Bed bugs are nasty, and they seem to be everywhere. I've published some herbal spray solution recipes that will help discourage bedbugs from biting. There are also some maintenance solutions that will help control light infestations.
Bed Bugs Natural Remedies
A heavy infestation of bed bugs will almost always require chemical treatment, either with an over-the-counter pesticide spray or with the help of a pest control professional. If you think you have bed bugs:
Make sure - Red welts on your arms and legs could be from fleas or mosquitos, too. Bedbugs are round, about a quarter of an inch wide and reddish brown. They hide in cracks, like the space between the cording and the seam of your mattress. They molt and shed exoskeletons that look like tiny desiccated bugs. You'll see these shed skins around your bed, or on the underside or behind your bedside furniture. Their droppings are about the size of a period - . - and you may detect them on your sheets, blankets or mattress. They sometime hide under the furniture near where you sleep. Check the back of your headboard, under the bedside table and along the bed frame.
If you do see bedbugs, remove and wash your bedding in the hottest water possible. Bed bugs and their eggs die at a temperature of 113 Degrees F maintained for an hour. Higher temperatures will kill them faster. It's also a good idea to wash nearby area rugs and draperies. Bedbugs congregate within a few feet of a good meal -- you. That will be ground zero for an infestation. The good news is that you can easily clean your bedding. The bad news is that bed bugs can hide behind wallpaper and inside your electrical outlets. They can fit into a space as thin as a credit card. That's one of the reasons it's sooo hard to get rid of them.
Clean your mattress by vacuuming it thoroughly and steam cleaning it with a handheld steamer.
Vacuum - After you've cleaned and debugged your textiles and mattress, tackle the carpet. Vacuum thoroughly. This means moving the furniture around to get behind and under things. After you vacuum, dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag -- outdoors. You don't want to infect another area of your home. You can apply an insecticide to your carpeting, spray an herbal preparation, use steam (some steam cleaners are too hot for synthetic carpet), or try an irritant, like diatomaceous earth, also known as Silicon dioxide. This powder is naturally occurring and bed bugs hate it. (You'll need to wear a respirator when you use diatomaceous earth.)
Expel and Repel - While you're dealing with the problem, using herbal sprays, like essential oil of lavender and essential oil of rosemary, will help repel bed bugs. Add 20 drops of lavender essential oil to the final rinse when you wash your sheets, blankets and nightwear. This will help keep bed bugs from biting until you eradicate them. Placing lavender flower buds in a sachet bag under your mattress and pillow will help too.
You can also add lavender flower bud sachets to your luggage to discourage bed bugs when you travel.
Clean your car -While you're treating the problem indoors, don't forget your car. Vacuum your car thoroughly and treat it with an herbal preparation or insecticide. You should treat your handbag and coats with an herbal spray to make them less attractive to bed bug freeloaders when you're out in public. Bed bugs aren't just hanging out in hotels. They're in restaurants, department store dressing rooms, movie theaters, busses and anywhere else people spend time. The more you can do to make yourself unattractive to them, the less likely it is that you'll inadvertently bring a few of these insect invaders home.
Don't wait - If you already have a problem with bed bugs, deal with it today. The longer you wait, the worse it will get, and the problem won't go away by itself. Bed bugs can live up to a year without feeding. You can't starve them out, and once they're entrenched in your rooms, they'll become a problem that even the pros may have trouble dealing with.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a list of over 300 products that are effective in treating bed bugs. They also have some easy guidelines you might want to review: EPAs Bed Bug Page
Repel them with dryer sheets - This one is definitely a home remedy, but there are folks who swear by it. Apparently bedbugs dislike the smell of fresh dryer sheets. Use them liberally when drying your bedding, and consider tying them on the legs of your bed's frame to keeping them from accessing your bed that way.
Other blog posts and articles about bed bugs you might like:
- Natural Bed Bug Control
- How to Combat Bed Bugs
- Quick Lavender Bed Bug Spray
- Beware of Bed Bugs in Books