Currently, bed bug infestations are controlled using synthetic insecticides, but their common and constant use caused bed bug resistance.
Consequently, bed bug control requires the development of safer, greener, and more effective tools. Bed bug control methods that employ plant-derived pesticides are part of the “green” movement: essential oils for bed bugs are one of the best green alternatives.
People prefer methods that are safe for humans as bed bugs are found on beds, furnitures and other places at home. Most insecticides you can buy today cannot be sprayed directly on infested furniture.
Because essential oil compounds are low-risk substitutes for bed bug control, you now have a safer alternative with these essential oils (EO).
Most of the information below are based on studies performed at:
Essential oils for bed bugs can be categorized as follows:
- Essential oils is known for their ability to repel bed bugs
- Essential oils to treat and soothe bed bug bites
We will discuss the actual effects of essential oils to kill and prevent bed bugs, and also let you know if they can be a remedy for their bites. We will base the information in this article on scientific research as much as possible.
- What Are Essential Oils?
- Do Essential Oils Work On Bed Bugs?
- Why Natural Options Make Sense?
- How To Use Essential Oils For Bed Bugs
- The Best Essential Oils For Bed Bugs Treatment
- Essential Oil For Bed Bug Bites
- How to Use Essential Oils for Bed Bugs?
- DIY Anti-itch Lotion for Bed Bugs:
- DIY Bed Bug Spray With Essential Oils:
- How to Use Thyme Oil for Bed Bugs
- Clove Essential Oil for Bed Bugs
- Try Diatomaceous Earth
- Precautions While Using Essential Oils for Bed Bugs and Safety Concerns
What Are Essential Oils?
An essential oil is a liquid extract of a variety of potentially beneficial plants. Chemicals can be extracted from these plants to make essential oils. Their natural aroma and flavor are retained because they are derived from mechanical pressing or distillation of their plants.
The chemical content of each essential oil varies, which affects its smell, absorption, and effects on the body. An essential oil’s chemical composition can differ within a plant species, or from plant to plant. True essential oils do not contain synthetic compounds.
Essential oils typically contain higher levels of active ingredients and have a stronger smell than the plants they come from. To make essential oils, a considerable amount of plant matter must be used.
Do Essential Oils Work On Bed Bugs?
Studies have shown that essential oils can be effective bed bugs. Various essential oils have been identified as effective in repelling bed bugs; however, there is no consensus on which ones are the most effective.
There are many essential oils for bed bugs products claiming to kill or repel bed bugs effectively. Nevertheless, Rutgers University conducted a study that concluded that only a few of them were as effective as promised.
You can use essential oils in this method by spraying them directly on bed bugs, which are toxic to them and interfere with their nervous system functions.
Despite the fact that they can kill bed bugs, they may not be sufficient to eradicate the entire infestation problem at home. In order to kill these pests once and for all, it is still best to use a combination of other methods.
Why Natural Options Make Sense?
The obvious reason for choosing natural bed bug treatments is the fact that they are effective. The best results will come from combining different steps; adding essential oils to the compound, adding chemical pesticides, and removing contaminated items, etc.
In addition to these benefits, natural bed bug treatment comes with many others.
- No toxic chemical sprays or liquids are used. You can eliminate bugs without introducing potentially harmful pesticides into the environment, though you may need additional pesticides for severe infestations
- Natural methods are less expensive and help you save money over using expensive pesticides and sprays
- There are very real benefits to aromatherapy that can be achieved by using essential oils. The process of getting rid of bedbugs improves your mental and physical well-being
- In summary, natural bed bug treatments like essential oils can be a better way of combating these invasive pests, thus deserving your attention.
How To Use Essential Oils For Bed Bugs
Since essential oils for bed bugs chemical-free and non-toxic, they are a popular option for homeowners to use for bed bug control. Consequently, they can be used around children and pets, as well as on furniture and clothes.
Using essential oils as a repellent, you can spray them on the bed, clothes, linens, and area around the bed, such as the headboard and leg, to keep them from crawling over you while you sleep.
Additionally, some users suggest mixing up to three different essential oils at a time.
Treatment For Bed Bug Bites
Bug bites can be treated with essential oils. Bed bug bites may also cause pain and discomfort, which essential oils can relieve. Certain oils also have antibacterial properties that prevent the spread of infection.
The Best Essential Oils For Bed Bugs Treatment
With traditional pyrethroid insecticides, we can kill resistant bed bugs, but we must use increasingly larger amounts. Applying them to that level is problematic.
Researchers have found that essential oils for bed bugs can kill them, but the best way to do it is to combine them with pyrethroid insecticides.
Purdue University researched the effects of binary mixtures of deltamethrin (a pyrethroid insecticide). Scientists discovered how essential oil compounds act on bed bug physiology as well as how they can enhance the lethality of commercial and household insecticides called pyrethroids.
Studies have shown that the following essential oils are most effective when used in conjunction with deltamethrin pesticides.
- Coriander oil
- Thymol (from thyme)
- Carvacrol, derived from oregano and thyme
- Citronellic acid (lemongrass)
- Eugenol (clove)
Essential Oil For Bed Bug Bites
If you already have bedbug bites, you can use essential oils to soothe and treat them. You should not use these oils to repel and kill bedbugs. The following essential oils for bed bugs may help soothe bed bug bites:
- Mint and peppermint oil have insect repellent properties as well as providing a cooling
- Lavender oil is also known for its calming and healing properties
- The oil from tea trees has antimicrobial properties and is also known to promote healing
- Rosemary oil, which can reduce redness and itching while preventing infections
Before applying essential oils to your skin in order to treat bug bites, dilute them well with a carrier oil (such as jojoba oil or coconut oil). When symptoms of itching return, repeat the application.
How to Use Essential Oils for Bed Bugs?
There are numerous other essential oils besides the above-mentioned researched oils that may be used in various DIY recipes to repel bed bugs, such as patchouli essential oil, basil essential oil, and neem oil.
The following are some of the best essential oils for bed bugs recipes you can make to repel bugs and pests.
DIY Anti-itch Lotion for Bed Bugs:
Bed Bug Bite Anti-itch DIY Recipe-1:
- Citronella from VedaOils
- Lemon Essential Oil
How to prepare:
- Take 2 drops of Lemon Essential Oil and 3 drops of Citronella Essential oil in an airtight jar
- Add 1 tablespoon of Witch hazel Oil and 2 tablespoons of fractionated Coconut oil to the mix
- Mix all in a glass jar and cover it with an airtight lid
Bed Bug Bite Anti-itch DIY Recipe-2:
- Two drops of citronella
- 3 drops of chamomile
- 1 tablespoon witch hazel
- 2 drops of lemongrass
- 2 drops of lemon eucalyptus
- 2 tablespoons of fractionated coconut oil
How to prepare:
Combine all ingredients in a dark glass bottle with an airtight lid. Using your clean fingers, cotton swab, or cotton ball, apply the mixture to the itchy bites. If necessary, repeat.
DIY Bed Bug Spray With Essential Oils:
Bed Bug Repellent DIY Recipe-1:
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Lemongrass Essential Oil
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil to make this bed bug repellant spray
How to prepare:
- Take a spray bottle and add 2 tablespoons Jojoba Oil
- Add 1 Cup water
- Add 15 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil, 10 drops lavender essential oil, 10 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
- SMix and spray it whenever there are bed bugs
Bed Bug Repellent DIY Recipe-2:
- VedaOils Cedar Essential Oil
- Thyme Essential Oil
How to prepare:
- Add water and 10 drops each of Cedar and Thyme Essential Oils to diffuser
- Mix very well
- Infuse the diffuser to repel bed bugs
Bed Bug Repellent DIY Recipe-3:
- 5 drops of lemongrass
- 5 drops of thyme
- 5 drops of clove
- 5 drops of lavender essential oil
- 1 tablespoon rubbing 90% alcohol
How to prepare:
- Fill a small spray bottle with dark color with distilled water
- Mix everything in the bottle and shake it well
- Spray the bed frame, headboard, mattress, and sheets
- Make sure to spray around your bed and in your bedroom’s corners and crevices
- But avoid spraying your face or eyes
Essential oils for bed bugs will not likely suffice if you have a full-blown infestation, it could be a good idea to contact an exterminator or pest control specialist.
How to Use Thyme Oil for Bed Bugs
Thyme oil is an essential oil that several researchers have consensus that it is one of the most effective on bed bugs, so this one is worth a dedicated section.
Thayme is an herb from which thyme oil is obtained. Despite its presence in a lot of home cooking, you should use thyme with caution. Avoid using thyme oil around women and children.
The oil comes from the Thyme shrub. It is a member of the mint family, so it contains menthol, carvacrol, and alpha terpinene. Thyme Essential Oil is an excellent insect repellent because of this primary component.
Insecticidal properties make it an effective repellent. Spray the oil around your home and bedrooms after mixing it with some warm water.
The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of thyme essential oil create a pleasant and germ-free atmosphere. Bed bugs and pests can be effectively eliminated with the use of this oil in aromatherapy or topical application.
Clove Essential Oil for Bed Bugs
Researchers agree that clove oil has an effective anti-bed bug effect. It is extracted from the flowering buds of clove trees. It has a spicy, earthy aroma which makes it an excellent bug repellant.
Clove essential oil also contains compounds that fight inflammation. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties make it effective at easing infections caused by bed bugs and pests.
This oil can eliminate bed bugs (may not be effective on severe infestations) due to its powerful anti-pest properties. To repel bed bugs, you can prepare a spray by diluting clove essential oil with jojoba or coconut carrier oil.
Try Diatomaceous Earth
If you are not sure to use essential oils for bed bugs but still need a natural way to repel them, you can use Diatomaceous earth. It is made from tiny aquatic organisms called diatoms that die and fossilize. Although this product is not an essential oil, it is a natural way to kill bed bugs.
Sprinkle non-toxic diatomaceous earth around areas that are infected with bed bugs to kill them. They will soon crawl away and die. Continue to sprinkle the powder in your home for several weeks until all bed bug eggs hatch and die.
Precautions While Using Essential Oils for Bed Bugs and Safety Concerns
It is critical to be aware that essential oils for bed bugs are highly potent and can pose a health risk. Hence, dilution would make them less harmful when applied to your skin.
Essential oils are made by extracting chemical compounds from plants that are highly active, so certain precautions should be taken when using them.
These precautions are as follows:
- Before applying essential oils for bed bugs directly to your skin, perform a patch test on your elbow
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult a gynecologist before using essential oils
- After applying essential oils, avoid direct sunlight
- Before applying essential oils directly to your skin, dilute them with a carrier oil
- Children and animals should not be exposed to essential oils
- Avoid using essential oils near your eyes
- When you feel irritation or itching after applying any of the essential oils, immediately rinse it off with a mild cleanser or soap
- Furthermore, please do your research on each of these products, as some may not be suitable for babies, children, pregnant women, or people with certain pre-existing health conditions.
- In addition, make sure you choose certified, and quality products, and never consume essential oils since some may contain harmful chemicals that you may not be aware of
Essential oils for bed bugs really can help you eliminate bed bugs, especially when you use them together with pesticides. But, they also may not be enough to clean severe infestations.
And they are very helpful to soothe and ease skin irritations caused by bed bug bites.
I hope I managed to give you some directions on how you can use essential oils to remove bed bugs and use them for their bites.
As always, thank you for reading and let me know if you have any questions.
Perry Benani, Pest Control Professional