by the nasty little bed bugs and sends them scuttling for cover. If you are unable to find lavender essential oil (it should be available on Amazon), you may use dried lavender, which can be inserted between the bedclothes or placed in the closet or wardrobe. Alternatively, you can sew some dried lavender between two pieces of cloth and place the cloth at the foot of your bed. The undiluted liquid retains the potency, and the effect lasts for a couple of days, keeping the pesky bed bugs at bay.

The remedy may not work, if:

  • You don’t use fresh, undiluted lavender essential oil
  • All the clothes, bedclothes and carpets are not covered

8. Tea Tree Oil


  • Take 6 to 8 drops of undiluted Tea Tree Oil
  • Fill a spray bottle with water and add Tea Tree Oil
  • Spray the contents on clothes, bedclothes and furniture
  • Repeat process twice a week 2 to 3 times

How does it work?

Tea Tree Oil is a wonder herbal oil that has excellent antimicrobial properties. It has great antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties and rids the house of harmful bacteria and germs. Spraying the water mixed with Tea Tree Oil helps get rid of bed bugs as they cannot stand the strong scent of this oil and scamper away to find new places to inhabit. Make sure all the furniture in the house is sprayed with this mixture as bugs tend to find safe places in the cracks and crevices in the furniture during the day.

The remedy may not work, if:

  • Some areas that bed bugs frequent are left out while spraying
  • Genuine, undiluted Tea Tree Oil is not used

7. Neem Paste


  • Pluck a bunch of fresh Neem leaves
  • Crush the leaves to make a paste
  • Take a spray bottle, fill water and add Neem paste
  • Spray under the cot, near the furniture, under the carpet, etc.
  • Repeat the process twice a week for 2 to 3 weeks

How does it work?

Neem is a wonder medicinal tree that has some amazing curative properties. It is an effective antimicrobial agent and has some very good antibacterial properties as well. Neem has a strong odor and a very bitter taste and acts as a strong repellent against bed bugs. Spraying Neem water or simply spreading some fresh leaves in the areas bed bugs frequent is enough to keep these pests away. Neem is probably one of the safest and most effective home remedies for bed bugs that work. Applying Neem paste on areas bitten by bed bugs gives relief, making it one of the best home remedies for bed bug bites as well.

The remedy may not work, if:

  • You can’t find any fresh Neem leaves in your area
  • Dried Neem powder is used, it will work at half the potency

6. Steam Treatment


  • Get a steam cleaner (a machine that’s available on (Amazon)
  • Steam clean the areas infested with bed bugs
  • Alternatively, you may use heat treatment
  • Simply use a hot iron to iron bedclothes and clothes at high temperature
  • Repeat either process once or twice a week for 2 to 3 weeks.

How does it work?

Although bed bugs like warmth and thrive in a warm atmosphere, they cannot survive in very high temperatures. When treated with very high temperatures like steam or very hot iron the bed bugs get killed due to the excess heat. Hence, this is one of the easiest and safest home remedies for bed bugs that work. Make sure that while steam cleaning, you turn the carpets over and cover the areas completely. Bed bugs cannot survive in temperatures exceeding 50°C or 150°F as the steam will permeate through the fabric and destroy all the bed bugs and any eggs they may have laid.

The remedy may not work, if:

  • Extremely hot iron is used on nylon or other soft material which will melt at such temperatures and ruin the clothes and furnishing material.
  • Hot steam does not reach into the cracks or crevices if any in the areas you are cleaning.
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5. Cayenne Pepper, Oregano, Ginger


  • Take 1 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper Powder
  • Take two fresh Oregano leaves and dice them
  • Take one finger of ginger and peel and grate it
  • Boil all three ingredients in 500 ml of water
  • Strain and fill in a spray bottle and spray cots and furniture

How does it work?

Cayenne pepper is a natural repellent for most pests, and works wonderfully on bed bugs and drives them away. When Oregano and raw ginger are mixed with Cayenne pepper, the mixture is so very potential that it has a devastating effect on bed bugs and makes sure they are eliminated without a trace. The advantage with this concoction is that it is organic and has no harmful effect on humans. What’s more, it is easy to prepare and not very expensive too. This probably makes the Cayenne pepper mixture one of the most effective home remedies for bed bugs that work.

The remedy may not work, if:

  • You are unable to reach bed bugs hiding deep in cracks or crevices.
  • Some areas in the house are not disinfected as the bugs will find a safe haven in those areas.

4. Boric Acid


  • Sprinkle some Boric Acid (Borax) powder in the bug-prone areas
  • Alternatively, fill the vacuum bag of the vacuum cleaner with Boric Acid
  • Pressure vacuum the areas that are infested with bed bugs
  • Vacuum under the carpets and the furniture as well
  • Repeat the process a couple of times a week for the next 2 to 3 weeks

How does it work?

Boric acid is an excellent bed bug repellent and helps get rid of the pesky bed bugs that infest your homes. Spraying the cots, furniture, carpets, and other areas that bed bugs frequent helps rid your home of the bed bug menace. Ensure that the kids and pets are kept at a safe distance while using this method to clear off the bed bugs. You may use this process as many times as required as it is one of the easiest and most effective home remedies for bed bugs that work.

The remedy may not work, if:

  • All areas infested by bed bugs in the house are not covered. Bed bugs can survive without food for long periods of time and resurface after the toxic effects have subsided.

3. Baking Soda


  • Sprinkle baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in cracks and crevices
  • Cover all the furniture in the house, including the cots
  • Repeat the process twice a week for 2 to 3 weeks

How does it work?

Baking soda has a tendency to absorb moisture wherever it is present. When the bed bugs come in contact with the baking powder the moisture in their bodies is absorbed, and the bugs suffocate to death. Moreover, baking soda has excellent antimicrobial properties that have been tested and proved, hence spraying the house with baking soda does a lot of good by destroying harmful bacteria.

The remedy may not work, if:

  • Some areas in the house are left out, giving the bed bugs a chance to survive and multiply within the house.

2. Rubbing Alcohol


  • Take about 500 ml of undiluted rubbing alcohol
  • Take a spray bottle and fill it with the rubbing alcohol
  • Spray the bed bug-prone areas in the house
  • Repeat the process twice weekly for 2 to 3 weeks

How does it work?

Rubbing alcohol, also known as 2-proponal, propyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol is very bitter and works as an excellent repellent on bed bugs. Spraying 91 percent proof rubbing alcohol in the bed bug-prone areas helps exterminate them completely. Make sure that pets and children are kept away from the areas where the chemical is being sprayed. Note that rubbing alcohol should not be consumed by humans as it is poisonous, with the lethal dose being a little more than 200 ml.

The remedy may not work, if:

  • 91 percent proof rubbing alcohol is not used. Diluted forms of rubbing alcohol seldom work with the same effect and may leave behind some bugs that have survived and which can later multiply.

1. Fresh Mint Leaves


  • Pluck a bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • Crush the mint leaves and extract the juice
  • Take a spray bottle and fill with water and add mint juice
  • Spray mint leaf juice mixed with water in bug-prone areas
  • Repeat process twice a week for 2 to 3 weeks

How does it work?

Fresh mint has a strong, pungent odor which acts as an effective repellent on bed bugs. If fresh mint leaves are available you may use them; else you may have to purchase peppermint oil and add a few drops to the water in the spray bottle and spray all the bug-prone areas in the house. The strong smell of mint is a deterrent for bugs that quickly vanish from the scene the moment they sense the smell. Fresh mint is a natural product that has no side effects whatsoever and is safe to use in all households making it the perfect choice as one of the best home remedies for bugs that work.

The remedy may not work, if:

  • There are no reasons why mint leaves or mint oil should work as an effective repellent on bed bugs unless the spray does not reach all areas infested by the bugs.

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I used the pesticides to kill the bugs in my bed rather than trying these natural remedies. Is that okay?

There are chances that the chemical contents in pesticides may harm you later or it may have some side effects on you. Our suggestion would be to go with the natural way itself.

wow! A nice article to get rid of bed worms

Do bed bugs spread disease? if yes, what health risks do bed bugs pose?

Bed bugs usually causes allergy Gaspar Evan

Thanks, i tried these remedies. It is helpful to reduce the bed bugs in my home.

mint leaves juice works well on the bedbugs, it has a very good effect on them.

What causes bed bugs?

What causes bed bugs? Bedbugs have been known to exist since biblical days. They are thought to be eradicated in most countries but unfortunately, they have become a major issue in many cities around the world. Many people have discovered everything they should know about bedbugs but still they simply can not get rid of them!

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Places crowded with people
Bed bugs tend to like places that are crowded with people. Cleanliness has little to do with where they live – it’s food supply. They were once associated with places with poor sanitation for example flop houses and sub standard motels, but now they’re not unwilling to move into a multi-million dollar home. Much like roaches, they’re in whenever there is something to eat, with no barriers, for example chemicals that kill them.
Warm blooded animals that live in your home

Any warm blooded animal residing in your home can work as a magnet for bedbugs and can lure them out of their hidings and spread to areas they’d not normally go.

The steps you take to protect your bedroom against infestation will almost certainly lead bedbugs to other areas of your home in search of food. Factors like body heat and pheromones will guide them to places where pets gather and relax.

Contacts with infested furniture in hotels
Bed bug infestation can start from different sources. Probably one of the common types of attack is through contact with infected furniture in motels, hotels along with other places where people stay on temporary places. Actually, a recent rise in bed bug infestation may be directly connected to the increase in amounts of people who travel frequently. These people carry bed bugs in their luggage. But it is rare to find bed bugs in clothes that people are wearing at a given time. Clothing that is put in bags facilitate bedbugs in travelling and spreading. Another major source of bed bugs is the exchange of clothing or furniture between people.

Hiding places around the house
Small cracks and fissures are perfect hiding places for bedbugs and their small size enables them to to hide easily. Boxes, furniture and luggage can easily cover up the joints and cracks which are used by bed bugs as their hiding place. Used mattresses and furniture are seen as the best places for bedbugs to hide in where they can also enjoy travelling to a new home. Even vacant apartments are yet another host of bugs and can as well make their move easy to the adjacent rooms or apartments through holes within the walls. Joints and cracks present in a room might help bugs to maneuver as well.

How to go about controlling bedbugs?

Bed bugs control will always be challenging, because to locating them and finding their habitats and hidings is already a tough thing to do. The best way to kill bedbugs would be to prevent your hands from doing the crime and employ a pest control professional who is able to kill them effectively and without creating any other health hazards.

4 Home Remedies To Kill Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are blood-sucking insects that feed on humans and other mammals. These insects can be found in dark and dry places like cracks in the walls, furniture, and stairs. They can also be found in carpets and your bed.

This insect is nocturnal, so they are more active at nighttime. While you are sleeping, they’ll wake you up by biting you repeatedly. Bedbug bites don’t usually cause any pain, but they can cause some itchiness and irritation. When the bedbug bites you, it will feed on your blood for an average of 4 minutes before going back to their hiding place.

Some of the signs you should look out for are bed bug skins, eggs, bites, and dried blood. The surface of bed bugs looks like a hollow bug, their eggs usually look a lot like tiny rice, and if bed bugs bite you, you’ll notice a group of red, itchy welts on your skin.

Home Remedies

You can use home remedies to both kill the bedbugs and to stop the itchiness caused by bedbug bites. Not only are home remedies much cheaper than hiring a professional exterminator, but they also allow you to take fast action to get rid of these bugs as soon as you notice signs of them in your house.

Spray Natural Insecticide

You can spray bed bugs with a natural vegetable or fruit insecticide. These fruit and vegetable insecticides are made with canola oil and pyrethrins that is highly effective.

You could even spray bed bugs with some rubbing alcohol to kill off these insects and their eggs. Also, rubbing alcohol will help to repel these blood-sucking insects from infesting your home in the first place. Before you spray any alcohol, make sure there is no flame in the area.

You can also make your natural insecticide to kill off bed bugs. Head to your local health store and pick up some lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus essential oils. Now all you have to do is add a few drops of these three essential oils into a cup of water and then spray it on the bed bugs to kill them.

Use Steam

Steam produces high temperatures that can easily kill off bed bugs and their eggs. You can go to your hardware store and quickly find steaming machines you can use in certain areas in your home to stop the infestation of these insects.

When steaming affected areas like your carpet, make sure you take your time and keep the tip of the steamer 2 inches from the surface you’re treating. Make sure you get all cracks, and any other dark, hidden areas bed bugs like to hide. Check for bed bugs over the next couple of days. If you see any more signs of these insects, re-treat the area with steam.


Cayenne pepper can help you prevent bed bugs from entering areas of your house by sprinkling some of it around a certain area, and the bedbugs will avoid crossing it. You can also use mint leaves by placing them around your house to repel bedbugs. Another herb bed bugs don’t like lavender and will avoid at all costs. Use the lavender oil by rubbing it around your bed and other areas where the bed bugs are active.


To help stop the itching caused by bedbug bites, you can use some toothpaste. Toothpaste has great anti-inflammatory properties such as baking soda, which is great to help relieve itching and irritation. Take a little bit of the toothpaste and apply it directly to the affected area.

These are four great home remedies you should think about using if you ever encounter bed bugs. These insects don’t just attack homes; you should also lookout for signs of bed bug infestation at hotels you go to.

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