Bed bugs are parasites that belong to the cimicid family. They are small, oval, brownish insects that feed exclusively on blood. While there are quite a few parasites of the cimicid family that feeds on animal blood, the cimex lectularius, the common bedbug, is the famous one as it prefers feeding on human blood.
While an adult bed bug has a flat body, and looks pretty much like an apple seed, after feeding, its body swells and also turns a reddish color. Bed bugs usually feed on their hosts quite unnoticed.
Is your house infested?
One of the most noticeable signs of bed bugs infestation is finding itchy areas on your body when you wake up after a sleep. These itchy parts may also show a small red bump. Small blood stains on both of your sheets and pillow cases, bed bug excrement on the bed and bed linen or walls, egg shells or shed skins in areas where bed bugs commonly hide and even sometimes a musty odor from the bug’s scent glands are some other ways to know if there is a manifestation of bed bugs in your home.
Since bed bugs contain flattened bodies, which makes it a lot easier for them to hide in the tiniest places in your home such as mattresses, box springs, bed frames and even on your headboards. Even though bed bugs don’t have nests, they have the tendency to live in groups. Over time, they scatter through the bedroom, moving from place to another and even adjoining rooms.
If you are starting to suspect that you may have a bed bug infestation in your home, remove all of the bedding and dust covers, as well as the blankets, box springs and the like. Check gently for the signs of bugs or their excrement. You need to check the area around the bed too, which includes the books, telephones, radios, carpet edges and even the electrical outlets.
Ways To Exterminate Bed Bugs
Once you have already identified a bed bug infestation in your house, it is already understood that you want to jump right in and immediately wants to get rid of them. However, this will be a long and tiring battle, and there is nothing like patience and preparation in order to win it.
Eliminating bed bugs starts with cleaning up the places where they usually live. At this moment, this is not an easy task as it includes washing and drying the bedding, linens, curtains, clothing and the like with the help of how water and then accurately checking that it is already bed-bug free. The cleaning up process also calls for some heavy-duty vacuuming. The whole house, furniture, linens require being regularly vacuumed. After each vacuuming sessions, you have to make sure to get rid the vacuum cleaner bag into another plastic bag and put it in the garbage bin outside the house.
Another way in order to eliminate these kinds of bugs is to freeze them. Even though bed bugs have the ability to love up to a year in a cool room, they cannot endure freezing temperatures. Freezing infested item for at least two consecutive hours at 17°C will eventually kill them off.
Like cold, steam too can actually assist you removing these bed bugs. Steam has the ability to penetrate mattress linings, crevices and cracks effectively and efficiently. Steam cleaning infested items and rooms at about 140°F or 60°C can actually kill these bugs, as well as their eggs without even damaging the surroundings.
Here are the home remedies that you can use in order to eliminate bed bugs:
You can also try out some natural insect repellant in order to eliminate the bed bugs and even their eggs. In this regard, plant essential oils have gained relevance as an important natural source or pesticides. They represent a market estimated value of $700 million. The total production of essential oils in the entire world has been estimated to be around 45000 tons. Most of these essential oils affect the inner cell membranes of insects, which causes cytotoxic effects. This property has been proven to become extremely helpful when battling against any kind of bug or human infestation. In addition, the essential oils have been known to be toxic to bugs, on the other hand, they are safe for humans.
Here are some natural essential oil based natural insecticides:
- Tea Tree Oil Spray
Studies have shown that tea tree oil is an effective pesticide. The essential oil of tea tree effectively disturbs the permeability barrier of cell membrane structures, which results in the loss of chemiosmosis control and fatality. It is the membrane-damaging content of tea tree oil that makes it an effective natural pesticide in battling against bed bugs. You can also use the homemade spray in those hard-to-reach areas such as cracks, cervixes, and furniture joints.
Usage: In order to create a natural pesticide with tea tree oil, combine at least two teaspoons of tea tree oil with around 50ml of water. Transfer it to a spray bottle and mix them well. Spray generous amounts of it in all areas where you think bed bugs mostly stay. Use this on a daily basis until all of the signs of bed bugs disappeared. You need to put your mind to shake it well before using.
- Lavender Oil
Just like tea tree oil, lavender essential oil can also be used as an effective natural pesticide in order to get rid of begs bugs. It is believed to have the ability to destroy bed bugs eggs as well. The smell of it can actually kill those bugs. Nevertheless, the oil probably works as cytotoxic which eventually kills them.
Usage: In order to create a spray, combine at least 10 to 15 drops of lavender oil with around 50ml of water. Shake well and then transfer it to a spray bottle. Use it in those places where the infestation can be easily noticed. You can also use lavender soap or powder as a spray. Another method is to put fresh lavender leaves or flowers in and around the infested areas in order to eliminate those bed bugs.
A combination of lavender oil and peppermint oil was also found to be highly helpful in getting rid of these bugs.
- Citronella Spray
Citronella or also known as lemongrass is another essential oil that has the ability to repel and kill bed bugs and even its eggs. Citronella oil is assumed to have the ability to elevate the acidic condition within the bugs, which makes it effective in getting rid of them. Just like lavender, the smell of citronella is also believed to help in eliminating bed bugs.
Usage: Add at least 10 drops of citronella essential oil to a small bowl of water then transfer it into a spray bottle. Shake them completely before you can actually use it in those affected areas in order to get the best results.
- Eucalyptus Oil Spray
The evergreen and mighty trees of the eucalyptus can be found in most of the places across the world. The essential oil that can be seen in its foliage has been widely used in food, pharmaceuticals, perfumes and the like. It is also used extensively as a pesticide. Eucalyptus has been believed to exhibit ovicidal activity, as well as insect repellency against bacteria, fungi, insects, weeds, as well as nematodes and mites.
Usage: In order to create your very own spray, just take ounces of water and at least 1.5 ounces of witch hazel or vodka and about 30 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Combine them thoroughly before transferring to the spray bottle. Then spray the mixture on the affected areas. Do the spraying every two hours.
- Essential Oils of Orange
Orange oil comprises d-limonene which is characterized as an insecticide. This is a nerve toxin that has the ability to kill bugs and insects within just a few minutes.
Usage: Make a spray solution by combing a cup of compost tea and an ounce of blackstrap molasses and at least 2 ounces or orange essential oil in 4 liters of water. Combine them all completely before using as a spray on the affected areas.
- Neem Oil
For centuries now, neem oil has been used for numerous medicinal and insecticidal properties. The tree, its leaves, and seeds are all beneficial for medicinal purposes with helpful results. Studies have shown that neem oil, particularly cold pressed neem oil contains high toxicity and even anti-feedancy which can actually repel a lot of pests.
Usage: In order to make your own spray liquid mixture, add about an ounce if concentrated neem essential oil to 3\4 ounces of water. Add ½ teaspoon of soap in order to emulsify the solution. Combine them thoroughly. Use it as a spray on your bed, sheets, walls, services and all other possible bed bug hiding places. Repeat this for at least thrice a day for the first three days then shift to treating your home alternately for a total of 18 days.
- Sweet Flag
Sweet flag or also known as Acorus calamus is an unusual, semi-aquatic, perennial plant that can be found in Eurasia and the Americans. It has been greatly valued due to its rhizome and fragrant oils, this plant has been used medicinally, as well as insecticidal properties, since time immemorial. Recent studies have also revealed that this kind of plant contains antifungal and antibacterial properties. The antimicrobial property makes the sweet flag effective against bed bugs.
Usage: In making a spray, simply boil 100 grams of a sweet flag and at least 50 grams of turmeric powder in one liter of water. Boil this for an hour and then keep the solution in a closed container for at least 24 hours. The next day, filter and dilute the solution for around 10 times in the water. Transfer it to a spray bottle and generously use it on the affected areas.
- Bean Leaves
Studies have shown that the leaves of beans contain microscopic hair which is known as trichomes that can be found on its surface that entangle the bugs onto it, which literally stopping them in their journey.
Usage: Simply scatter bean leaves all over your house, particularly the places where they possibly stay. You can also place these leaves under the mattresses. You can either wait for a couple of days before eliminating these leaves or choose to use fresh leaves on a daily basis for several days. Since the bugs are already stuck on the leaves, eliminating the leaves will make sure that those bugs won’t come back again.
Thyme oil or also called us thymol concentrate is really effective as bed bugs pesticides. They are also effective in getting rid of their eggs, as well as the eggs of the mites.
Usage: You can actually tie a thyme stick with a cotton cloth and burn it near the affected area or in the infested room. As an alternative put thyme leaves in net bags and place them in and around the surroundings of the infested place. Make sure to replace these bags with fresh leaves on its third day. Continue the proves for at least a month in order to ensure that all of the bed bugs have been killed already.
Just like other essential oils, clove oil contains insecticidal properties. It is believed that the acidic pH of cloves, as well as its pungent smell, has the ability to disturb the survival of the bugs which eventually kills them.
Usage: Combine a teaspoon of clove essential oil with 1 cup water. Transfer it into a spray bottle and combine thoroughly and use as a spray on the affected areas.
- Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth or also known as DE is a non-toxic insecticide that can be used for the protection of stored products and in order to regulate the pests in both home and garden. It is a natural product that harms neither earth nor people. it can be conveniently used in any space even those services on walls and other inaccessible places. DE comes as a fire crystalline powder. Fine for the human eye, but the crystal trap and tear up the bugs.
Usage: Spray or sprinkle food grade DE on your bed, on the floor, on the crevices and other areas where these bugs possibly stays. Leave it for at least three days and after that vacuum or broom up the whole house. Some other products that effectively work against bed bugs are baking powder and boric powder. While boric powder is somehow toxic, baking powder on the other hand is harmless for humans.