Can I repel or kill bed bugs using natural remedies like lavender oil?

by nobugsonme on July 11, 2007 · 53 comments

in bed bugs, bedbugs, DE, diatomaceous earth, FAQs, heat, ice, lavender, melatonin, natural remedies, sleep, sweet rice, tea tree, thyme, travel, treatment

Readers often ask whether it’s possible to repel bed bugs or kill bed bugs using “natural remedies” like lavender oil, Eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, or thyme.  Let’s just say we’re skeptical.

Natural methods that don’t work:

A new article in the UK’s FirstPost online magazine Thursday offers the usual warnings about travel and bed bugs, some data on the spread in the UK and the US, and the caveat that five-star hotels, too, can be infested.

Don’t think that booking into a five-star hotel will offer you protection. Earlier this year, a US lawyer sued a luxury hotel in London after he and his wife had been badly bitten.

And then this bit of misinformation:

A better – and cheaper – alternative is never to go anywhere without a lavender oil spray: apparently, it’s the one thing the little bastards can’t stand.

I can vouch for the fact that lavender oil sprayed on people and bedding will not keep bed bugs away. They may not like it (that’s possible), but hungry bed bugs will persist.

Better advice for travelers: watch the CBC video about bed bugs, which includes a demonstration of how to inspect a hotel room for bed bugs. It is about 10-15 minutes long and you will be glad you watched it. Read our FAQ on travel. Inspect your bed, keep your clothing sealed in XL ziplocs inside your suitcase, and inspect it after you come home too. While there may be bed bugs in the room that you miss on inspection, it’s unlikely to be one of those nightmare stories with 50 bites in a night. That kind of infestation, I have a hunch you’d see signs of, if you look.

And if you do have bed bugs at home, already, don’t waste your time spraying lavender, thyme, tea tree, or eucalyptus in the sheets, or sprinkling sweet rice or boric acid around your bedroom.

I always send people to find a good PCO who knows bed bugs.

Believe me, if there was evidence supporting a quick, easy, natural cure, we’d be all about it here. Bed bugs are so resilient, they can withstand 100 degree temperatures (for a while), survive a stint in your freezer, and even live through multiple pest control treatments, before finally succumbing. They can live, apparently, for a year without eating. They want to live, breed, and suck your blood. A little essential oil is not going to ward them off.

There is one thing lavender is good for, when you have bed bugs: it’s known to make you a bit sleepy. Dab some on your pillow, ask your doctor if it’s okay for you to pop a melatonin (natural sleep enhancer found where you buy vitamins), and it just might help with the bed bug-related insomnia.

Natural Methods that do kill bed bugs:

Non-chemical methods of treating bed bugs that can work (if done properly) are steam, thermal, and freezing. There is a FAQ on how to use steam to kill bed bugs here, and information on killing bed bugs with heat here

Another home remedy we’re told can work food grade diatomaceous earth, which is a mechanical killer, not a repellent. But that is unlikely to quickly clear up the entire problem. And it is not wise to start self-treating, since some PCOs won’t even treat you if there’s evidence you have.

Keep in mind it is probably not possible for you to kill your own bed bugs by freezing or heating your home. You may live in an area where professionals know how to and can employ this technology. The temperatures must be changed quickly, and this is why, for example, setting up space heaters in your home is not going to cut it (though you may spread bed bugs around the building, and you may start a fire!)

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1 James Buggles July 12, 2007 at 12:02 am

All true, but they are no match for your shoe — not that you’ll ever get that oppotunity. See: http://www.angelfire.com/vamp/shoopshoop/cockroach.html

2 nobugsonme July 12, 2007 at 12:16 am

Yes, I take it back. Shoes are a perfect natural remedy for bed bugs. The only problem is fiding one to hit. And being awake to catch it.

3 nobugsonme July 19, 2007 at 8:16 pm

updated to direct people to more information on thermal, cold, and steam.

4 willow-the-wisp July 26, 2007 at 12:25 pm

Melatonin is a naturally occurring biological substance in many creatures–including us.
Just a reminder that if you take more than the 2 mgs as suggested on the label — or is it three, I cant recall off-hand, then you can do your body a serious disservice.
Really … heed the warnings on the melatonin labels. They are there with good reason. 99.999% of the time more is not better, where pills are concerned. Melatonin most definitely falls into that category. It is a very effective sleep aid. This is so, so true. I took it for a few years–a few years back, on and off. I never went above the prescribed limit. Didn’t even feel a need to try TAKING MORE AS, it is that effective if taken in the prescribed dose.
Heated milk for those of us who are not lactose intolerant can try this too–the release of L. tryptophane, an essential amino acid–also helps.
However, they took the L. tryptophane pills … off the market … as people were doing serious liver damage by popping them like candy 24/7.

I knew a person who fit into this category … when they took it off the market
Poor case he was … you could see him drinking milk 24/7, trying to get his L. Tryptophan “knock-out dose.” He was a nervous wreck to begin with … that got worse, much worse…

5 Aaron Taylor October 17, 2007 at 12:55 pm

Hi,
I’m moving out of a shelter, into a hotel suite that I am renting. Every bed in the shelter has bedbugs in it. I have found them on my clothes durning the morning shortly after leaving the shelter, but I have not recieved any bites. Does washing and thoroughly drying my bedding and clothing kill bedbugs, or is that not hot enough. Please let me know as soon as possible. I am petrified of bringing an infestation into a new building if I don’t have to. Also, I have no money right now. Is there any affiliation who will support me with funds to fumigate, or choose a more invasive form of pest control.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration,
Sincerely,
Aaron.

6 persona-non-bugga October 17, 2007 at 5:57 pm

Hi Aaron, there’s an FAQ about how to eliminate bedbugs from clothes and other items on the blog. It might be very helpful to you.

http://bedbugger.com/faqs/stuff/

The most common advice I’ve seen is to wash clothes & bedding on the hottest setting. Then dry the clothes & bedding on the hottest setting for 20 minutes beyond the point when they’re bone dry. This will kill them.

My advice is to launder them directly on the way to your new home. Don’t launder and then bring them back to the shelter where they’ll get reinfested.

What will you be transporting your clothes in? Bedbugs hitch rides in suitcases. Do you have other belongings – like books or small furniture? All crevices are potential hiding spots. The FAQ has advice on how to deal with that stuff, but I think it will be quite challenging to eliminate them from anything that’s not washable.

91% isopropyl alcohol is a contact kill. It has to make direct contact with the bug to kill it. If one is hiding in a crack somewhere where the alcohol can’t reach, then the bedbug will survive and live to bite again. But if something is non-washable, you can try drenching and saturating that item in 91% alcohol. No guarantees though, so proceed carefully.

If you try the alcohol, I wouldn’t treat any belongings in the shelter only to get reinfested again. I wouldn’t treat these items in your hotel suite either. That’ll give them a chance to hop off and set up house at your new place. Better to spray them outside in a parking lot or some other relatively safe location.

BTW, if they’re on you, the bedbugs are most likely biting you. You’re probably not allergic to them.

Congrats on getting out of the shelter. Good luck with the move.

7 nobugsonme October 17, 2007 at 6:21 pm

Everything P-N-B said, and just to be super clear: when you wash and dry the clothing, SEAL them in a clean plastic bag in an airtight manner. It is possible to seal a garbage bag in an airtight manner, but you have to take care (one single knot into itself works, if you know what I mean. Most of us use ziploc XL bags which are HUGE and have handles. It’s an added expense but they can be reused: clean for clean. Bag any dirty clothes and shoes you used to move–everything must be discarded or washed on hot or dried from dry on hot. See the FAQ PNM recommended.

8 luci November 28, 2007 at 1:42 pm

I’v washed all my clothing, and dried them….. but possible not at the HOTTEST setting …….. so doesn’t drowning them in the wash water work?

has anyone had success (after the funigators have come 2 times already — my landlord is paying for it) with using double sided carpet tape….. at least to detect how much bugs are left , and to catch a few more?

and the alchohol….. would it work to wash floors with alchoh and soapy water…. jsut for cleanliness and to get rid of crumbs/ ect that they feed on, or do they simply need blood?

can they crawl up metal/ or wooden cabinets/ shelving? once I’v cleaned my containers and inspected cardboard boxes/ replaced old boxes with new ones, and inspected objects whjile transfering them to the new ones….
should I be able to see them, even if they are partically transparent… or are they as tiny as a pin head, or tinyer?

thanks

9 hopelessnomo November 28, 2007 at 4:22 pm

Luci, the FAQs may be of help in answering all your questions.

After you have read at least the basic FAQs, please visit the forums for help from others currently also suffering from bedbugs. You can repost your questions there. But I suggest you read the FAQs first.

10 aballen March 9, 2008 at 10:02 am

The very same night that I introduced bed bugs into my home on a blanket that I had used on vacation, I slatered my neck and upper body in Lavender Oil in order to induce relaxation and sleep. I woke up with about 25 bed bug bites, most of them in the area with the Lavender Oil. It was also the area of my body exposed, not under the covers. So, they had nooooooo problem with Lavender Oil on my body.

11 jennifer July 15, 2008 at 11:36 pm

DOES DEET 100% KILL THEM? OR, AT LEAST, KEEP THEM OFF OF ME?
ALSO, WHY DO THEY BITE ME AND NOT MY HUSBAND, WHO IS ONE FOOT AWAY?

12 nobugsonme July 16, 2008 at 12:00 am

jennifer,

My understanding is that DEET will keep them away for a few hours. However, it won’t work through the night and bed bugs are most likely to bite you in the wee hours before dawn.

And it isn’t really safe to have DEET on your skin, or to sleep with it on you.

Your husband is probably being bitten too, lots of people do not react to the bites because they are not allergic to them.

You need a professional to help. Come to the forums if you have more questions, as you will get more responses there.

13 gloria July 23, 2008 at 9:47 pm

HI,
Is it only me or doesn’t anybody get them embedded in their skin?
or are those not bed bugs?

14 nobugsonme July 23, 2008 at 10:11 pm

Hi Gloria,

Bed bugs CANNOT get embedded in your skin.

If something is embedded in your skin, it is not bed bugs. I would see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Good luck!

15 gloria July 24, 2008 at 10:04 am

hi nobugsonme…
the look like oval shaped “bites” with a dark center. When I picked at them it was under the skin and hard to get to….i had to pinch them and blood would come out.

16 nobugsonme July 24, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Hi Gloria,

Please see a doctor. Ticks and scabies both burrow under the skin, but bed bugs do not. You should seek medical advice ASAP.

17 Compromised August 29, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Does anyone know anything about pure neem oil or where you can buy it? I’ve heard this is a natural repellent and am thinking about using it down the line post-treatment by a PCO.

18 nobugsonme August 30, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Compromised,

I am not sure this is a good idea. If your PCO has not completely removed every last bed bug from your home, then you must continue professional treatment.

If they haven’t, using a repellent can be a very bad idea, since it may make them move deep into your walls and floor, to resurface another day. (We know they can live up to 18 months without feeding.) There’s no evidence it will make them LEAVE your home.

If they have, then I am not sure you need Neem.

I have only seen descriptions of its use to “control” pests in agriculture. What we need to see is a description of it killing (not just repelling) bed bugs.

I am open to hearing about studies done on bed bugs and NEEM (and I would encourage researchers to look into this.) But at this time, not having more information, I would not personally experiment with this for bed bugs, for the reasons I note.

I would suggest considering that you might use a thin layer of food grade diatomaceous earth in strategic areas ONCE the PCO has entirely rid your home of bed bugs. DE can provide some assurance that –should another bed bug be introduced to your home, it would have a good chance of dying before a new colony was established. We have a FAQ which explains how to use DE.

19 nobugsonme October 4, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Still kind of clumsy, but updated.

20 Tired of Bugs February 13, 2009 at 12:50 pm

I have been dealing with a bed bug problem for a few months now. The apartment complex that I live in is taking care of the cost for the exterminator. My problem is that every time the exterminator comes out they tell me something different to do. They have sprayed one time already but did not get rid of the problem. I have spent a lot of money on washing all of my clothes already. Is there anyway around all of these extra expenses?

I was recently looking online for other ways to get rid of the bugs and I found a product called Cedarcide. I was wondering if anyone has tried it and see if it works like the website says that it does. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks!

21 nobugsonme February 16, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Tired of Bugs,

We do not have any scientific testing data on Cedarcide.

Your pest control operator will probably need to treat your home multiple times, preferably at about 2 week intervals. Don’t give up after the first treatment — it is difficult to kill bed bugs.

Please come to the forums if you need support or want to discuss this further: http://bedbugger.com/forum/

22 Corinne O'Connor March 25, 2009 at 3:55 am

A friend of my twin sister who lives in Metcalfe, Ontario, said that natives used to use bear grease to repel bugs (all kinds of bugs). So I did some reading and found that individuals who spend a lot of time in the wilderness, etc., use rancid bear grease to repel all kinds of bugs and is really quite effective; of course, it also repels human contact. At this stage though, I would be happy to be able to use something to repel the little buggers.

As for using *something* that helps you repel the buggers in order to have a good sleep, I have found that drinking lots of Irish whiskey helps me fall into a dead sleep for about 5 hours, much more than I have been getting lately. And you know what’s funny, I am not a drinker, have never been able to drink at all. I have done everything else (freak out) that others have done and been chastised for overreacting, etc. But I need to get some sleep. I have lyme disease with co-infections and low angle glaucoma with 2 major operations and cataracts in both eyes, so right now I need to get some sleep. Exterminators are coming Thursday (hurrah!!!) and tomorrow I am throwing out lots of stuff (correctly of course) and really learning what downsizing means.

While going through all my belongings tonight (I just moved into this place 3 weeks ago), I found the place where these little buggers have been congregating (I moved into a bachelor suite with a small storage (food) linen closed in my little room.) When I first moved in, I thought that perhaps previous tenant had spilled molasses or something (can’t see up close) and cleaned this area thoroughly (or so I thought). Couldn’t find any kind of resemblance of bed bugs around my sofa bed, etc., except that I was getting bitten, so I am not delusional, and found a few spots of rust-like spots on my new sofa bed, along with 3 bright red small bugs in my bath tub. My apartment is also infested with cockroaches (I have spent the last 3 weeks dealing with them and think I am winning), now dealing with bed bugs is something else. Cockroaches come in for dinner (any kind of food), while bed bugs come to me for dinner. I am trying to keep my sense of humour (it has been a God send lately) and sanity (what there is left of it). Dealing with lyme disease has been very difficult but this is real up close and personal. I have always respected bugs and living things, but now taken a different view for survival.

This site has helped me immensely. Used to be lyme sites that supported me; now this site in my quest for answers and support. What is it about bugs?

Corinne

23 Corinne O'Connor March 25, 2009 at 4:03 am

Me again, must be the Irish whiskey. As for my sense of humour, let me describe what I wore to bed last night.

Pale pink long fluffy soft socks with bright red soft stretchy material bottoms tucked into socks, a pale pink turtle-neck sweater (neck rolled up to my chin) tucked into my red pajama bottoms and tied tightly, a thin black knit toque pulled down to my ear lobes and to top it off a very very soft light red/blue/green/yellow silk scarf tied around my head across my eyes to keep out the light from all the lights on in my place, and a pair of think silky stretchy black gloves with sleeves tucked into the gloves. What a sight! I might be certified yet! I did manage to get 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep though and no bites today (there is hope).

Corinne

I realized that when I awoke this morning, what a sight to behold, i.e. if anyone was to find me (cart me off to the loony bin)

24 nobugsonme March 25, 2009 at 7:35 am

At least your sense of humor is intact!

25 Anita April 30, 2009 at 10:18 am

Hi,
We have a bed bug problem in our home in Brooklyn. I have 13 month old twins and I don’t want the critters in their room. I was getting attacked every day with bites all over my body. I moved out of the house for two months, my husband sprayed the house with JT Eaton Kills Bed Bug II, we got rid of an old sofa which seemed to be infested with them. After I got back, I’ve had only one bite. The odd thing is, I could never see them before, but the bites were bad (at least 10 or 12 bites on average every other day). Now, I see them in the day in corners or on the stairs but only one or two. Some are dead and a few are alive but they seem slow. Perhaps the spray is working? We don’t spray in the girls room or in their play area. Is it possible that this spray is working?

Thanks.

26 Luke May 6, 2009 at 8:26 pm

I’ve been dealing with these little demons for a month now and I think they’re finally gone. I don’t have a bunch of money, patience, or time to deal with it.

Try this a few times…

The normal clean, wash, discard routine. BUT… arm yourself with a spray bottle of water, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide. Spray everything… mattress, box spring, pillows, and anything else that will withstand bleach. Follow that by a really good vacuum cleaning. Then re-arm yourself with a spray bottle of water and a hefty amount of sodium bicarbonate. Spray EVERYTHING.

27 nobugsonme May 6, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Bleach and hydrogen peroxide may stain more than 91% rubbing alcohol, which is also a contact killer of bed bugs.

Ultimately, people need more than a contact killer, since most bed bugs are not out to greet you and be sprayed.

28 viole May 12, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Hi,
I looking for a good PCO in Philadelphia,please,help me!

29 nobugsonme May 13, 2009 at 2:19 am

viole,

Please post your question in our forums:

http://bedbugger.com/forum/

30 jo May 24, 2009 at 2:07 am

I have bed bugs bites and I could say that I’m really alergic with bed bugs bitting me because it was swollen and very very red color as if the blood would come out of my skin, do you think spraying alcohol with 91% isoprophyl in my bed and in my bed sheet as well as putting it all over my body will help me not to be bitten by these bed bugs.

31 d_defender_4 June 19, 2009 at 4:47 am

why not bringing pet like monkey on your home?its purely non toxic because monkey eats small insect and monkey is insect killer.try it.

32 d_defender_4 June 19, 2009 at 4:57 am

one more thing, you dont need to use insect killer nor alcohol nor pesticide nor insecticide to eliminated bed bugs because they are already immune, try to use WD-40. this is available around the world because this is available to all motor/car shop because this is using for anti rust.spray to area like bed frame,cabinets etc. try this is very cheap solution. this formula is is tried and tested.

33 nobugsonme June 19, 2009 at 7:37 pm

D-Defender_4,

These are not good ideas.

Pet monkeys are illegal in many areas and it is unlikely they would happily make their diet on a parasite that hides well and comes out to bite you when you’re sleeping. And then ask yourself whether you enjoy the thought of having a pet that is basically ingesting your own blood.

WD-40 is not a good treatment for bed bugs. This formula has not been tested by anyone reputable, to my knowledge. There are some cheaper solutions to bed bugs, but there’s no reason to apply random things to your furniture.

34 nobugsonme June 19, 2009 at 7:39 pm

jo,

Applying alcohol to your bed and body is not a good solution. 91% alcohol kills bed bugs on contact only, and since bed bugs are visible and unlikely to be hanging out on your person or in plain sight, you are probably wasting your time (and spreading toxic, flammable fumes and drying your skin).

Please come to the forums for better advice on what to do. You may also find our FAQs helpful.

35 bugbait July 20, 2009 at 8:26 am

ive heard that house geckos are a useful solution for cockroaches, what about bed bugs?

36 GOING CRAZY... NEED SLEEP!!! July 26, 2009 at 3:13 am

I moved into my apartment in March. The day I signed my lease a neighbor told me there were bedbugs in the apartment and I should beware. I ran right back to my real estate agent and the landlord and he told me the people complained and he treated the apartment but he had never seen any proof! I still wasn’t comfortable moving all my furniture in so I hired Terminex to come an exterminate again and Stanley steamer to come and steam all the rugs because the landlord said I could not replace the carpets. So I spent $800 on the exterminator and $250 on Stanley Steamer. I moved in two weeks later and purchased a new couch, entertainment center, coffee table, book shelf, all new kitchen appliances, etc…. Terminex has been back to treat 7 times!!!

About 5 weeks ago I started noticing bites but only one or two. I called Terminex and made the treat. They told me they were mosquito bites and my house was clean of bedbugs. Then I started getting clusters, and most bites began to be three in a row. Then my son started getting bit. And then my 8 month daughter, and my 20 month old daughter. Of course I am panicked now and I haven’t slept for more than an hour or two for the past three days. My landlord said that his exterminator was coming the past Friday. Instead a NASTY inspector came and said that now the landlord has to set up a service call. I now have all my furniture dismantled and I washed EVERY piece of clothing in the house and I am living out of plastic bags. I also bought two steam cleaners and steam my living room (where we are living) every day. I also vacuum constantly. I am going crazy!!!! I live in a 9 family apartment building and three apartments have seen them. That means they are probably in every apartment.

I am highly allergic and so is my son. My girls seem to get bit and it disappears within hours (thank GOD). My son and I have huge red welts that last for at least a month and just start itching out of no where and feels like a fresh bite.

I don’t know what else to do, someone please help! I tried to do everything by the book and did not try to treat myself. I immediately called an exterminator and these little beasts will not go away! If I spelled things wrong it’s because I am delusional right now. 3:11 am and I am afraid to go to sleep.

37 cmk4868 July 27, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Hi Going Crazy,

hang in there! It sounds like your most important need is to find a more reliable PCO and convince your landlord to use that service. By the time you add up the cost of 7 ineffective visits that still did not solve the problem, most landlords would probably admit that a change in strategy is needed. If you look through these forums, you can see that there are huge qualitative differences between Mr. Spray By the Hour from BigBugCo and an experienced bed bug hunter who knows the habits and biology of the target. Time and skill are needed to spot bed bug hidey holes and then apply multiple pesticides to the areas appropriately.

If most of your bites are occuring at night in beds, you may want to try isolating the beds by using high quality mattress encasements and interceptors. Diatomaceous earth is also an arguably effective home remedy, though reports on its capabilities vary, and you have to be sure to use the less toxic “food grade” DE (you can find this cheaply on Amazon) and be both careful and restrained in applying it. Isolating beds is controversial as it makes it hard to assess whether treatment is working, but the physical and psychological benefit of fewer bites may be worth it.

Important though – before encasing, setting up interceptors, and using DE, find a better PCO (or convince the landlord to find one maybe after doing some research yourself!) as the PCO can both educate you on the pros and cons of using these techniques and may also help you in deploying the resources that will work best for you.

Finally, consult with a local lawyer or legal advice service – depending on the laws in your jurisdiction, there may be some effective legal way to compel the landlord to better address your problem, assuming he will not voluntarily consent to using a new and better PCO.

You may also want to post in another topic, as you are a bit “off-point” here. You have found an amazing resource in this site though, and if you look through the FAQs, you may well find all the answers that you will need. Most of all, remember you will need patience and bravery and will need to be a source of comfort and strength to your kids throughout! God bless, and good luck in your struggle!

38 Vijay September 12, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I covered my mattress and pillow with a plastic cover and using white sheets and bed cover this reduced bed bug bites a lot, also uses white dress while going to bed. If I feel the byte the same time I catches the bug easily using my mobile torch. I also makes sure that my bed is not close to the walls.

39 nobugsonme September 12, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Vijay,

An encasement which completely covers the mattress and box springs (if any) can prevent bed bugs living on the mattress from biting you, if it is designed carefully.

However, bed bugs can also live in the room itself or in the bed frame. Unless they were only living on the mattress, your encasement is unlikely to solve the problem.

White bed sheets and clothing will do nothing to prevent bed bugs from biting. They are recommended by some because they may help you see bugs or blood stains from bites.

40 morganism October 4, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Don’t know why you are not advocating using boric acid (roach powder).
The older versions (before they started adding toxics) were safe as long as you don’t inhale them. They actually put it in the eyedrops for newborns.
We used to actually take some and dust the mattress in skeevy dives.

You should still get a couple bottles, and use it along wall lines, under cabinets, in any holes you find in the walls, and on low nap carpets. You can blow it into wood framed furniture, and most light fixtures too.
Just go back over, and broom it into all crevices, and then vacuum up any loose powder before your pets snuffle it up.
It’s a natural dessicant, and will kill roaches and silverfish too.

It works on ALL insects, thats what they use to treat for termites, it they aren’t tenting.
DE actually scratches them, while this dessicates, and suffocates them.
Seems like crickets, and some of the centipedes are too high off the floor for this to work, but does work on scorpions over time.

41 nobugsonme October 5, 2009 at 2:07 am

morganism,

We do not advocate boric acid, because Dr. Louis Sorkin of the American Museum of Natural History (and an entomologist who specializes in bed bugs) tells us it is not a very effective method with bed bugs. Here’s one of his posts on the Bedbugger yahoo group about this topic.

My understanding is that boric acid kills roaches easily because they ingest it. But bed bugs will not lick their feet and ingest boric acid.

DE (diatomaceous earth) can work on bed bugs, as we have noted on another FAQ.

If you must do it yourself and want something inexpensive, why not choose the powder most likely to do the job?

Note: thanks for your comments, but please do not repost identical comments on multiple comment threads here. I have deleted the duplicate of this message.

42 SleeplessNY October 6, 2009 at 1:19 am

Why is it we can make computers and rockets that go into outer space and we can make a simple spray that will kill these annoying little@#$%?2&? ahhhh its so frustrating i tried everyyyyyyything I swear! It like a curse. HELP? anyone? where can I buy DDT on the black market?

43 nobugsonme October 6, 2009 at 11:36 pm

I know you’re probably joking but DDT is probably not a good idea, isn’t legal for use, and your bed bugs may be resistant to it anyway.

You can kill bed bugs, but it can be expensive, slow, or both. Come to the forums if you want suggestions from people who have succeeded.

44 Anon. J. October 9, 2009 at 6:26 pm

I’ve just been acquainted with bed bugs over the past couple of weeks.

Does anyone have any new insight on whether or not cedarcide works? We just ordered some, along with a steam cleaner.

I’ve already put four or so sealed black garbage bags of clothing and books outside in the sun. Unfortunately it’s not as hot here in Sacramento as it was a few weeks ago, but I’m hoping the bags will get hot enough to do some damage until I can wash everything.

45 nobugsonme October 9, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Hi Anon. J.

Sorry you’re dealing with this!

We do not know how CedarCide works. We have not seen any independent research studies on this yet.

You can read some discussions of it on our forums here:

http://bedbugger.com/forum/tags/cedarcide

46 BiteMagnet October 14, 2009 at 6:13 am

This situation surely sucks. I bought encasements and steamed the bed. Got bit again 2 days later. The only thing I’ve found to help from getting bitten or diffuse a bite is Tiger Balm Extra Strength, but that is only a detourant/quick fix. It wont kill anything. But it does keep them off…And makes the itch/welt I might get without putting it on before bed go away instantly. Im highly alergic so getting bit makes me crazy and itchy and afraid to go back to sleep. Until I find a way to destroy these completely, I never get bit if I slather that crap on. But it only saves me a nights sleep and buys me time to destroy.

47 K. Palmer March 14, 2010 at 12:10 pm

An excellent product to use is called Rest Easy. I have bought from the specialty bed and bath stores but some hardware stores also sell it too. This will kill the bedbugs on contact, I can attest to that because I stayed in a long term stay hotel in Henderson, Nv. The bed was full of the critters and I wanted to eliminate them without nasty chemicals or trashing the mattress. So I found out about Rest Easy as well as food grade diatomaceous earth, both work really well.

48 R.R.Adams March 17, 2010 at 4:38 pm

There are bedbugs in our apartment building. Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap is what I use at night to get a bug bite free night’s sleep. I dilute the soap and spray it all over my body and even the sheets. Ironing the sheets before entering also helps to keep them off. To kill them I use Steri-Fab a very toxic spray that the hospitals use to kill their “critters”. http://www.steri-fabstore.com/ is one website that sells this. There are other bugs this kills as well.
Anyone have clues as to what you can use on your body once you have been bit?
Thanks

49 nobugsonme March 19, 2010 at 6:59 am

Hi R. R. Adams,

Re: Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap: I am not aware of any research on this as having what you seem to describe as a repellent effect.

I do know this, ironing your sheets will not “help keep bed bugs off” the bed. The sheets will cool fairly quickly, and then bed bugs will climb up again. It may kill any bed bugs you make contact with directly, but I’d doubt that the majority are hanging out under the sheets. (If they were, you could lift the sheets and kill them off.)

And Steri-Fab alone is unlikely to solve your bed bug problem. From what I understand it’s mostly a contact killer (meaning it kills bed bugs you spray directly) with a moderate residual effect (meaning it may do something to kill bed bugs which come along later).

You’re unlikely to make direct contact with anything but a small percentage of your bed bugs. You need more aggressive tactics to remove them from your home for good. If you seek natural remedies, read the FAQ above and follow its links to articles on safely using steam and DE to kill bed bugs.

Re: relief from bites, we have a FAQ on that.

50 Will they ever go away May 9, 2010 at 9:45 pm

I was visiting nyc recently when I started getting bit there. I got over a 300 bites on my arms and stomach and feet. I was glad to finally come home, then a week later I noticed 3-4 more bites on my hand but I couldn’t be sure if they were new or old (I was covered in them from my trip). Then I woke up one night and saw a bed bug crawling on my sheets after it had a meal… I killed it with napkin and threw it in my gatorade bottle sitting on my nightside.. and didnt sleep the rest of the night. Sure enough the next morning I had 4 large bites on my thigh. Since then, I have been living through a nightmare. I called my landlord who sent an exterminator. He inspected my mattress and carpet and didnt find anything. I showed him the gatorade bottle but he didnt open it to look at the bug. He then sprayed my mattress and the corners around my room and left saying he would do a thourough threatment 3 days later. I have washed all my clothes, blankets, pillows, cushions, floor cushions and put them in garbage bags. (Living out of garbage bags right now). I threw away my suitcase that i took to nyc. I bought mattress covers. I have been getting 1 bite or so every 3-4 days. I dont think I have many bed bugs but I am afraid that everyday that goes by those suckers are multiplying. I have cried myself to sleep many nights. The exterminator has been to my house a total of three times (comes in every week) but I am not home when he comes so I have no idea how thorough he is. I am planning on being home the next time, so i can watch him spray everything. My question is if he has been here three times already should the bed bugs all have died by now? I am going to ask him about using DE and boric acid on the carpet. They even steam washed my carpet but that was a week ago, and just today I got two bites hanging out in my apartment. I think there are some on my sofa. I am trying to limit where I sit and hang out in just my bedroom so they will congregate there and leave my living room alone. I dont think it is working. Is there anyway to attract the bed bugs and catch them? other than using urself. that idea doesn;t appeal to me. I have been wearing pajamas tucked into sucks and a long sleeve shirt tucked into my pajamas, and socks on my hands. (those bastards just bit my neck.) I am planning on buying a turtle neck shirt to sleep in tomorrow. My life is miserable. I barely get enough sleep at night. I am wishing for the days when they used to spray buildings with DDT. Honestly I would take the chance of cancer any day over this.

51 nobugsonme May 10, 2010 at 10:54 am

Will they,

I am so sorry you are doing through this. Boric acid does NOT work on bed bugs. Diatomaceous earth (DE) can but if you’re going to use it, make sure you apply it properly and use safety precautions. (See our FAQ.)

Bed bug infestations can take more than three treatments to clear, but you should be seeing improvement after each treatment. If neighbors are infested (as they may be), they also need concurrent treatment. Please come to our forums if you want more feedback and suggestions.

52 Rollo July 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm

How I got rid of a mild bedbug infestation. Due to a medical condition, my doctor advised me to use Sarna brand anti-itch lotion. Sarna contains menthol and camphor. After applying the lotion for a few evenings, my sheets took on the smell of the Sarna. Soon the bedbugs disappeared and never returned. I think the camphor drove them off. I’ve been bed bug free for over a year, and I stopped using the lotion a long time ago.

53 nobugsonme July 11, 2010 at 1:37 am

Rollo,

Did you ever see bed bugs?

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