Saturday

Quick Lavender Bed Bug Spray for You, Your Clothes and Bedding

There must be lots of people out there plagued with bed bugs. I certainly get my share of requests for information about getting rid of these pests naturally. One interesting trend I'm seeing is from people who just want to make sure that they're protected when they go to sleep at night. They're usually sleeping away from home and don't want to make a fuss. They just want to avoid getting bitten.

I'm not an advocate of spraying too much insecticide around. There's an easy herbal solution that will discourage bed bugs from biting if you're staying in a location where you can't treat the entire room or building, but you need to get a good night's sleep without making your skin a bug buffet.

Natural Lavender Bug Repellent


I like lavender as a treatment. It's safe when used in moderation and smells good to people, but bedbugs hate it. Pick up some lavender essential oil and cut it with water. Use the lavender water in the last rinse when you wash your clothes. You can also put it in your iron to steam lavender into your clothes. In a pinch, you can also use it to spritz directly onto bedding, your nightie, and the carpeting around the bed. (Be sure to pull the covers back and give sheets and blankets time to air-dry before you hop in for the night.)

Be careful to follow the manufacturer's directions for using lavender oil, and never touch the concentrated oil with your bare skin. In lieu of other instructions, try:

Quick Lavender Bedbug Spray

4 Drops of lavender essential oil
4 oz. Water

If you aren't planning on spraying the mixture right away, use distilled water and add one tablespoon of vodka to the mixture. Oh, and while you're at it, double the batch to use for multiple applications.


Other Tips to Help Repel Bed Bugs
  • You can add a few drops of lavender oil to your bath to make you skin less appealing to bedbugs. Eating lots of garlic will help too.
  • If you're staying in a hotel or dorm, make a few sachets of lavender buds and keep them under your pillow and in your luggage. Throw a little rosemary into the bags too.
  • Bedbugs don't like heat, so run your hair dryer over bedding, the headboard, and the carpeting near the bed before you go to sleep at night.
For more information about dealing with bedbugs, please take a look at my blog: Natural Bedbug Control

36 comments:

  1. Lavender will also help you sleep so a good night all round! Val

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  2. Hi Valeri,

    I really rely on lavender to help me sleep at night. I just add a couple of drops to my bath water. I also have a lavender sachet under my pillow.

    Recent studies suggest that lavender helps to slow the nervous system. It's also a natural muscle relaxer.

    Stop taking lavender if you start to exhibit symptoms like nausea or headache; you may be allergic to it.

    Cheers,

    Sara

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  3. Anonymous9:12:00 PM

    I suppose this would have an effect on fleas as well? Perhaps spray a bit on the pet?

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  4. I don't like the idea of spraying essential oils on pets. Cats particularly are sensitive to concentrated oils and can have adverse reactions. I haven't heard of any problems with lavender specifically, but never take chances.

    Thanks for asking, though.

    Sara

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  5. BedBugHater11:54:00 AM

    I found a bed bug on the floor yesterday night and went lavinder crazy!
    I love then smell and it keeps bugs away its win,win.
    Is there any other oils that will help do the same thing?

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  6. Silverfish don't like Lavender, and cockroaches don't like Bay Leaf.

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  7. Thanks! We are travelling soon so this is helpful for me.

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  8. Have a safe trip Becky!

    Sara

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  9. Anonymous12:17:00 PM

    bedbugs actually like heat, they find us by our body heat, breath ect. Now, they have found out that above 120*degrees and below 30 will kill them! I just absolutely HATE these disgusting insomnia causing bug!!!! And in Louisville KY its an epidemic. EVERYONE I know either has had them or knows a family member who has... THATS INSANE! People try moving but just take the bugs with them and then the new resident is left with the bugs as well. There has to be a fair solution that everyone can afford to terminate things pest instead of 600 exterminators. Lavender sounds great for a night or two but I wouldnt rely on it for a permanent solution.

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    Replies
    1. What about bleach would that help get rid of them

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  10. Anonymous12:15:00 PM

    I've been using a home-made insect repellant / shower spray for over a year with Lavender, Tea Tree Oil, vodka, and water. I use a *much* stronger solution than recommended above. It repels ticks, bed bugs, and most other insects. My feeling is that if you repel them long enough they will die or go away. The tea tree oil is the only natural oil that will actually disrupt the life cycle of the itch mite (which causes scabies) as tea tree oil penetrates the skin and will kill the eggs in addition to any insects that are actually on your skin. Neem *pills* will also kill the eggs but they are expensive and ingesting the pills might worry some people. I have a little spray bottle of this mixture to use as a repellant for myself and my luggage when traveling to keep bedbugs out of my suitcase & purse and to keep me bite free during the night. I have (unfortunately) tested these uses and can vouch for them personally so far. When I have time I am going to experiment with some other herbs that are a little nicer smelling than the tea tree oil.

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  11. Anonymous9:27:00 AM

    I like where I live very much for lots of reasons. But I have to move because of the bed bugs here. The landlord lies to me saying they don't have bed bugs. They pesticide rooms, saying it is some sort of other bug that the inspectors can't identify, maybe fleas, they're not sure. I think they are lying because they fear getting in trouble with the health department and because if tenants all know about the bed bugs they'll all move, and if word gets around, no one will want to stay here anyway. I moved out of one of the rooms here at this boarding house because of the bugs and to avoid the toxic pesticides they used on that room. I like the new room much better for lots of reasons, but the bugs are here, too.

    I will try the lavendar to keep from being bitten and get the bed bugs to recede from my bed for awhile, in the meantime.

    Can't afford to move, this place is the cheapest in town with the most perks and best location, don't know if I'll be hired on permanently by my temporary employer or not, have to wait til November to find out. Bad time to move right now.

    Anyway, I am so very grateful to you and your web site providing this great information. Can't erradicate the bed bugs because they're in the entire building and have evidently been here for a long time and they can't get rid of them. They are hiding the fact that they even have the bed bugs, so how can I even deal with it? The landlord only pesticides a room when a tenant complains of bugs and then tells them it's an unidentified bug, or it's fleas. They probably can't afford to pesticide the whole building, or even if they could it probably doesn't get rid of the bed bugs.

    The bed bugs vanished from my new room for several months and now are back again worse than before. They may have gone away for awhile because I was using a skin oil that had rosemary in it. Or, maybe they went away for awhile because a neighbor had her room fumigated and somehow it got rid of my bugs too, for awhile.

    Another web site claims that cinnamon oil kills and repels the bed bugs....have you heard of this? They sell a cinnamon oil spray. I didn't get it because they put a strange disclaimer paragraph at the end of the advertisement saying it probably won't get rid of the bed bugs and just drives them into the wall.

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  12. Hi,

    I'm sorry for your troubles. To keep bedbugs away from you while you sleep, try steaming your mattress and the surrounding carpet with a hand held steamer. Fill the reservoir with water and a few drops of essential oil of lavender and rosemary. (One to one and a half drops per ounce is enough. Use no more than a drop per ounce of essential oil if you have a cat.) It should help. Add lavender oil to the final rinse load for your bedding and clothing. Vacuum your bed frame, headboard, baseboards and furnishings daily.

    You'll have proof of bedbugs if you see their shed exoskeletons around where you sleep. It's evidence you can show your landlord, at least. Exoskeletons look like dried up bugs. They're small, so keep a lookout and consider investing in a magnifying glass.

    If you have an idea that bedbugs coming from a specific direction or location, you can also sprinkle diatomaceous earth in that area. Diatoms are microscopic shells that are like razorblades for insects. You can find ditomaceous earth at your garden center or pet store. Wear a respirator (mask) when applying it.

    Best of luck,

    Sara

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  13. Anonymous3:32:00 PM

    lice don't like tea tree oil

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  14. Anonymous2:09:00 PM

    Sara,

    What do you mean by "Use the lavender water in the last rinse when you wash your clothes" I have front loader, do I just add the oil to where i add tide? Thanks in advance.

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  15. Hi,

    I don't have a front loader, but there's probably an opening where you can add softener to the last rinse. That's where - and when - you'd add the lavender. Oh, and essential oil isn't actually an oil. It's a concentrated fragrance that's water soluble. No staining!

    Good luck,

    Sara

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  16. Anonymous11:00:00 PM

    It's being referenced as "oil." There is a huge difference in Lavender fragrance in a solution of alcohol and water. I have the actual OIL.

    It's the same things as aromatherapy. If you buy a liquid that is Lavender scented versus buying the actual OIL that is in a diffuser. You'll know the difference because the Lavender oil is expensive, lavender scented is much cheaper.

    My mother has a small spray bottle which she puts water and lavender oil, the real thing. And sprays her mattress before putting the sheet on, pick up the edges of the bed and sprays in there between the mattress and box spring and sprays in the general vicinity around the bed.

    I have a lotion that I put a LOT of lavender oil in it and then put it on my whole body. I found 5 red spots under my knee in the back part. They hurt. They are now red spots. I decided to check my bed and voila there they were. You wouldn't know if you just glanced. What I did was got close and stared at one spot as a focal point and then could notice the things I was not focusing on were moving. When I just looked at that part of the mattress I would have just assumed it was dirt.

    My washer is currently running with a few more loads waiting to go.
    If you think you have the or DO have them then get white or cream or pale blue so they can be seen easier.

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  17. Anonymous2:48:00 PM

    The bugs were in my sons box spring. I sprayed them with 91percent alchol and put plastic covers on them. I treated my whole house with alchol an washed everything down with soap and water. The key to bed bugs are finding them before your home gets infested with them. I washed are sheets and matteress pad every week so I believe thats how I picked up on it so fast. Im brought new plastic covers and a addictional matteress cover. No more bed bugs. I also brought lavender fabric sheet and lavender spray and beads and put down everywhere. I paid a lot of money for my funiture I can't afford to toss everything.You can really treat your home your self. You have to catch the bugs before they spread everywhere.

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  18. Anonymous2:51:00 PM

    I also got the beds steamed cleand and put duck tap around the beds and all funiture they don't like duck tape either.

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  19. Wow! Just read this, will be staying in a hostel in Pisa soon for a week or so, and although I only found around 2 comments on bedbugs out of 50, I'm not taking any chances! Thanks for the info :)
    Pats

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  20. Anonymous3:26:00 PM

    I read all your other links as well.. Thanks for the suggestions, we're definitely putting them to work! I have a question though.. Essential oils are so expensive! Can we use absolutes, hydrolates, or hydrosols instead? Would it still be effective?

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  21. Floral waters are more dilute than essential oils and therefore less powerfully concentrated. You can certainly give them a try, but they may not have the staying power of essential oils and may need to be reapplied frequently.

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  22. Anonymous4:43:00 PM

    Ok thanks. I think I found some affordable for me. One more question though.. Is there a huge different between lavender 40/42 and pure lavender oil? I'm not even sure what the 40/42 really means, but I don't want to get it if it won't be as effective.

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  23. It's a blend of lavender oils and may have additives. I don't use it, but if it's quite a bit less expensive, you might give it a try and see how it works. The complaints I've read about it deal with its aromatherapy effectiveness (which can involve subtle factors) and not its bug repelling ability.

    Good luck.

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  24. Anonymous5:16:00 PM

    Nevermind! Disregard last question. I found a French lavender essential oil that isn't much more expensive :)

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  25. Anonymous3:16:00 AM

    What I do for Bed Bugs is soak a rag in Vinegar, then apply it all over my body.

    I did it every night at first, then every other night. Now I use it every 6 days.

    Keeps me from getting Bites. I figure if I keep doing it that way, eventually

    they will all be gone. I am going to try putting a few drops of Lavendar or

    Rosemary oil in the vinegar to cut down on the odor of vinegar.

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  26. Hi, glad to find this. I just found out from one of the other tenants in my apartment complex that a few other tenants have been having issues with bed bugs, but the owners and landlords aren't telling anyone.

    For the past month I've been having issues with fleas, and have been vacuuming and using spray bottle with diluted tea tree oil. Also, have some tea tree oil shampoo. This is in addition to eating more garlic, and now I'm also adding apple cider vinegar to my diet.

    It's been somewhat effective so far. In one day I had 5 fleas, now it's one or two every couple days. Just trying to keep up with vacuuming.

    At any rate, now I hear about bed bugs and don't think I've had any of those, but worried about them migrating.

    So some questions about lavender: can I just buy the plant and have it in my apartment? Or are the essential oils better?

    Thanks!

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  27. SS

    The essential oil is more concentrated and more effective. Oh, for the fleas, try eucalyptus oil. They hate it.

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    Replies
    1. Ok, I'll try to find the essential oil. Also eucalyptus oil (probably find in the same place).

      Thanks again.

      Delete
  28. I am so glad to find your site..I found my first bedbug crawling up my leg tonight..I just moved into my new apartment one month ago..this is freaky..cuz I didnt know it was a huge bedbug till my daughters friend looked at it(I killed it right away)..I was looking on google to try and find a natural deterrent. because I didnt want to have to use harsh chemicals or sprays.because of my two young children which already have allergies and I didnt want to aggravate their allergies into asthma attacks..anyways I am expecting my new couch (fabric)in 4 weeks and a new wooden bookcase and end table next week..what would you recomend to sfae gaurd my new furniture w/ ruining it..it the first time I have had new furniture in 15 yrs...I heard my building is good at keeping bedbugs at bay..but you never know..if they spray or fumigate will that ruin my new furniture?..I also heard that bedbugs cant crawl up 'metal' frames like for my sons metal bunkbed frams..and my bed frame is also metal w. a small amount of plastic on the bottom of legs..will that keep them off out beds??..or is that just a rumour?..Worried Student/Mom who cant afford a bedbug infestation :/

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    Replies
    1. Discuss the problem with your landlord. Bedbugs can hide in and under carpet, behind baseboards and under wallpaper. They're small, and once an infestation is advanced, it can be very difficult to eradicate without the help of a pro -- and sometimes not even then. If you do eliminate bugs from your apartment, it's still no guarantee they won't migrate to you from other locations in the building.

      Bedbugs can crawl up bedframes, and I have never heard that they're deterred by metal, wood, PVC or other slick plastics. I have heard that putting diatomaceous earth around the "feet" of the bed can keep them from climbing (diatoms are like tiny razorblades for bugs). If the bedclothes drag on the floor, though, they can gain access that way. Make sure you do, indeed, have bedbugs. They don't feed every day, so not seeing them for a while isn't proof that they're gone. They usually skitter away when exposed to the light. The best way to safeguard your furniture -- especially soft surfaces like upholstered couches and chairs -- is to treat for bedbugs before your furnishings arrive. Retreat, often and inspect your belongings regularly.

      Delete
  29. I have bed bugs. sprayed the room a week later i bomb the room i put alchol over floor laminate i wiped it on furniture i put double sided tape on the things holding up bed i washed everything in hot water and than in dryer but i still see them i wipes my whole body with alchol they still bite me cant afford the pest guy he wants 250 for first room and 150 dollars for each other room in house i even.put dryer sheets inbetween mattress our bed isnt even 6 months old we ripped all the carpet out of house and they survived all of this its now October and i have been scratching since march when we brought this house think i am going to go bonkers

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  30. Use steam cleaner. First trace where they come or go back. They usually are at bed corner. Furniture wheel. Crack. Door cracks. Sofa. Pillow

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  31. Hi, I've been doing a lot of research on bed bugs (a former friend knowingly had an infestation and brought his backpack into my home, where they infested my couch). I'd like to give some accurate info and help debunk some not so accurate info please. Please keep in mind that their life and egg cycles can go a full year in dormancy or without feeding. So it is imperative to kill the eggs.

    First, if you're going to try freezing them, you need a -13F temperature for a constant four days. That means no inside/outside fluctuations. You also need to keep the humidity down. At around 30F the bugs become catatonic and enter a statis, this can be used to make them hibernate while you get the supplies you need.

    They breed at 80F temps, so make sure anything, particularly electronics, are either unplugged or have their heat vents away from where bugs breed, or are sitting on dryer sheets heavily laced with fragrance or essential oils. Hatchlings are laid at between 2 - 5 eggs PER day. Eggs are laid on wood or paper preferably, as the bugs like coarse surfaces and will create a crystalline coating of nasty orangish stuff around the eggs for a protective layer. (See Murphy's Oil Soap.) Hatchlings can be minute and impossible to detect, eggs will be about the size of rice or small apple seeds. DE and powders can make them harder to see.

    Do NOT put LED electronics outside in the cold.

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  32. Bleach isn't considered effective in getting rid of bed bugs. You can find more information here:

    http://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00336.asp

    http://easthartfordct.gov/Public_Documents/EastHartfordCT_Health/S0148E3D1-0148E496

    http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/bedbugs/documents/BedBugs_Guidelines_for_Shelters_Group_Living_Facilities.pdf

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