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7 ways to prevent bed bugs from infesting your home – Tom’s Guide

Since a surge of bed bug infestations in Paris and reports about a "global resurgence," concerns of bed bugs have been on the rise. But, truth be told, these blood-sucking insects have always been around, so theyre something were continually wary of, particularly when traveling.

If youre wondering why bed bugs are such an alarming prospect, theres a couple of reasons. First, its very easy to unknowingly carry them into your home just take a look at 5 ways bed bugs can invade your home. And once theyre in, theyre immensely difficult to get rid of. Repeat applications are usually necessary to fully eradicate them, which can take months. Secondly, the thought that they feed on your blood while you sleep isnt a pleasant one, which can lead to skin irritations and infections.

So what can you do to prevent bed bugs? Thankfully, there are steps you can take to stop these bugs from being introduced to your home as well as methods to keep the numbers contained should they find their way in. Note that, in the case of the latter, you will still likely need to kill any remaining bed bugs see how to get rid of bed bugs for details on the best methods.

The following tips are good practice to follow if you have concerns about bed bugs; giving you peace of mind that you can prevent, as well as control and contain a potential infestation, if necessary.

The first and likely most popular method of bed bug control is to invest in a zipped bed bug-proof mattress cover. Bed bugs generally live in and around our mattresses this is an ideal spot considering they feed on us while we rest. So they can often be found hidden in crevices, even in the best mattresses. A mattress cover essentially contains the mattress completely (including the top and bottom and all four sides), so no more bed bugs can find their way in, and those trapped inside will eventually die. An example of this would be this Utopia Bedding Zippered Mattress Encasement Full ($21, Amazon).

But, bear in mind that bed bugs can live in all sorts of spaces around your bed, not just your mattress. They can be found in cracks in the walls, in the joints of your furniture and around the carpet's edge, so more preventive measures are a good idea. For instance, you can buy a box-spring protector (another place theyre often found) and bed bug traps which sit under the bed frame legs to stop them climbing, such as Bed Bug Interceptors ($27, Amazon).

If your bedroom is full of clutter, youre not helping yourself when facing bed bugs. In fact, youre providing more places to hide, making the environment all the more suitable. Bed bugs prefer to stay out of sight while were active, so if theres boxes or clothes permanently strewn across the floor, youre supplying additional shelter as well as spaces to lay eggs.

Even if your room doesnt appear obviously cluttered, always check under your bed. If youve got cardboard boxes stored here, youre giving the bed bugs a prime position to hide close to where you sleep. Bed bugs will happily situate themselves in cardboard boxes because theyre dark and often undisturbed. And seeing that they can live for up to 400 days without feeding, according to the UC IPM, even old cardboard boxes can contain the threat of bed bugs. Switch to plastic, sealed containers instead, such as these IRIS USA 12 Quart Stack & Pull Box ($26, Amazon), and keep the underside of your bed clear.

A clean house is just as likely to suffer from a bed bug infestation as a dirty one, but certain chores will reduce their numbers. For instance, vacuuming your floors, furniture and mattress with one of the best vacuum cleaners will pick up rogue bed bugs. This wont kill them though, so you need to empty the canister between each run and do so carefully. Empty the contents immediately into a sealed plastic bag, and place it straight into the outdoor trash can. Vacuum regularly if youre in the midst of eradicating bed bugs at least once a week.

Heat is a well known method for killing bed bugs, and so a steam cleaner, such as this Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner Powerful Multipurpose Portable Heavy Duty Steamer ($149, Amazon) can be a handy investment. You can use this to steam your carpets and upholstery around the home, killing any immediate bed bugs in your path. Just keep in mind that the temperature needs to reach 130F with a gentle air flow otherwise you will just blow the bed bugs away.

Washing your bed linens, the bedding itself (pillows included) and any other fabrics on the highest temperature allowed in the best washing machines can also kill bed bugs. Thats why its a good idea to wash all items from your suitcase as soon as you return home from traveling. The temperature of the wash needs to be at least 140F for 90 minutes to be effective, followed by drying on the highest temperature allowed for 30 minutes. Keep infested items sealed in plastic bags until youre ready to wash them. If the items cant tolerate a hot wash, steaming them is another option.

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If you know youve got bed bugs in your home, youre going to want to limit their spreading as much as possible while you work on eliminating them. There are several ways bed bugs can travel, but they tend to cling to inanimate fabrics, which is why our suitcases are often hotspots. They wont usually hang onto the clothes youre physically wearing because the movement is too aggressive and theyre not a fan of such intense heat. But, any inanimate fabrics or those you carry alongside are certainly at risk.

Considering this, if you know the source, make sure alternative textiles don't come into contact with those areas. For instance, dont let freshly laundered clothes sit on your carpet. As soon as bed bugs hitch a ride, they could find their way into your dresser. Watch that your bedding doesnt touch the floor for the same reason otherwise, the aforementioned bed bug traps will be pointless. Keep infested areas separated from traveling items where possible, and vice versa, to limit bed bugs spreading to new areas. This is also why its a good idea to hang guests' coats on a hook near your door rather than draped on any beds. Its all too easy for bed bugs to spread from one fabric to another.

Essential oils have many uses in terms of bug control. These natural fragrances can overwhelm and repel a number of pests, including rodents, mosquitoes and ants. But, they have their uses in terms of bed bugs too. In fact, a study by Purdue University found that certain essential oils could even kill bed bugs when applied directly. 15 different types of oil were tested.

All of the chemicals were effective when applied directly to the bed bugs, though the amount needed to kill them varied. Carvacrol, derived from oregano and thyme; thymol (thyme); citronellic acid (lemongrass); and eugenol (clove) were most effective. When tested as fumigants, thymol, carvacrol, linalool (common in basil) and camphor (camphor tree) were most effective.

Keep in mind that these are by no means as effective as a chemical equivalent. In fact, the study found that killing a bed bug required 70,000 times more of the best performing oil compared to a relevant insecticide. But, considering essential oils still have an impact, its nice to know that a natural alternative to chemicals is available to prevent bed bugs, even if only a little. Rubbing alcohol is another alternative you can spray directly on bed bugs to kill them on sight just keep in mind you still need to deal with any remaining eggs.

Its all too common to bring bed bugs home with you when you travel, so its a good idea to know what to look for when you check into a hotel room. There are several signs of bed bugs including egg shells, shed skins, ink-like spots of feces and, of course, the bugs themselves. A musty smell may also be present. Inspect the mattress thoroughly, checking cracks, crevices and seams. Use a travel flashlight if you have one. Check around the headboard as well as any surrounding fabrics too, such as cushions and curtains.

If you suspect bed bugs, inform the hotel staff immediately. You will need to vacate the room so it can be inspected and cleaned. Your luggage may need to be cleaned as well if it was exposed. When you return home from your travels, you can also inspect your luggage for bed bugs before bringing it inside to be vigilant. You could alternatively unpack it in the bathroom, shaking clothes over your tub before washing. Keep in mind hotels arent the only establishments where bed bugs are common: shared laundry facilities, hospitals and universities are all hotspots.

If you share a wall with neighbors, bed bugs may well be able to travel between the properties too. This is because they can fit through tiny cracks and gaps and come out the other side, making their way in through light switches as well as power outlets. With this in mind its a good idea to caulk and seal any unnecessary cracks in the walls. You can also buy outlet covers to seal those if neighbors inform you that bed bugs are present, an example being these outlet covers ($7, Amazon).

Be extra vigilant and keep an eye out for bed bugs if your neighbor has them. As theyre eradicated, theyre likely to move to another available environment. Make sure you don't bring the bed bugs in with you if you share a communal space too, such as a hallway. Dont leave items on the floor, and check your shoes and clothes as you enter. Refrain from physical contact with the neighbor and reach out to your property manager to confirm if a formal inspection or further action is needed with your unit.

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7 ways to prevent bed bugs from infesting your home - Tom's Guide

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Parisian bed bugs might choose your mattress as a permanent BnB … – Oxford Eagle

Published 10:53 am Friday, October 13, 2023

Pest expert warns a very real risk Paris bed bugs will spread fast across Mississippi

A growing bed bug crisis in Paris made international headlines recently, leading to worries about these pests infesting cities around the world. And that concern is validated by licensed pest control professional Zachary Smith of The Pest Dude warns that its highly likely that bed bugs could spread fast across the state.

He notes that bed bugs in Mississippi are nothing new. They are already found in every state, but Smith worries that they can spread rapidly across each continental state.

These tiny, flat parasites feed on human blood during nighttime slumbers. While they dont transmit diseases, bed bugs can lead to itchy bites, disrupted sleep, and considerable discomfort.

Bed bugs typically inhabit areas where people sleep, including apartments, hotels, shelters and dormitories. They often conceal themselves in mattress seams, box springs, behind bed structures, and within furniture gaps.

However, bed bugs can be anywhere their host lives, including the cars and planes people travel in.

Smith emphasizes their remarkable resilience, noting that bed bugs can endure extended periods between feedings, ranging from several weeks to months.

Smith advises to check for bed bugs in the following areas:

To manage an active bed bug infestation and prevent its spread, Smith provides the following tips:

And finally, to kill the bed bugs, below are some options according to The Pest Dude.

Non-Chemical Bed Bug Treatments:

Chemical Methods:

In this rapidly evolving situation, awareness and timely action are our best defenses, states said Smith. While bedbugs have always been a concern, their resilience and adaptability make it crucial for everyone to be informed and proactive.

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Parisian bed bugs might choose your mattress as a permanent BnB ... - Oxford Eagle

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Discover 4 Smells That Bed Bugs Absolutely Hate and Keep Them … – AZ Animals

Just when you think your bed is a sanctuary of relaxation and rejuvenation, you may want to reconsider You might be sharing your mattress with a blood-sucking parasite called the bed bug. This creepy crawly can cause a significant amount of discomfort and interrupted sleep. Especially when attaching itself to your skin and feeding off your blood. In addition to having a reputation for biting your skin and leaving you with ghastly, itchy red blisters. These pests are nocturnal, giving them the upper hand to crawl out of dark crevices and attack at night, preventing them from getting caught.

So, have you ever wondered why your mattress attracts bed bugs? Well, for the most part, humans provide an abundant food source of blood for bed bugs. Therefore, making your bed an ideal habitat for them to feed, breed, and infest. Not only is our blood essential to them, but body heat and the scent of sweat secretions keep them coming back for more.

If you have ever come across an infestation of bed bugs, this blog post will reveal smells that bed bugs cannot handle and routines on how to keep these critters away from invading your personal space.

Craig Spurrier, CC BY 2.5 License

A popular home remedy for killing bed bugs and repelling them from infested areas is rubbing alcohol. When bed bugs come into contact with this solution, their bodies will dry out. That causes their outer protective layer to become damaged, making it difficult for them to survive. Furthermore, the pungent odor of rubbing alcohol repels these insects. Resulting in bed bugs to avoid areas where the substance has been applied. Just keep in mind that rubbing alcohol is flammable. Therefore, using this liquid in a well-ventilated location and away from open flames or heat sources is crucial.

Tangopaso, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons License

Due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties, tea tree oil has become a well-known natural home remedy for warding off bed pests. The ingredient called terpinen-4-ol found in tea tree oil can eliminate these bugs. In fact, it harms their nervous and respiratory systems when they are subjected to the oil. Bed bugs may also avoid regions that have been treated with the substance due to the oils strong scent, which can be repulsive to them.

Although tea tree oil can be useful in warding off bed bugs, you should only apply it sparingly. Undiluted tea tree oil may irritate some peoples skin and trigger allergic reactions in others. Before using the oil on your skin or in your house, dilute it with a carrier oil, such as almond or coconut oil.

Madeleine Steinbach/

Another effective natural repellent for these insects is peppermint oil. The fragrance of the essential oil contains menthol. Researchers have discovered menthol is especially effective at killing bed bugs and their eggs.

Cinnamon is a spice with a warm, sweet aroma that has been frequently used as a natural bed bug repellent. Bed bugs dislike the smell of cinnamon because it includes a number of compounds that are extremely toxic to these insects, including cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid.

Cinnamon can, however, be messy and can leave stains on materials or other surfaces. Simply sprinkle cinnamon around the edge of your bed or infested area if you dont want to place it on your mattress. Use this spice sparingly, as its particles can irritate the respiratory system causing unwanted health issues.


If youre concerned about bed bugs infesting your mattress, you can take several steps to prevent them from settling in your bed. The first step is to inspect your sheets or mattress for any tiny, rust-colored stains that might be caused by bed bugs that have been feeding on you. Additionally, if you discover the shedding of insect skins or the appearance of tiny, light-colored eggs, both are signs of an epidemic.

Next, clean your bedding and mattress on a frequent basis. Washing your linens and blankets in hot water can aid in the elimination of any bed bugs or eggs that may be present. Finally, another alternative is to use mattress and pillow protective covers. These covers are impenetrable to bed bugs and can aid in the prevention of infestations in your mattress and pillows.

While natural remedies and spring cleaning can help in some instances, more severe infestations might require the assistance of a professional who deals with pest control. Regarding pests, its critical to be proactive and vigilant. They can rapidly become a significant problem if left unchecked. Keeping your house pest-free will result in a safe and healthy living environment for you and your family.


Identifying bed bugs is not always easy. They are small, nocturnal pests that feed on the blood of humans and animals while they sleep. Not only can they be hard to spot because of their size, but they also hide in cracks and crevices during the day making detection even more difficult.

To identify an infestation, look for these signs:

Small brown spots or stains on mattresses, sheets, and other surfaces where bed bugs have been feeding.

Shed exoskeletons and dark spots of bug excrement on bedding, furniture, or carpets.

Live bugs, eggs, or nymphs in the creases and folds of mattresses and bedding.

Tiny white eggs which may be stuck to fabric fibers.

If you suspect an infestation and are unable to control it yourself, a professional can help you. Pest control companies use pesticides that contain pyrethrins or pyrethroids to control bed bugs.

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Discover 4 Smells That Bed Bugs Absolutely Hate and Keep Them ... - AZ Animals

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What Can You Put On Your Body To Prevent Bed Bug Bites

This guide will show you how to stop bed bugs from biting. Youll find out five things that you can put on your skin to prevent bed bug bites while youre sleeping.

The best part? All of them are skin-friendly with no side effects!

Plus, this guide also reveals the secret way to prepare your bed that will bring the chances of getting bed bug bites to almost zero.

Lets dive in.

You can use any one of the five things on your skin to repel bed bugs from biting you

They keep bed bugs off of your body. And all of these are bed bug repellents.

Lets find out how you can use them in a right way for maximum effect.

Vicks VapoRub repels not only cough and cold, but also bed bugs.

To stop bed bugs from biting you, use Vicks VapoRub on parts of your body that are prone to bed bug bites, like the neck, knees, lower back, belly, and elbows.

Ever wondered why Vicks VapoRub is a good bed bug repellant?

The pungent smell of eucalyptus and methanol in Vicks VapoRub repels bed bugs and many other bugs.

But you must keep in mind that you need to apply a generous amount of Vicks VapoRub on the bite prone areas of your body.

These areas are your neck, shoulders, the undersides of the knees and elbows.

Research has proved that essential oils have insecticidal properties. But essential oils are not insects or bed bug killers.

Bed bugs dont like the smell of essential oils. The strong smell of essential oils is highly pungent for bed bugs.

There are four types of essential oils that work best- Eucalyptus essential oil, Tea tree essential oil, Peppermint essential oil, and Lavender essential oil.

Essential oils can be tricky to buy unless you know how to buy a genuine essential oil.

If you use a poor-quality essential oil, you wont protect yourself from bed bug bites while sleeping.

Choosing the right essential oil is a big topic. But to keep things short and simple, heres what you should look for while buying essential oils

The University of Minnesota has this informative post on how to choose the right essential oils without getting duped.

There are two ways to use an essential oil on your body.

The first way, and the most effective way, is to directly apply the essential to the places of your body where bed bugs bite.

But, if you do it daily, youll soon run out of essential oil.

Quality essential oils are expensive. Youll create a big hole in your pocket if you use this method every night before sleeping.

So, the second way is to make a spray of by mixing essential oils with water.

Mix an ounce of essential oil with a gallon of water, and spray it around your bed, on the mattress and bed frame.

Spraying it on your body and on the bed frames will certainly keep bed bugs away from your bed and skin.

White vinegar is a cheaper, yet effective, alternative to essential oils.

The acidic nature and pungent smell of vinegar repel bed bugs and many other bugs like ants, roaches, and centipedes.

But you dont have to pour a bottle of vinegar on yourself.

All you need to do is take a piece of cotton, wet it in vinegar, and rub it on the parts of your body where bed bugs bite.

To keep bed bugs away from your bed, you can spray a mixture of vinegar and water around your bed too.

The only adverse effect of spraying vinegar too often on your bed is that your mattress will start to smell like vinegar if you use it daily.

There are some excellent bed bug repellents for skin that you can use before sleeping.

We highly recommend Avon Bug Guard. Its water-resistant, PBA free, and its non-greasy, making it perfect for everyday use.

Use the bug repellent spray on your forearms, at the back of knees and elbows, neck, back, and on your feet. These are the common areas where bed bugs bite.

As we mentioned earlier, even if you use creams or essential oils, always wear clothes while sleeping.

If you dont, then the bed sheet and blankets will remove the creams and oils from your skin, exposing you to bites from bed bugs.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, coconut oil has bug repellent properties that are stronger than DEET. (source)

The study showed that coconut oil has fatty acids that repel flies, ticks, mosquitoes, and bed bugs.

So, if youve mosquitoes in your home and bed bugs, then using coconut oil on your skin will stop them from biting you.

Just like the essential oils, the more natural the coconut oil is, the better.

Coconut oil is sticky, and it smells too. So, you, your clothes, and bedsheets might smell coconut-ty.

But there is some excellent quality coconut oil like COCO & CO that are non-greasy, non-smelly, and 100% pure. They work well in keeping bed bugs away.

You can sleep without bed bug bites despite a bed bug infestation in your home.

To make the five things that repel bed bugs work even better, youll need to prepare your bed a bit before sleeping.

But dont worry. Its not a whole lot of work.

There are three things that you can do within minutes before going to bed. Lets find them out.

Bed bugs can bite you on your neck, shoulders, legs, on the folds of knees, and elbows. Bed bug bites appear in a zig-zag fashion as itchy red welts.

The more your skin is exposed, the more bed bug bites youll get.

So, sleep with your clothes on covering most parts of your body. Before that, use the five things that you learned that prevent bed bug bites.

Bed bugs cant bite through clothing. So, a night suite with pajamas is essential to deny bed bugs access to your skin.

Do not wear any shorts and tank tops while sleeping till youve gotten rid of bed bugs.

If you wear the bed bug repellents and sleep with most of your skin exposed, the repellents will rub off against the bedsheet.

Thatll lead to bed bug bites.

Steam cleaning your mattress is a godsend method to prevent bed bug bites and kill bed bugs.


Its because heat is a highly effective bed bug killer. And steam cleaners produce heat.

Bed bugs cant survive temperatures more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Any heat more than that will kill bed bugs and baby bugs and even destroy their eggs on your bed.

So, take a steam cleaner and use it on your bed mattress. Slowly clean along the edges, corners, and folds of the mattress.

Bed bugs hide in these folds. You can also clean the headboard and bed frame of your bed with the steam cleaner.

Its an optional step. But it works wonders.

Spraying bed bug repellent on clothes and wearing bed bug repellents on your skin add double-layered protection that prevents bed bug bites.

When theres a severe bed bug infestation in your home, bed bugs in dresser drawers are also possible.

Bed bugs will take refuge in the clothes and linen that you keep in the dresser drawers, especially when theyre close to your bed.

Also use bug repellent sprays on the fabric that you keep in the dresser drawer, closet, or wardrobe.

No, you cant. Bed bug bites cause zig zag itchy red welts on the skin. These welts last for at least 1-2 weeks before they go away.

If youre not allergic to bed bug bites, then you wont even get these welts despite getting bitten by the bed bugs.

Applying toothpaste on bed bug bites is a great way to soothe the itching that bed bug bites cause.

The toothpaste contains methanol which is an anti-itching agent.

Apply toothpaste on the bite wounds. Within a few minutes youll get a relieving cooling sensation on the bitten portion.

There are other products like calamine lotion, peppermint essential oil, fresh aloe vera gel, and a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda that also provide relief from the itching of bed bug bites.

There are many unproven and mythical rumors that float around claiming to prevent bed bug bites.

You must not waste your time and money on them.

Here are the top 7 rumors and myths about preventing bed bug bites and to kill bed bugs.

Not at all. Its the biggest bed bug myth around. Vaseline, and any other kind of petroleum jelly, wont stop bed bugs from biting you.

Many believe that if you use generous amounts of Vaseline on your body and around your bed frame, then the bed bugs will get stuck and wont be able to bite.

Thats wrong.

Vaseline doesnt have any insecticidal properties like essential oils and coconut oil, which can repel bed bugs.

Bed bugs can easily bite through the layer of Vaseline on your skin and suck your blood.

Please dont do it. Burning sulfur doesnt have any effect on bed bugs.

And burning sulfur is dangerous. Smoke from sulfur causes shortness of breath, sinus, and it can even damage your eye.

When it comes to getting rid of bed bugs, theres one thing that you should never waste your money on, and thats bug bombs.

Bug bombs are ineffective because they cant seep into the gaps where the bed bugs hide.

Once you use the bug bomb, the bed bugs will escape and hide in tight corners and gaps.

You might be successful in killing a few them, but not the entire population.

Also, bug bombs dont have residual toxicity that can stick on the bed bugs skin and spread to other bugs.

Thats why its always a wise thing to do to contact a reliable pest controller to get rid of bed bugs.

Its another rumor or myth. The CO2 from the fire extinguisher will not freeze the bed bugs to death.

In fact, CO2 attracts bed bugs.

So, dont waste the gas inside your fire extinguisher to kill the bed bugs. Well, you can use the canister to smash the bed bug to death.

The laughable belief is that bed bugs bite only when the lights are off. Therefore, many people sleep with the lights on, thinking that itll trick the bed bugs.

Unfortunately, it doesnt!

Bed bugs bite when youre stationary. So, it doesnt matter to them if the lights are on.

No, it doesnt. Even if you use virgin olive oil, it wont.

Its better to use olive oil for cooking rather than putting it on your skin to repel bed bugs. It simply doesnt work.

No, it wont. Bed bugs, like termites and roaches, are tough and hard to kill pests.

Bed bugs love the humid and tropical climate, but that doesnt mean theyll die in winters.

Bed bugs can go without a blood meal by laying low for 400 days.

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Bed Bug Powder: How To Use It Effectively to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed bug powders are a very effective way to kill bed bugs and get rid of them from your home for good. Most bed bug powders contain diatomaceous earth (DE) which is non-toxic and generally safe to use around the home. Many people use natural powders for killing bed bugs because they last for a long time and can help deal with recurrent or persistent bed bug infestations.

Waking up in the morning with itchy red bumps around your ankles and black specks on your bedding could be a sign that you have a bed bug problem. Because they are so tiny and only come out at night, bed bugs can be difficult to eradicate from your home. Unlike chemicals that poison the bugs and can be dangerous to humans, bed bug powders from food grade diatomaceous earth wont harm you or your family. That means that you can use bed bug powders to get rid of these pesky critters while still staying in your own home.

In this article, you will find out all you need to know about using powders to kill bed bugs that have infested your home. I will also look at ways to spot the signs of a bed bug invasion and where to dust the bed bug powder for best results.

Diatomaceous earth is the main or only ingredient in many bed bug powders. In fact, you can easily make your own powder at home to control bed bugs and get rid of them from your home for good. Bed bug powders and diatomaceous earth work as desiccants, which means that they dehydrate the bugs to kill them.

According to the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), diatomaceous earth is a substance made from grinding up the fossilized remains of diatoms a type of algae. This forms a white fine powder or dust that acts as a pesticide. DE kills bugs, ants, roaches, and other insects by sticking to their exoskeletons. This destroys their outer shell and causes the pests to dehydrate and eventually die.1

The NPIC says that diatomaceous earth pesticide powders are registered for use against bed bugs, fleas, ticks, spiders, and cockroaches. Many studies into dust insecticides have shown their effectiveness in killing bed bugs.

The journal PloS One reported that diatomaceous earth powder helps to kill off groups of bed bugs. Researchers found that the white dust sticks to the shell of bed bugs and is transferred to other bed bugs and nymphs. This causes bed bugs and nymphs to die and it can be an effective natural insecticide for bed bugs in hard to reach places.2

Another study published in the journal Insects found that diatomaceous earth powder can help to greatly reduce large numbers of bed bugs. This was recommended as a cost-effective and practical way to kill off bed bugs.3

Bed bug powders dont have to be ingested for them to be effective. This means that you dont have to rely on the bugs ingesting the dust for it to be effective. All you need to do, is make sure and use food grade diatomaceous earth powder, keep it dry, and dust it around places where the bed bugs are lurking.

Professor Stuart Hill from Department of Entomology and Ecological Agriculture Projects describes diatomaceous earth as an ideal non-toxic pesticide. Prof. Hill says that bed bug powders have an insecticidal effect for as long as the powder is on the bed bugs skin. It is also safe to use around the house and there are no recorded harmful effects to humans or pets.4

In fact, food grade diatomaceous earth is so safe that you can add it to food to get rid of intestinal parasites and worms. You can also use diatomaceous earth to get rid of ants and other creepy crawlies.

Before you use diatomaceous earth powder to exterminate bed bugs, its important to know the signs of a bed bug infestation and where to look for them.

Bed bugs can be difficult to spot and, if you dont get rid of them completely, you can soon have a recurring bug infestation to deal with.

According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, it can be difficult to distinguish bed bug bites from other insect bites. Some people even mistake a cluster of bed bug bites as just an itchy rash on the body. Bed bug bites usually cause symptoms like itchy red spots with a darker center, spots in a straight line or cluster, and they usually occur on the legs, arms, or face.5 Bed bugs can leave a nasty cluster of bites on your skin that can last for a few days.

To look for bed bugs, the Mayo Clinic recommends looking for signs of them around mattresses, bed frames, headboards, or behind furniture beside beds. However, bed bugs also reside behind torn wallpaper, behind baseboards, or in the seams of pillows and cushions.6

Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that signs that bed bugs are infesting an area are a distinctive musty smell, tiny blood stains on bed linen, evidence of feces and shed skin where the bugs are lurking.7

Once you have established where bed bugs are residing, you can use a natural bed bug powder to start eradicating them.

Here is a step-by-step guide to kill bed bugs for good and prevent a recurring infestation. Please remember, if you are using diatomaceous earth as your bed bug treatment powder, only use DE that is classed as food grade (here isone example). Food grade diatomaceous earth is safe to use around the home and its an effective home treatment for killing bed bugs and fleas.

The first step is to locate where you have a bed bug infestation before applying the bed bug powder. You should thoroughly examine all cracks and crevices in your bed frame, along base boards, behind drawers, and behind torn wallpaper.

The next step is to physically remove any bed bugs, fecal matter, shed skin, and eggs that can be seen around furniture.

Researchers from the Texas A&M University recommend stripping the bed and vacuuming the mattresses, box springs, bed frame, and anywhere else you found evidence of bed bugs. After this, you should discard the vacuum bag outdoors.8

All sheets, pillowcases, and other bed linen should be washed in hot water and then put on a hot dryer cycle for at least 30 minutes to kill any remaining bed bugs and their eggs.

Hot steam is another recommended home remedy to eradicate bed bugs and you can use it after vacuuming.The hot steam can get rid of bed bugs from small crevices and cracks. It can also penetrate through the mattress lining and eradicate bug infestations inside the mattress.

Another practical way to destroy the irritating pests lurking in your mattresses is to encase your mattress in a specially designed bed bug-proof encasement. This will prevent bed bugs from coming out at night and biting people sleeping on the bed. Eventually, the bugs will die because they have no food source. In addition to encasing your bed items, you can also place bed bug traps (such as this one) under your bed legs to stop bed bugs crawling up.

To completely exterminate all bed bugs from your living areas, you need to use bed bug powder. This will eventually remove all traces of bed bugs and help you sleep easier at night.

There are many commercial products listed as natural bed bug killing powders (here is one example). However, you can dust affected areas with diatomaceous earth which is just as effective as powders for bed bugs.

To get rid of bed bug with diatomaceous earth powder, this is how you should apply it:

Make sure to wear a mask to prevent inhaling the fine dust and also read the next section about precautions when using bed bug powders.

As long as the powder for bed bugs stays dry, it will continue to dehydrate and kill the bugs. All it takes is for the bug to get a little of the powder on its skin for the remedy to work.

If you have a large bed bug infestation, there is always the chance that some bed bugs have migrated to other rooms. Therefore, to prevent bed bugs becoming a major problem, you should check other rooms.

Other places to do some preventative bug dusting include:

Even though food grade diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic pesticide that really works for killing bed bugs, you should take some precautions when using it around the home.

Diatomaceous earth is a fine abrasive dust and you should avoid breathing it in when applying the white powder. The National Pesticide Information Center says that DE can irritate your nasal passages and cause eye irritation. This can result in watery eyes, itching, and redness around your eyelids. Also, irritation in your lungs could result in a dry cough.1

Therefore, when using powders as a bed bug killer, you should wear a mask to prevent inhaling the fine dust.

Using bed bug powders for bug control is just one effective tool in your fight against these invasive critters. There are other great ways to get rid of bed bugs naturally without having to resort to harmful chemicals.

Essential oils. Essential oils are a great way to get rid of various types of bugs around the home. Many essential oils contain compounds that act as a bug and insect repellent but wont harm humans or pets.

For example, the journal Insects published studies on the efficiency of various essential oils in repelling bed bugs. They found that essential oils like lemongrass, peppermint oil, clove oil, and cinnamon oil, among others, were effective bed bug pesticides.9 Also, tea tree oil has proven antimicrobial activity that can destroy cell membranes.10

You can make a natural bed bug pesticide from essential oils by mixing 10 drops of lavender oil, 6 drops of lemongrass oil, 6 drops of tea tree oil, and 10 drops of thyme oil with some water in a small spray bottle. Spray liberally along cracks and crevices of your bed frames to get rid of bed bugs for good. Use the natural bed bug spray daily until all the signs of bed bugs have disappeared. Remember to shake the natural spray well before each application.

Just remember not to spray the natural bug repellent on areas that have been treated with DE. For bed bug powder to continue to be effective, it has to be dry.

Tea tree oil is also a great spot treatment to take the itch out of insect bites and prevent the itchy bump becoming infected. All you have to do is dab a tiny amount of tea tree oil on the itchy skin and let it dry. For other natural treatments, read my article about the best home remedies to get rid of bed bug bites.

Cold treatment. Bed bugs die off in extreme cold temperatures. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends freezing any bug-infested items that will fit in a freezer. So, you can easily exterminate bed bugs from bed linen, sheets, and pillowcases by leaving them in the freezer for 4 days.11

Use bed bug sprays. There are commercial and homemade natural bed bug sprays to kill these nasty critters. You can find out how to make and use these sprays in my article about the most effective bed bug sprays.

For other ways to kill bed bugs, read my article about the top 10 home remedies to get rid of bed bugs.

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Bed Bug Powder: How To Use It Effectively to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

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