A few years back, on a long weekend, I was extremely bored and there was literally no one around to spend time with. I was tired of binge-watching for more than 12 hours and stepping out alone was equally boring. I decided to get rid of this monotony and called up a friend a few miles away. She was in a similar state and we decide to call up the other girls in the city for a crazy pyjama-party.
How exciting does this sound? You meet your old friends on what was a long boring weekend and not only do you guys plan to party together but a girl’s night out together. After ages, this is definitely bliss. We decided to meet over at a friend’s place and spend the rest of the weekend there.
All geared up we went to her house which was about 4 hours away from our place. The weekend was unexpectedly thrilling and we enjoyed ourselves like crazy throughout the day. By 2:00 am a few of us started to fall asleep. That’s when I hit the bed too. Within an hour we all were running all over the room for ointments. Apparently, the bed was loaded (read extremely loaded) with bed bugs. I kid you not, for that entire weekend (which lasted for more than 48 hours) none of us fell asleep. The bed bugs were torturing us every time we tried to get rid of them and they literally sucked blood every single minute.
Chances are, you too must have heard of someone using professional pest control services to eradicate bed bugs from their mattress. It has become a common problem these days and since 2000, there has been an increase of 81% in the calls to pest control companies.
A recently published piece by the USA today showcase the top 50 cities of America that are prone to an attack by these blood sucking creatures. You can read the entire article and find out if your city is crawling with bed bugs.
Moving on, if you have been in a similar situation or have bed bugs in your mattresses already, you definitely need to read this piece. I repeat – definitely.
That night out taught me two things –
a) Bed bugs can be anywhere: On your sofa, your bed, your friend’s bed, your hotel room, hostel – literally, anywhere.
b) I needed a permanent solution to get rid of bedbugs. I never carried them back with me to my place and to make sure I got to sleep.
There is a whole host of man-made pesticides that you could use or hire someone to use. However, these can easily damage your upholstery, clothes, sheets, and even be harmful to your own health. What I needed was to find an all natural way of getting rid of these pesky pests. That’s when I stumbled upon the best essential oils for bed bugs.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny domestic vampires living in the headboard or in the mattress of your bed. These parasitic creatures feed on your blood and can leave reddish, itchy, painful blisters on your skin. These nocturnal little organisms come out only when the lights go off and a person is most vulnerable. And don’t let their size mislead you. They are extremely fast. It is difficult to find them on your mattress for the first few hours or maybe even days. Plus, they are hardy creatures and not all types of chemicals or pest control sprays work on them. And a crazy fact — they can live without food for over a year.
How and why do they crawl into your mattress?
Bed bugs love to travel from one place to the other. No matter how dirty your bed or mattress is, a bed bug can only get in when it has managed to hide in your travel bags, suitcases, clothes, or any other item that you have recently added to your home. They are not a result of microbial infestation and multiply at a fast pace.
Typically, bed bugs hide in areas from where they can easily attack their prey and if needed, they can quickly hide away. Such spots in your house may include, but will not be limited to, clothing rack, closet, laundry basket, bedding, curtains, luggage, gym bags, backpacks, handbags, rugs, carpets, coffee tables, and couches.
How can you prevent bed bugs from nesting in your bed?
Rule #1: Bed bugs can’t stand temperature rise
We’re not kidding. This is one of the best and most effective strategies for the removal of bed bugs. The best way to try this technique is by using a dry steam over your couch, beds, pillows, mattress, carpets, rugs, curtains, etc. Make it difficult for the bugs to look for a colder place to hide.
Rule #2: Always wash your travel gears and other upholstery that you think is infested with hot water
Yet another way to kill all the microbes, dust mites, and bed bugs is to wash the upholstery, travel bags, bed sheets, pillows and pillow covers in hot water. This will kill all sorts of germs and pests in and around your bedding.
Rule #3: Use a vacuum cleaner
Yes, this magical device not only sucks the dirt off your rug but can suck in those tiny vampires too. Use a vacuum cleaner regularly to keep your living space clean and make sure that those little parasites don’t have an opportunity to start building their nests.
Rule #4: Let the sun shine in your room
If you have access to a huge window and can manage a lot of sun in your room, then, let this technique come to use. Sunlight creates an uncomfortable environment for bugs to survive on the mattress, rugs or carpets and other such upholstered furniture. Let there be enough airflow and enough warmth in the room to convince them to leave. The heat can help reduce moisture in the bedding – the prime reason why it acts as a breeding ground for bugs and mites.
Rule #5: Use essential oils
Yes. They are natural, safe, effective and affordable. If used correctly, they won’t harm your health unlike the pesticides nor will they spoil your linen. The reason that these essential oils are so effective is because
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular essential oils for bed bugs.
Best essential oils for bed bugs:
1. Tea tree essential oil for bed bugs
From fighting acne to treating head lice, tea tree oil has been a popular pick among many of us looking for an essential oil for bed bugs. You might already know that the oil is a strong insect repellent and microbe killer, making it one of the best essential oils for bed bugs. The oil can also be used to disinfect your house.
To get rid of bed bugs using tea tree essential oil, you need a spray bottle, a few ounces of lukewarm water and a 100% pure tea tree oil. Mix all of these together and spritz it over your linen, curtains, couch, carpets and rugs. The bed bugs should start running away in minutes thanks to its potent smell.
Alternatively, you can add a few drops of the oil to your laundry. It will smell fresh and keep infections and bugs at bay.
2. Lavender essential oil for bed bugs
Oh, this oil smells heavenly. Spritz a few drops all around your bed and let the aroma linger in the air. The bugs will leave your comfort space and the aroma will let you sleep peacefully. In Southern France, the oil has been used to keep scorpions away — I’m sure it will definitely wipe off these bugs off. The oil is believed to be effective against the eggs too.
3. Lemon essential oil for bed bugs
The fragrance of lemon essential oil is invigorating. A strong antiseptic, antimicrobial natural agent, the essential oil of lemon is another great essential oil for killing bed bugs that also gives your home a fresh scent.
Mix a few drops with your laundry or dilute with water to spray all around your bed or anywhere in your house. Just let the oil work its magic.
4. Peppermint essential oil for bed bugs
The essential oil of peppermint is revered for its antimicrobial and insect-repelling properties. From killing bed bugs to removing all other types of organisms like spiders and rats, peppermint essential oil can help you fight them all. The oil will keep all sorts of insects at bay and can be used with other essential oils.
However, always remember it is a potent oil and should not be directly applied to the skin or used in a child’s bedroom.
5. Eucalyptus essential oil for bed bugs
Eucalyptus is a popular oil among essential oil users and is revered for its holistic healing properties and energizing scent. It is effective in killing the bugs and their eggs due to its antiseptic properties. Spray a few drops all over your bedding and in the surrounding areas.
6. Clove essential oil for bed bugs
This pungent smelling essential oil can be overpowering for the pests. It is acidic in nature and is just the right pick for these bugs. Just make sure, you can stand the smell in case you have to spray too much of it.
7. Lemongrass essential oil for bed bugs
Another highly acidic oil that bed bugs just can’t stand is the lemongrass oil. It can destroy their eggs, prevent them from breeding and oh, the aroma will just please your senses.
Note: Too strong to be directly applied on the skin. Be cautious while using when children are around.
8. Neem essential oil for bed bugs
Neem oil has been used for thousands of years in India as a natural pesticide. The tree alone acts as a deterrent for mosquitoes and flies. If you cold press the oil from its leaves, you have yourself an all-natural bed bug killer. It may not have the most pleasant aroma, but it is arguably the most effective essential oil for killing bed bugs.
However, like lemongrass and peppermint, neem essential oil is not to be used on the skin without first diluting it in a carrier oil or water.
What should you NOT do when you find bed bugs in your house?
Having learned the interesting hacks on shooing bed bugs away, I am sure you will soon be free of these irritating parasites. However, here are a few important points for you to know before you plan on taking charge of your house to steer the bugs away so that you don’t mess things up instead:
a) Do not use pesticide spray all over your mattress, rugs, carpets or elsewhere and expect it to eradicate the bugs. The bed bugs are generally resistant to such sprays and the action can spoil your linen and leave the irritating odor of the spray behind which might linger for days.
b) Always use dry steam when trying the heat technique. Water would just act as a spoiler and when it turns cool, starts providing moisture to the environment thus, converting the bug spot into their breeding ground.
c) Do not use strong essential oils like tea tree in your child’s room.
d) Always keep the living space clean. Remove all sorts of clutter from the room and ensure you don’t give them place to hide or breed.
e) Do not just rely on essential oils. Seek professional help, especially if you or someone in your household is allergic to bed bugs. While essential oils are strong insect repellents, you can hardly manage to get rid of the bugs if there are too many. In such cases, do not try the home remedies and quickly resort to professional help.
Once the bugs are killed and leave your house, use can spritz essential oils once in a week to ensure they never return.
f) Before using any of the essential oils, make sure neither you nor your family members are allergic to the oil you are using.
g) Always use the purest form of essential oil to fight these bugs. A diluted oil might not be as effective. If you are planning on using these oils on your hair or skin, however, you should always make sure that the oil is diluted either in a carrier oil, another product like shampoo, or with water.
I hope this blog turned out to be of some great help to you. Look forward to your comments below after you have tried one of these remedies. Also, if you know of better hacks, do share them with us and our readers.
Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite! 😉