Bed bugs are small, oval, and flightless parasitic insects that live on feeding the blood of warm-blooded animals. They can move quickly and hide undetected in your bed, mattresses, furniture, luggage, and even clothes.
These tiny pests are mainly active at night and bite humans when they are asleep. The bedbug bites can be very itchy and leave a red spot around the body. If they are not terminated promptly, they can travel your whole house from one room to another. Additionally, female bed bugs can lay 200-250 eggs in their lifetime, and it takes only 7-10 days to hatch.
Hiring a professional can be expensive, and they use chemical-based treatments to eradicate bed bugs. If you do not want to deal with chemicals, lower your expenses. There are methods you can use by making use of things that are easily available in your house.
Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?
Even though bed bugs can travel from one location to another via luggage and clothing, they are not contagious. However, its bite can cause red and swollen marks that are extremely itchy. In the worst-case scenario, the bite can cause a severe allergic reaction and skin infection, necessitating immediate medical attention.
Due to the possibility of sleep deprivation caused by the bed bugs, which can be a nuisance at night, anxiety and despair may result.
Signs of Bed Bug Infestation
It is important to recognize the early signs of a bed bug infestation to eradicate them in a timely manner. The following are some obvious signs of bed bugs:
- Bite marks: The red and swollen bite marks are mostly around the neck, hands, and legs. The marks can appear in clusters or lines. But, different people can have different reactions to its bites. Some might show an immediate itchy reaction, while others can have as long as 14 days to show the bite marks.
- Bed bug odor: If you notice unusual smells like rust or moldy laundry around your bedroom. Then, it can be an early sign of bed bug infestation. When threatened, bed bugs emit a distinctive musty odor. The smell can grow with the increase of bed bugs.
- Blood smear: Unknowingly, it is possible to kill bed bugs that are feeding while you are sleeping by pressing on them. It can cause unexplained small blood stains on your cushions, clothing, and bed sheets.
- Dark fecal marks: If you notice small dark droppings on your bed sheets, bed, furniture, curtain, and pillow, it is another early symptom of bed bug infestation. The dark droppings can resemble ink spots of a black marker pen.
- Bed Bug Eggs: A female bed bug can lay 200-250 eggs in its lifetime. It can lay 1-7 eggs per day. The eggs are tiny (1mm), white, and resemble grains of salt. You can notice the eggs in bed crevices, upholstery, and furniture.
- Shed skins: Bed bugs shed their skins during their life cycles. This process of changing skin every one to five cycles is called shell casings. If you detect the bed bugs’ shed skins around your bed and furniture crevices. There is a high chance that bed bugs infest your house.
- Live Bed bugs: Bed bugs have an apple seed-like brown appearance. They typically hide in your bed, making it unlikely for them to be discovered in furniture cracks or during the day. However, if the infestation is severe, you may discover bed bugs in your bed at any time of day or night.
How To Make Homemade Bed Bug Spray
It can be tough to eradicate bed bug infestation from your space, but it is not impossible. It is important to deal with these pests before they reproduce quickly all over your house. Here are some effective ways to terminate early infestation of bed bugs using the following homemade spray.
Natural Vinegar Spray
You can use white vinegar to create a natural spray against bed bugs. Vinegar’s acetic acid concentration can upset the neurological system of insects and is also helpful to deter other pests inside the home, like spiders and ants. Additionally, it is a simple and practical homemade bed insect spray.
- Pour vinegar into a spray bottle and secure the bottle lid tightly.
- Spray the solution directly on the bed bug or where you see the signs of its infestation.
- Cover all the areas like bed crevices, furniture, windowsills, cushions, and every other place with bed bug signs.
- Repeat the process every week until it permanently eradicates its existence.
Even if it can kill the bed bug, it is not an effective way to eradicate the bed bug infestation in your space. Its effect is only good for early infestation.
Making Essential Oil Spray
Essential oil is popularly known for its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and antiseptic properties. Its potent smell can repel bugs like ants, spiders, cockroaches, silverfish, and bed bugs. Additionally, it is non-toxic and safe to use around humans and animals.
If you want to make a natural spray without using harmful chemical insecticides. Making a homemade essential oil spray is the ideal solution.
Some of the effective oil to repel bed bugs from your space are:
- Clove oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Peppermint oil
- Thyme oil
- Cedarwood oil
- Citronella oil
- Tea tree oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Lavender oil
- Neem oil
- Oregano oil
Here is how to make a homemade spray using one of the above essential oils and apply it on bed bug-infested areas.
- Fill the spray bottle with 30 drops of whichever essential oil you have and mix it with water. You can combine a few drops of other essential oil to make an effective bed bug repellent.
- Test the mixture in an inconspicuous area before using it. The essential oil can sometimes stain fabrics and wood surfaces.
- Shake well before using it.
- Spray the mixture in every hiding place of bed bugs every night, one hour before bedtime.
- Apply it once a week for better results.
Applying Isopropyl Alcohol Spray
Alcohol is an efficient method for killing visible bed bugs. Similar to diatomaceous earth, it can destroy the outer shell of bed bugs. The alcohol will dehydrate and ultimately kill the insect. The strong odor of alcohol also repels insects.
It is an inexpensive and effective way to kill bed bugs. But, it cannot kill bed bugs that are well hidden in crevices and gaps. It is only effective if you spray the alcohol on the bug and its eggs directly.
Caution: Isopropyl alcohol can cause respiratory issues when inhaled. It is better to wear a mask and gloves while applying it. Also, it is flammable; it is recommended to ventilate the room before starting the elimination procedure.
- Vacuum the mattresses, linens, and furniture and clean the infected area.
- Purchase rubbing alcohol and fill it in a spray bottle.
- Spray the alcohol in clothing, sheets, linens, furniture, and mattresses with rubbing alcohol. Do not forget the cracks and gaps the bed bugs might be hiding.
- Repeat to apply it every two weeks for better results.
Other Effective Ways To Eliminate Bed Bugs
Using Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a powdery white substance with sharp and abrasive edges. The DE harms the outer layer of shells when pests like bed bugs and other insects like sugar ants, roaches, and spiders come into touch with it. The bed bug’s exoskeleton keeps the body moist; if it is breached, the bed bugs will become dehydrated and die.
It would be best to use food-grade diatomaceous earth with extra precautions. Wear proper gear like a mask, Eyewear, and gloves. Inhaling the DE sometimes can cause allergic reactions in humans and animals.
- First of all, steam clean the mattress, linens, and furniture. Make sure to dry the mattress or linens if they are wet. Vacuum your room, bed, and carpet.
- Look out for signs of bed bugs and where they might hide. They can hide in the side of your mattresses, in your bed cracks and crevices, around the furniture, windowsills, box springs, and anywhere in your room where there are gaps.
- Apply a thin layer of DE powder in the mentioned areas. Cover all the areas with the powder.
- Let it sit for a couple of weeks or longer if you want.
- Utilize a shop vac to wipe the DE powder from the space.
- Reapply the powder every week for effective results.
It takes a lot of patience to let Diatomaceous properly work. Even Though it can kill bed bugs within 24-48 hours, it takes time to make bed bugs walk through the powder. Therefore, it can take several weeks to show results. Also, it is not effective to kill the bugs’ eggs. You have to wait until the eggs hatch.
Invest in Heat Treatment
Homemade sprays cannot help you if the bed bugs infestation in your space is huge. It would help if you had the solutions to terminate bed bugs’ existence.
Heat treatment is well known to eradicate bed bugs and their eggs from the house. When the temperature of a room is increased to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, bed bugs die immediately. The treatment needs to be done by a skilled technician and takes approximately 8 hours to complete.
Using Insecticide-Based Treatment
If you want something more affordable than heat treatment, you can opt for the chemical-based treatment. You need to hire experts to use this method. Experts use insecticides to eradicate bed bugs and other long-lasting chemicals to prevent them from returning.
But, the chemicals do not kill the bed bug egg. It is important to reapply the insecticides to eradicate the bed bugs permanently.
Prevent Bed Bugs From Coming Back
Even after using different tricks and methods, it is very difficult to wipe their existence permanently. The best thing to avoid bed bug infestation is to prevent them from luring into your space. There are several ways these tiny pests can find their way into your area.
- Be cautious while purchasing second-hand furniture. The previous owner might have given it away because of the bed bug infestation.
- Invest in protective covers for your mattress.
- Wash the washable items in the washing machine in a hot water setting after treating the pest. You can even soak the fabrics in hot water.
- While traveling, look out for bed bug infestation in hotels and motels. Never place your luggage near beds and furniture.
- Clean and vacuum your beds, furniture, and your room regularly.
- Use a hand steamer to remove bed bug eggs in all cracks and crevices.
- Make your home clutter-free. Clutter provides bed bugs a place to reproduce and increase.