Bed bugs are very common, and they are a nuisance! By the time most people realize they have a bed bug infestation, getting rid of them can seem overwhelming and therefore people turn to pest control companies. I am here to tell you that you can get rid of them naturally…no harsh chemicals. Also, there are steps you can take to keep them from returning.
First, let’s talk about what they are and how you can identify them.
What Exactly Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs, known scientifically as Cimex lectularius (Cimicidae) are small wingless insects that feed by hematophagy – exclusively on the blood of warm blooded-animals. As we are warm-blooded animals, we are ideal hosts for them.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Newborns, called hatchlings or nymphs, are tiny, about the size of a poppy seed, while adults grow to about ¼ of an inch long. Their shape is oval and flattened. Nymphs, eggs, and adults are visible to the naked eye. When seen close up they may have a white, light tan to a deep brown or burnt orange color. Just after molting, most of them are plain white. When they have had their feed a dark red or black blob may be observed within their body. They will instinctively seek shelter in dark cracks and crevices when disturbed.
Bed bugs are seen as a growing problem within all types of dwellings, including private homes, dormitories, cruise ships, army barracks, and shelters.
Signs of bed bug activity may exist beneath loose areas of wallpaper near beds, in the corner of desks and dressers, in the laundry, and in dresser drawers.
Look out for dark brown or reddish fecal spots (bed bug droppings). If the area is very infested you may sense a coriander-like odor. The excrement is a liquid that looks either light brown or black that can either bead up or be absorbed by the material around it.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally
Once you realize that you have a bed bug infestation within your home, it is crucial that you act immediately to get rid of them. Here are 7 methods to get rid of bed bugs naturally.
To get rid of any bed bugs on your mattress, pillows, clothing, or floor, you can use the sticky side of duct tape as a removal tool. You can also wrap the legs and rails of your bed with the sticky side of duct tape to help keep the pests away from your sleeping area.
Since the odor of most dryer sheets is repulsive to bed bugs, you can create a layer of Kryptonite by lifting your mattress and placing 8-10 sheets of dryer sheets between the box spring and mattress. Repeat the same number of sheets on the surface of your mattress before putting your sheets back on. Stash one to two dryer sheets inside of your pillowcases as well. Also, use dryer sheets by placing them throughout your dresser drawers and linen closets to protect your clothing and linens from bed bugs.
Lavender, Rosemary, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree Oil
Lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil are powerful against pesky bed bugs. Add a few drops of each oil into a cup of water. Spray this mixture onto the bugs and around your sleeping area to kill and get rid of the pests.
Dry Heat (Clothes Dryer)
Placing clothing, footwear, rugs, toys, stuffed animals, backpacks, and other non-launderable items in the dryer for a certain length of time can conveniently remove bed bugs. When an average clothes dryer is run for five minutes at low, medium or high heat, they generate temperatures of about 140, 150 and 180 degrees. It is believed that when drying a bundle of infected clothes, high temperatures are able to kill bed bugs. It is suggested to run the dryer for more than 20 minutes.
The suction wand of a strong-powered vacuum can be used to remove bed bugs and their eggs from your sleeping quarters. Don’t forget to target the seams of mattresses and box springs, along perimeters of carpets, under baseboards, and in any other spaces and crevices associated with the pests. You won’t get all bugs and eggs with a single vacuum treatment, so repeating the process a couple of times is highly recommended.
While not a definite fix, spraying rubbing alcohol where bed bugs thrive may contain the problem by killing some on contact.
Mint is another herb that bed bugs aren’t too fond of. When left around the house, it can act as a bed bug repellent. It has been said that early Native Americans used the leaves of wild mint to get rid of bed bugs by crushing the leaves and sprinkling around their sleeping areas. They also tucked mint leaves inside of the cradle board of babies and small children. Before going to sleep, they’d also rub crushed mint leaves across their skin. You can also try adding sachets of dried leaves between your mattress and in your linen closets.
**Portions of this article have been courtesy of Medical News Today.