Table of Contents
- What are Bed Bugs
- How to Prevent Bed Bugs
- Conventional Methods of Dealing with Bed Bugs
- 29 Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally
- Use Cayenne in Building Entrances
- Apply Double Sided Tape to Travel Areas
- Use Sweet Flag Grass Herbs
- A Steam Treatment Can Kill Bed Bugs
- Bean Leaves are a Natural Bed Bug Trap
- Roast the Bugs with a Hair Dryer
- Put Plastic Bed Bug Traps
- Tea Tree Oil
- Vacuum Bugs and Eggs Up
- Use a Dryer Machine
- Use Diatomaceous Earth
- Apply Baking Soda to Nesting Areas
- Indian Lilac Herb
- Burning Bundles of Thyme
- Use a Strong Brush on Mattresses
- Encase Your Bed Mattress in a Bed Bug Cover
- Use Lavender, Rosemary, or Eucalyptus Oil
- Apply Lavender Oil to Your Skin
- Clear Up Clutter in the Bedroom
- Put Nest-Infested Items in the Freezer
- Expose Infested Items to Heat
- Use the Parasitic Fungus Beauveria Bassiana
- Put Infested Furniture Outdoors
- Lemongrass is a Helpful Bed Bug Eliminator
- Mint is a Powerful Bed Bug Repellant
- Take Your Bed Frame Apart
- Black Walnut Tea
- Ground Cloves or Clove Oil
- The Most Important Do’s and Don’ts of Bed Bug Elimination
If you have a bed bug infestation, getting rid of it is surely your top priority.
You don’t want these bloodsuckers in your home, and you surely don’t want them biting you, your children, or your pets.
In this article, you’ll find natural and safe remedies not only to destroy an infestation but also to prevent any outbreaks from occurring again so you can rid your home of bed bugs for good.
Read on for the best tips available for home remedies to save yourself from bed bugs.
What are Bed Bugs
First, you need to be certain that what you are dealing with is bed bugs, and not fleas or other biting insects.
Fleas can produce bite marks on your body similar to those of bed bugs.
The good news is that it’s easy to identify infestations once you’ve found their nest.
Bed bugs have a unique color and shape, making them easy to identify as well.
Bed bugs themselves are red in color and oval in shape.
They are very flat and have wide sides compared to their height.
They go through six growth stages, shedding their skin as they go from stage to stage.
The first five stages are the nymph stages in which they continue to grow larger after each blood meal.
The sixth growth stage is the adult stage. Once they reach that stage they can reproduce and lay eggs.
One female bed bug can lay as many as 500 eggs within her one-year lifespan, so these bugs can multiply very quickly if you don’t kill them early on.
A severe infestation can include multiple nests in one room and can involve thousands of bed bugs.
The good news is that bed bugs, once identified, are easy to kill.
The key is finding the nests and having the tools you need to kill bed bugs.
A bed bug nest is usually within a few feet of the bed where they feed.
It may be in the mattress, along with the wall, or even in a light socket or wall plug.
They tend to choose tight spaces to nest in such as between a wall and floorboards.
This can make it hard to squash them directly because they are out of reach, but this is where natural solutions can be used to eliminate them.
You can spot a nest by some telltale signs.
Blood spots near the nest from crushed bed bugs, dark splotches massed together in an area which is their waste material, and small yellow and white dots which are their eggs and shed skin, all reveal their nesting places.
Preventing bed bugs is easy once you choose to battle them.
You’ll find many tools to get rid of bed bugs here, all of which are natural and effective.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs
The only method that works to get rid of a bed bug infestation in your home is killing them and their eggs.
Every prevention method to eliminate bed bugs that have made colonies in your home involves killing them in some way.
If your home does not have an infestation but you live in a building where the threat of an infestation in your home is likely, such as an apartment complex where your neighbors have an infestation, there are ways to prevent them from coming into your home.
Both killing bed bugs and preventing an infestation are doable with natural methods.
Certain herbs and natural substances can kill, repel, or otherwise prevent bed bugs.
There are also some products on the market that do a good job of it.
Home remedies for bed bugs are a great way to kill bed bugs.
Conventional exterminators use poisonous chemicals to kill bed bugs most of the time, but they also can use treatments involving heat or cold to eliminate them.
They use other treatments as well.
Read on for information on some of those treatments.
Conventional Methods of Dealing with Bed Bugs
Some bedbug prevention methods used by professionals require you to be out of the house for a period while the treatment is applied.
These treatments usually involve your whole home, and they can include heating the entire building to over 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or filling your home with smoke to kill the bedbugs.
These treatments ensure that everywhere in your home all bugs and eggs die, but they also put your home life on hold.
In some cases, you have to be out of your home for several days until the treatment has run its course.
Other treatments involve treating only small areas around your bedroom to eliminate the nests of bedbugs.
These often require the use of chemicals that are toxic not only to the bugs but also to you.
The reality is that what kills bed bugs can also harm you.
In almost every case conventional treatments are effective, but they are costly and not natural.
Some companies provide natural treatment to rid your home of bedbugs, but if you use those services you are going to have to pay a substantial sum.
Home remedies to get rid of bed bugs can be just as effective to destroy these invaders and prevent them from coming back.
You’ll find many solutions here that use completely safe and natural treatments that are not a danger to you, your children, or your pets.
You can stay in your home while these treatments are applied.
Read on for the top home remedies to get rid of bed bugs naturally.
29 Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally
Use Cayenne in Building Entrances
It may be a surprise that cayenne kills bed bugs.
It acts as an irritant to their system.
It is an astringent, meaning that it causes the tissues of the bugs to contract, which is uncomfortable for the bugs.
It can even kill them by getting into their tissues and interfering with their bodily processes.
Cayenne pepper can form a barrier which bed bugs will not pass through.
If you need to prevent bed bugs from going from one room to another or from your apartment hallway to your home, sprinkling a thorough dusting of cayenne every 3-5 days in the entryways will go a long way toward preventing them from entering.
Apply Double Sided Tape to Travel Areas
This is an effortless but very effective way to create a barrier between you and bed bug nests at night and to kill the bed bugs (1).
The idea is to apply the tape perpendicularly to the bugs’ path of travel who leave the nest to feed on your blood.
When you wake up in the morning there will be bugs stuck to the tape that weren’t able to get to you through the night.
Smash the stuck bugs and reapply the tape from every once in a while as it will get dusty and become less effective over time.
Use Sweet Flag Grass Herbs
The smell of sweet flag turns bed bugs away well enough that they’ll leave their nests by your bed wherever you apply its oil (2).
It is useful as an insecticide.
Make a spray bottle of water and sweet flag oil, or buy it in powder form and mix it with water, and spray the nest areas and your bed with the mixture to eliminate bed bugs.
Sweet Flag is also known as Calamus so if you’re looking for products made from this herb look them up under either name.
A Steam Treatment Can Kill Bed Bugs
Steamers produce very high-temperature steam, so if you use this remedy be very careful not to burn yourself.
The same hot steam that is dangerous to you is what kills the bugs.
You can buy steamers online and use them to kill bed bugs even inside of the fabric of your bed or furniture.
The steam penetrates inside the fabric and kills bed bug eggs (3).
Never steam around electric items or wall plugs as this can be dangerous (4).
This is a much more targeted tool to use in your bed bug killing arsenal.
You’ll be able to treat only small areas at one time.
The steam is very effective at killing the eggs and bugs, but it’s more of a spot-treatment solution than one that will eliminate all of the bugs.
Bean Leaves are a Natural Bed Bug Trap
Bean leaves work to trap bed bugs through tiny hairs on the surface of the leaves that pierce the joints of the legs of the bugs.
As they struggle to get free of the trap, the hairs penetrate in further and debilitate them (5).
They work similarly to double-sided tape, but they can be more effective as the leaves are designed to trap insects, and they are very good at it.
Researchers are currently seeking to replicate the structure of the bean leaves to manufacture traps with the same properties (6).
They hope to create a low-cost and effective solution to make the ideal bed bug trap.
Roast the Bugs with a Hair Dryer
This is very useful to eliminate egg collections from nest areas as, unlike ants or termites, bed bugs don’t move their eggs around.
Just plug the hair dryer in and prop it up so that the hot air inundates the nest area, and let it work for several minutes to ensure that all of the eggs die.
This is one treatment that has no potential to cause allergy problems or adverse reactions for you.
Put Plastic Bed Bug Traps
Another straightforward solution is just to put plastic bed bug traps on the legs of your bed.
This is especially effective if you move your bed so that it doesn’t touch any walls.
The bugs will have no other avenue to you during the night other than the legs of the bed, so you’ll be sure to catch most or all of them in the traps.
Kill the bugs in the traps each morning and after a few days, you could be a long way toward eliminating the infestation.
Also, you’ll have few or no bite marks in the morning, because the bugs couldn’t reach you all night.
Bed bugs feed about once every ten days, so it could take a couple of weeks or even months for this method to eliminate the bugs.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been used for a long time for its insecticidal properties (9).
Modern-day studies have shown that there is real science backing this reputation.
Applying tea tree oil to the areas around your bed, and using a particularly potent mixture of it on any nests you’ve found, will do a lot to reduce the population of bed bugs.
Combining tea tree oil with a variety of other herbal and natural substances will pack a good punch against the infestation.
Also, tea tree oil smells good, so if you use it in your room you’ll enjoy the aroma.
Vacuum Bugs and Eggs Up
A simple solution that you may have already thought of is to simply vacuum up the bugs and eggs up and throw away the bag.
Of all of the natural solutions, this one is the most proactive way to reduce greatly the number of bugs and eggs in your home quickly, and it is a great way to get rid of bed bugs naturally.
If you do this regularly, it can be a great help.
It is imperative to destroy the used vacuum bag after a vacuuming because the bugs can crawl out later, and eggs may still hatch after they have been sucked up.
Burning the bag or throwing it away somewhere far from your home will prevent this from being a problem.
Use a Dryer Machine
This is a return back to your old ally against bed bugs, heat.
Bed bugs cannot live for long in high-temperature environments, and neither can their eggs.
Your clothes dryer is a perfect solution to the problem of infestations of bed bugs in your bedding, clothing, or pillowcases.
Run the infected item through the dryer for an hour or two, and you’ll kill the eggs and bugs that were infesting it.
Doing this every couple of days for all of your bedding eliminates the problem of eggs that are in your bed.
It could help a lot in eliminating the infestation.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth works by drying out bed bugs.
They get so dehydrated that they die when they come into contact with it (12).
Add it to the paths of bed bugs to help destroy them (13).
This is a remedy that can hit areas that you usually cannot reach to kill the bugs, like inside walls or in narrow spaces.
Be sure to use the food-grade version of this remedy as there are types of diatomaceous earth that are very harmful to human lungs.
The food-grade version is just as effective as any other kind.
Apply Baking Soda to Nesting Areas
Baking soda is another substance that is useful for killing bed bugs.
Like diatomaceous earth, it kills them by drying them out.
It can also be an effective cleaner to clear up the dark spots which are the bugs’ waste products.
Using it to clean nests gives you the benefit of both eliminating the bugs, and removing the aesthetically adverse effects of the infestation.
Like diatomaceous earth, an advantage of baking soda is that as a powder it can reach into narrow cracks that are otherwise inaccessible, and eliminate bed bugs in those areas.
Indian Lilac Herb
Also known as neem, Indian lilac is a plant with a wide assortment of uses.
Mixing concentrated neem oil with a soap solution in a spray bottle and applying it to bed bug nests and to your bed and the area around your bed will help to eliminate bed bugs.
Neem is not toxic to humans and is even used in medicine in India, so it is a safe alternative to toxic treatments or even natural treatments that may be allergens or irritants for some people.
Burning Bundles of Thyme
Thyme’s antimicrobial properties show that it has efficacy against some small pests to reduce their spread (14).
Bed bugs are very avoidant of smoke from burning thyme bundles as it irritates them, driving them away and killing some of them.
Burning bundles of thyme to ward off bugs is an old remedy that was used before the time of modern chemicals, and it is an effective way to keep bugs at bay.
Use a Strong Brush on Mattresses
The eggs of bed bugs are often attached to the mattress in an affected area.
In this case, using a very stiff and strong brush to clean the bed thoroughly can eliminate the eggs (15).
Be sure to use a stiff brush as it will crush and mangle the eggs as you are brushing so the eggs will die, rather than simply falling off of the mattress to hatch a bed bug on the floor.
Applying an herbal anti-insect mixture to the brush also makes this remedy more effective.
As you brush you will be applying the mixture to the mattress so more bed bugs will die.
Encase Your Bed Mattress in a Bed Bug Cover
In the case of an infested mattress, or if you want to prevent a mattress from being infested at all, a bed bug cover can contribute to the prevention of bed bug infestation.
By adding a bed bug cover to your mattress you eliminate a significant potential nesting area, allowing you to focus the battle against bed bugs on nesting areas away from the mattress.
Since the mattress is not a potential nesting area, you can also be sure that moving your bed away from the wall and adding bed bug traps to the legs of your bed could potentially prevent you from being bitten by bed bugs at night.
Use Lavender, Rosemary, or Eucalyptus Oil
Each of these oils is known to be effective in killing bed bugs (16).
They can reduce the population of bugs and eggs significantly and when used in combination with heat treatments, steam treatments, or other more mechanical treatments, you can go a long way toward eliminating the infestation from your home.
Apply Lavender Oil to Your Skin
If you’re getting bitten by bedbugs while you’re doing everything you can to eliminate them from your bedroom, applying lavender oil to your skin just before bedtime is effective in preventing bites during the night.
This is a bit of a stopgap solution as the bed bugs will still be nesting and living in the bedroom, but it works and allows you to sleep knowing that you’re safer at night from bites.
Clear Up Clutter in the Bedroom
Bed bugs love a cluttered room because it helps them hide their nests in the mess.
If you have a clean and organized room it is much easier to spot potential areas for nests, and you’ll be much more able to eliminate the bugs from your bedroom completely.
When you have a cluttered room and bed bugs have infested it, the unfortunate fact is that you have a lot more searching to do to find nests.
You’ll also have to treat all of the cluttered items to be sure to eliminate the infestation.
Clutter makes the bed bug elimination process much more complicated.
Put Nest-Infested Items in the Freezer
Another elegantly simple yet effective solution is to freeze things that have the worst infestation for four days in your refrigerator’s freezer (17).
They should come out free from living bugs and eggs.
It’s a good idea to put the item in a sealed plastic bag so the bugs don’t travel around in the freezer seeking warmth.
Another good tip is to turn the temperature knob all the way to the coldest setting to ensure the most effective treatment of the infested item.
This solution works for smaller items because freezers are usually too small for the larger ones, but it is effective for bedding or pillows, in particular where the inner fabric needs treatment as well as the outer layers.
Expose Infested Items to Heat
Bed bugs die in heat over 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you can’t afford professional treatment where they heat your whole home to that temperature, heating infested items in black plastic garbage bags could be the solution.
This isn’t possible in every climate, but putting the bags in your car on a hot summer day could heat them enough to kill the bugs.
As stated earlier, the clothes dryer works well for heating and killing the bugs and eggs, but if you don’t have a dryer, this is an alternative.
Use the Parasitic Fungus Beauveria Bassiana
This fungus has been used for a long time in place of pesticides on plants outdoors (18).
Recently studies have been carried out to determine if it is effective on bed bugs, and the conclusion is that it is very effective.
It takes as many as five days to kill an infected bug entirely, but the good news is that those that are infected carry the fungus back to their nest, where it spreads from infected bugs to those that are uninfected.
Using this insecticidal fungus can eliminate entire colonies because of its reproductive ability.
This is a newer way to kill bed bugs, and it looks to be very effective.
Put Infested Furniture Outdoors
It takes about four days in extreme cold to kill bed bugs, but this solution is useful in that you simply let the cold weather do the work instead of spending more time and effort on other elimination methods.
If you have a covered area or unheated outbuilding to put the furniture in, it makes this a more usable solution.
For bedding, you could put up a clothesline outdoors in frigid weather and simply hang it there for four days.
If you fear an infestation in clothing, you could do the same thing.
Lemongrass is a Helpful Bed Bug Eliminator
Lemongrass has been used for a long time in India to repel mosquitoes and other insects.
It has been shown by studies to have those insecticide properties that Indian people have recognized (19).
Preparing a liquid solution of lemongrass and spraying it wherever you want to eliminate bed bugs will kill them, and it can be used as a perimeter prevention solution to keep them from climbing up into your bed at night.
Mint is a Powerful Bed Bug Repellant
Essential oils and other extracts from plants in the same family as mint have been used across the planet by traditional peoples as a natural insect repellant and killer (20).
The same fresh, vibrant smell that we humans love causes tremendous aversion in our enemies the bed bugs.
If you make a concentrated solution from mint it can kill the bugs and eggs.
Take Your Bed Frame Apart
Because bed bugs can crawl into the tiniest spaces, your bed frame is a potential nesting spot for them.
Most bed frames are disassemblable, and so if you grab your screwdriver and take yours apart, you may find signs of nesting on the inner surfaces.
Whether you do or do not find nests, it’s a good idea to treat the inner surfaces with anti-insect substances to prevent nests in the future.
Taking the bed frame apart is a somewhat difficult job, so if you treat it during this process you won’t have to worry about doing it again at a later time.
Black Walnut Tea
The tea of black walnuts contains a substance called juglone which has powerful insecticide effectiveness against bed bugs (21).
Spraying black walnut tea around areas with bed bugs will drive them out of the nooks and crannies and kill them along the way.
The tea comes from the husk of the black walnut fruit which may not be available to most people.
Because of this, buying black walnut tea online is the best way to get a source of juglone.
Ground Cloves or Clove Oil
Cloves are an extremely potent herb, as is evident by their overpowering smell.
It is a very powerful insect repellent that can be applied in a diluted form to your body to prevent the bugs from biting you.
Applied to nesting areas it can kill and drive the bugs away.
It is also beneficial as a repellent around your entryways to prevent bed bugs from entering your home from other rooms.
Pyrethrum is a very effective insecticide that comes from the flowers of the chrysanthemum plant (22).
It works by invading the insects’ nervous system and killing them.
In smaller doses, it is a repellent, while in larger doses it is lethal to insects.
While it comes from a natural source, it is also dangerous to your health if you come into contact with it, so do not apply it to your body or bedding.
It is best applied directly to nests of bed bugs as it will quickly kill them.
The Most Important Do’s and Don’ts of Bed Bug Elimination
- Don’t use a bug bomb to eliminate them. It will only make them spread through your whole house.
- Don’t change to another sleeping area. The bed bugs will only hatch and infest the new space too.
- Don’t throw your bed away. You can eliminate bed bugs from your bed without having to go to the expense of buying a new bed. If you can’t eliminate the bed bugs they would only infest your new bed.
- Do a thorough job of eliminating the bed bugs. It’s better to do too much than to do too little, as they can come back if you miss a few eggs or let an adult bed bug live.
- Do be very careful when using the more potent natural solutions to kill bed bugs as they could be harmful to pets or your children.
With these treatments, you should be able to eliminate your bed bug problem.
They are easier to eliminate than many pests, but having an infestation of bed bugs can be very troubling as you lose sleep and are bitten by them every night.
Now that you know how to get rid of bed bugs naturally with these home remedies for bed bugs, you can purchase many of them at a low cost compared to using professionals.
Some of these solutions are more about what you can do than what you can buy to solve your bed bug problem.
If you are vigilant about totally eradicating them from your home you can significantly reduce and eliminate the problem that bed bugs cause.
Once you’ve eliminated them you may still have a threat in homes like apartment buildings where other residents have them.
In this case using repellents and bug killers near your entryway is a good way to keep the threat at bay.
In the long run, you can protect yourself from bed bugs.
Having a comfortable home that is bed-bug-free is worth the effort.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ARTICLE?