These are pestering bugs which feed off our blood. Bed bugs can be killed with many bug killing substances and chemicals. However, they can be costly and certainly not environment friendly. Many of them contain chemicals which are toxic to humans or pets. So, one can make use of simple home remedies to trap or kill bed bugs or drive them away.
Bed bugs seem so innocent when you see one of them crawling away. They are so small and seem harmless, except for their bites. However, if you happen to see their magnified image using a microscope, they look so monstrous. Bed bugs are notorious creatures. They actually feed on our blood, which is disgusting and unhealthy. Bug extermination teams take a lot of money, and perhaps that is the last resort. There are numerous natural techniques to completely get rid of bed bugs. Lets fight those bugs back.
The signs of bed bugs can be seen through their bites on the skin. These bites are red, slightly inflamed but very itchy. They tend to be in a straight line. Too many bed bites may also lead to a more severe inflammation.
( Photo Courtesy: andreanna )
Home remedies for bed bugs ( to kill them naturally or drive them away )
1. Heat clothes in a dryer
This is the easiest way to kill bed bugs that cling to sheets, covers and mattresses. If there is some upholstery which can be washed or dried, then one can heat treat it too. Bed bugs can’t tolerate heat treatment and the eggs also get destroyed. After washing, always iron the sheets. It makes sure that the bed bug eggs are killed.
What is the minimum cutoff temperature at which bed bugs are completely killed ?
Well, the temperature should be minimum 120 degrees F. So, set your dryer at 120 F and let it stay for 4 hours. Large cloth items, furniture and upholstery can be heated in sunlight, if it is warm enough. It should take many days sitting in the sun for it to work, about 4 days. After that time, inspect the items for signs of bed bugs, their eggs and their fecal matter. When you are convinced that bed bugs have gone, take the items back in.
2. Lavender flowers and lavender oil
Lavender is a nice insect repellent with a wonderful smell that most of us like. Lavender flowers can be kept near the bedside. While washing all the clothes and items in the house, use lavender oil in the water used for cleaning. It leaves a residue of lavender scent on the clothes. This smell can go on for 3 to 4 days and repel bed bugs. Although, it won’t kill them. Place lavender flowers or lavender scented oil near crevices and other warm and humid areas of the house, cause that is where they thrive. This drives the bed bugs out from those places and also keeps them away from beds and furniture.
3. Other essential oils
Eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil can also be used to repel these insects, just like lavender oil. They are not as effective, but they work too. 
- How to use essential oil against bed bugs ?
Use essential oil wherever you can use. Put them in your bathwater, in the cloth washing water, floor cleaning water and wall cleaning spray. It takes care of bed bugs everywhere. When the bugs are gone, one should inspect the entire house and clean all the bug eggs and litter using vacuum.
4. Citronella oil ( The best insect repellant )
It is a popular insect repellent which is effective at driving away the bed bugs. Try this on the clothes and spray it in different crevices and other locations of the house. It might make the bed bugs to move out without a fight.
Citronella essential oil
- Directions / How to use
Add 10 drops of citronella essential oil to a big bowl of water. Then boil this water to produce essential oil steam. Then spray this steam over bed covers, underside of the bed, crevices of the house, in the kitchen and in all other places which are prone to humidity and mid heat.
- Why it works ?
Citronella oil serves to bring bed bugs out from their hiding. The medium steam is effective at killing the bugs. So, remember that citronella oil doesn’t kill the critters, but the steam does. Use citronella candles afterwards to keep the bed bugs off.
5. Vacuum cleaning ( This eliminates more than 90 % bed bugs in one go )
Aggressively clean every location in the house with a vacuum cleaner. The high suction force will take in all the bed bugs. But, do not just dispose the bag close by. They can return back to the house. Instead dispose them of in a far off location. A single vacuuming event takes out more than 90 % of bed bugs and eggs. If you dismantle furniture components , place them in sun and then vacuum clean them, it can take out almost 100 % of the bed bugs. So, if you want to be efficient at vacuuming, then dismantle the furniture and covers and then do it. It is a simple yet highly effective way to get rid of bed bugs. Then use a natural insect repellant to keep them away, like citronella.
Make lather from soap and apply it on the bed and in places where bugs may reside. This can eliminate the bed bugs quickly. Make a rich, smooth lather and apply it thickly on the bed and fill it in crevices and nooks. Within a few minutes, you can see bed bugs and other insects crawl out and even die. This may not look good but it works.
7. Diatomaceous Earth
This is a wonderful earth material for getting rid of most insects and pests, like fleas and bed bugs. You can easily get food grade diatomaceous earth at a nearby store.
Diatomaceous Earth (food grade ) (DE )
- Directions / How to use
DE is kind of like powder or talc. Just spray it on your bed, floor, crevices and other areas where you suspect bed bugs may be present. Make sure you have cleaned those places first and dried them up. This way DE can flow around. Let it stay for 2 – 3 days.
- Why it works ?
Bed bugs begin their activity in the night time. When they move around, doing their errands, they get trapped in DE. Diatomaceous earth has fine crystals which tear apart the bugs. Seems so frightening for them, but great for us. They die in their tracks. After 3 days, broom up the entire house or better still, vacuum it and the bed bugs are gone.
8. Cold weather
If the weather is cold, then allow natural cool breeze to flow in the house. Then, use fans to direct this cool air to bed bug infested areas. They can’t stand the high velocity flow of a cooler air which they are unable to bear. Bed bugs have to move away. This way, one can force them out of the house. If the temperature of air is on or below freezing ( 0 degree C or 32 degree F ), then this air itself can kill the bed bugs. However, this is not a viable option as it takes about 3 – 4 days to kill all the bed bugs. Some sources however suggest that bed bugs are much more resistant and can withstand well below freezing temperatures. 
9. Kidney bean leaves
The leaves of kidney bean plant have fine pointed hair which pierce and may even kill bed bugs. These leaves can be sprayed in their path to stop them in their tracks.Kidney bean leaves have been identified in recent studies to be highly effective in killing bed bugs. Just spray kidney bean leaves all along the house, as it is quite inexpensive. Then wait for 2 days and most of the bed bugs should be killed by now. All you have left to do is to clean the house off bed bug eggs and their wastes.
10. Garlic juice spray
In a spray bottle, fill water with little garlic juice. Spray it all around the house. This home remedy forces bed bugs to leave their hiding and flee out. Wait for 2 hours and then start mopping them up with vacuum cleaner. Garlic has a disgusting smell, but it works against bed bugs.
11. Spray Some Cinnamon
It has been noted by some people that using cinnamon as powder keeps bed bugs away. Spray it in your mattress seams and bed bugs wouldn’t come to the bed. This works instantaneously, so you can get a good night’s sleep today itself, no matter how badly infested your house or apartment is. Using these home remedies, one can easily get rid of bed bugs and keep them away using natural repellents.
12. Silica Gel Crystals
This is a nice and cost effective home remedy for bed bugs. Get some silica gel packets. Open them up and crush them finer. Then place these inside corners and crevices of the house or apartment. Silica gel sticks to their bodies and dehydrates them to death.
12. Be the Exterminator yourself
When things go out of control, and bed bugs come by large numbers, it is time to take matters in your hands and show them who is the boss. This bed bugs treatment is 100 % effective, as it is you who is doing it.
- You will need
Wood treatment material – polish
- Directions / How to use
Do not disturb the setting in your room or apartment , just dismantle the bed and the sofa. At about 12 in the night, get ready with your mission. Do not switch on the lights, just switch on night lamps so that you can at least move about without hitting something.Start with one end of the house and move inwards. Inspect wooden items, cloths and potentially areas where a bug can hide with enough humidity for it to stay healthy. Use your flashlight to look up the bugs. They look like apple seed, slightly swollen and reddish. They have wings but cannot fly. Look for their eggs, which are off white to grey in color. The young bugs are lighter brown in color. You can also find brownish colored fecal deposits of bed bugs, which is a sign of bugs nearby. Search vigorously. Stir up fine spaces with a thin broom. This drags them out and you can suck them in using vacuum cleaner.Most important places to look are mattress seams, fabric seams, curtains ( use stick to strike them ) , crevices, underside of furniture, cracks in drywall and molding. Once you have detected and killed bed bugs, treat the wooden elements with a wood polish. It is designed to keep bed bugs and insects away.
This operation takes about 2 hours if you do swiftly, but with this, you kill all bed bugs. Once you learn to spot bed bugs out, it becomes child’s play to kill them.
13. Your Dog Will Sniff Them Out
If you have a pet dog, then he or she can be trained to sniff out bed bugs hiding spots. Bed bugs leave a characteristic smell which is somewhat like rotting fruit, especially raspberries. Dogs are excellent at remembering a smell and finding out other places which smell the same. This is how it can be accomplished. Take your dog to a place where there are enough bed bugs, like on the bed. Point them to the dog and ask him or her to smell it. Then, keeping him or her tied, move about the house. Ask the dog to sniff walls, corners and crevices. With some practice, the dog would do it and identify places infested with bugs. You give him or her a reward, like a bone or chicken leg and then vacuum up those places. If after repeated training, you dog doesn’t learn, call a specialist dog. There are teams who keep such trained dogs who are able to sniff out almost any given smell.
As a last option, you can call an bed bug extermination squad. Ask them what chemicals they will use and ask for their safety chart. Chemicals are highly toxic, so make sure they are approved by a regulatory agency, like EPA.
How to stay away from bed bugs all the time ?
Well, you can bust the bed bugs every once in a while, but they can keep coming back. It is important to know where do they come from. Bed bugs almost always come from two things – luggage or clothes. So, if you have been out, bed bugs can cling to your clothes or luggage and then they enter the house. They can also come from parcels or shipment that you get or buy online. So, you need to inspect your clothes and whatever new comes into the house. This keeps the bed bugs away.
Home remedies for bed bug bites.
These pests bite us and feed on our blood. This triggers an inflammatory response by the immune system and the area swells up as a bite. Bed bugs bites are not painful but very itchy. To relieve the itching, try these home remedies.
1. Wash Them In ACV
Apple Cider Vinegar is a simple remedy that works on bed bug bites. And it is pretty safe. Dilute ACV in bathtub and immerse yourself in it. Cool water feels better.
2. Use a Banana Peel
The inside of a banana peel should be held close to the bites for 5 minutes. This alleviates the itching.
You can also use the following things on bed bug bites –
- Aloe Vera
- Shea Butter
- Lemon Juice
- Baking Soda
Some people may have an allergy to bed bugs and in them, these bites would look more inflamed, swollen and more itchy. In that case, it should be evaluated by a doctor.
1. Ability of essential oil candles to repel biting insects in high and low biting pressure environments.Müller GC, Junnila A, Kravchenko VD, Revay EE, Butler J, Orlova OB, Weiss RW, Schlein Y
2. Cold tolerance of bed bugs and practical recommendations for control.Olson JF, Eaton M2, Kells SA2, Morin V3, Wang C