Do Natural Bed Bug Treatments Actually Work? | Killingsworth
  1. Do Natural Bed Bug Treatments Actually Work?

FEBRUARY 01 2022 /

Do Natural Bed Bug Treatments Actually Work?

Why Natural Bed Bug Treatments Don’t Work & What To Do Instead

If you know us, then you know how we feel about bed bugs. These tiny pests can infest your home or business quickly, leaving you with a big problem on your hands! And while bed bugs are visible (contrary to popular belief), they typically go unnoticed until they’ve colonized. If you are experiencing unexplained bites — especially at night — smelling a musty pest odor, or noticing dark stains on your mattress or around your home, chances are you have a bed bug infestation. Although many resources on the internet make it seem as if natural bed bug treatments are enough to eliminate infestations, this is actually not true, as bed bugs are very difficult to treat. To put it simply, bed bugs can easily outsmart these feeble attempts at doing your own natural pest control. In this case, it’s in your best interest to contact your local pest removal expert rather than attempting to treat the problem yourself. In this blog, we are going over the most common forms of DIY bed bug treatments, why they don’t work, and what to do with those ingredients instead. We’ll also discuss our highly-specialized bed bug treatment — a significantly more effective answer than natural bed bug treatments.

Debunking Common Natural Bed Bug Treatments

The internet has a lot of these DIY bed bug treatment tips that may seem like they work, but be cautious of what you read. In most circumstances, these “solutions” are not capable of killing bed bugs, and will instead force them to temporarily retreat to other areas of your home. Once bed bugs go into hiding, they can stay out of view for up to one year! Just because it seems like the bed bugs are gone, you can’t assume they have been eradicated. During that time, they continually reproduce and the infestation becomes worse — and they always come back as soon as you stop applying whatever treatment you tried.  So let’s debunk the most common top natural/homemade/DIY pest control tips and prove why they don’t work!

1. Cayenne Pepper

The internet says that cayenne pepper can kill bed bugs, but this is simply not true. There are resources stating that the pepper’s antimicrobial properties are extremely irritating to pests. Presumably, the bed bugs will be eliminated with the mere application of cayenne pepper. Recommendations with using this ingredient may include crushing up the peppers and sprinkling the powder into the different areas of your home. Or, adding the cayenne powder to a spray bottle with water and spraying where needed.  There are many reasons why this method won’t work. First and foremost, the amount of cayenne pepper needed to eliminate a bed bug infestation in your home would be inconceivable. Which is why we recommend skipping this method to prevent issues like red staining and accidental ingestion by children and pets. Instead, save the cayenne for when you’re cooking up some spicy dishes!

2. Diatomaceous Earth

Using Diatomaceous Earth is one of the most popular homemade pest solutions out there. DE is a powder consisting of fossilized phytoplankton. Under a microscope you can see that the powder’s particles have sharp angles, providing a laundry list of supposed benefits. DE is said to kill bed bugs by cutting through their exoskeleton and slowly dehydrating them. It may be tempting to use, but you should avoid sprinkling this substance throughout your home, especially if you have pets or children. DE’s sharp texture can cause damage to the lungs if inhaled. In fact, we don’t allow our own team of K-9’s to come into contact with it.  The end result? It doesn’t remove bed bugs!

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is thought of as an easy way to prevent bed bugs before an infestation occurs. As with these other natural bed bug treatments, baking soda will not kill nor prevent bed bugs. Thinking out loud — perhaps a thick layer of paste made with water could work by suffocating them, but similar to cayenne pepper, you would need to use an unfathomable amount to get the job done. Every single crevice, piece of furniture, corner of your home, etc. would need to be fully coated in paste. And that’s even if it works!  Like we said, this homemade treatment is not worth even trying. As an alternative, keep the box of baking soda in the fridge to clear up any odors. 

4. Clove Oil

Essential oils are also said to be an organic and safe way to deter pests — bed bugs included. Clove oil is assumed to have insect repelling properties due to its highly acidic pH levels and pungent smell. These factors may drive bed bugs to a new location, but they will not completely remove them from your home.  Instead, use clove oil for baking and aromatherapy to make it smell like the holidays all year-round! 

5. Tea Tree Oil

While tea tree oil smells incredible, there’s zero chance it will get rid of bed bugs for you. Due to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil is better used as a homemade cleaner than an effective pest deterrent. Unfortunately, no matter how much you apply to a bed bug’s favorite areas (think fabrics or textiles), this essential oil won’t do much in terms of getting rid of them. If anything, they will move to a new location in your home to avoid the smell which only makes the problem worse.  Related: Insects in Charlotte, NC: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

6. Fresh Thyme or Essential Oil

Thyme also won’t effectively eliminate bed bugs, or any pest for that matter.  The most creative at-home tip we’ve seen is to wrap a stick of thyme in a cotton cloth and burn it. In theory, the fumes from the thyme should disturb the bed bugs and discourage them from calling your home, their home. Some homeowners put thyme leaves in a net bag and hang them throughout the home, but that will likely do nothing but add a pleasant aroma.  This delicious-smelling herb won’t do much against bed bugs. However, it does make an excellent aromatic to elevate your dishes when cooking. 

7. Essential Oil Spray

If you keep essential oils around your home, you probably have household favorites such as rosemary, lavender, and eucalyptus. There’s millions of DIY recipes out there advertising how to create custom bed bug deterrent spray! These oils blends make excellent carpet and air fresheners, but again, they are futile against the war on bed bugs.

8. Bean Leaves

Interestingly, there’s a rumor circulating that if you have an excess amount of kidney bean leaves — and a good chunk of time on your hands — you can use a brewed tea to eliminate bed bugs completely.  The trichomes (microscopic hairs) on kidney bean leaves are said to penetrate the legs of bed bugs and trap them, preventing them from moving and spreading. This isn’t necessarily true and can be quite a time consuming process. Like many of these purported solutions, you would need to cover most of the surfaces in your home with bean tea. 

Our Professional Bed Bug Treatment 

We know just how quickly a bed bug colony can spread, which is why we’ve developed and perfected our three-step bed bug treatment process. 

Step 1: Bed Bug K-9 Protection 

We have trained our team of K-9s to detect bed bugs quickly and accurately. In fact, humans are only 30 percent effective at locating bed bugs. Our K-9’s, on the other hand, are 98 percent effective at detecting these pests. Bed bugs can’t hide from our canine pest experts. 

Step 2: Thermal Remediation

Bed bugs can’t survive extreme heat, which is exactly how we get rid of them (and why natural bed bug treatments don’t work). Using thermal extermination, we heat bed bug infested areas to 135 degrees — the ideal temperature for bed bug elimination. Any hotter and you may damage your household items, which is why it’s crucial to leave bed bug treatment to the professionals. 

Step 3: A Second Visit From Our K-9 Team

Once thermal remediation has been completed, we bring our skilled K-9s back to make sure bed bugs are gone — and gone for good!  Bear in mind, the only sure-fire way to eliminate bed bugs is with professional help.

How to Eliminate Bed Bugs

When DIY doesn’t work, eliminate bed bugs with Killingsworth! We understand that these natural methods may seem easier, more cost-effective, and more natural to use, but if they don’t work then you’re actually setting yourself up for a headache down the road.  If you’re dealing with bed bugs, don’t wait to reach out. Schedule an inspection with our team (both two- and four-legged) to get started on the elimination process. We’ve seen many clients attempt to get rid of infestations by using natural bed bug treatments first. Unfortunately, these methods can actually make our job harder as the pests retreat into walls and other hard-to-reach areas where they continue to breed and multiply. This is why it’s crucial to eliminate bed bugs using thermal extermination methods as soon as you spot one in your home!  To get in touch with someone from our team, click the button below to schedule bed bug extermination services. 
This post was originally published in July 2019 and was updated in November 2020.