Bed bugs are one of the most feared pest problems. These bugs are efficient hitchhikers and can be easily transported from one place to another. Controlling them before they start biting you or your family is essential so that you can avoid adverse allergic reactions and mental, physical, and economic damage.
Baking soda is a mild agent to control the infestation of bed bugs. However, it is best used in combination with other methods such as vacuum cleaning, heat treatments, or using an encasement. You can also kill and check the growth of bed bugs by using natural essential oils of tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, etc. For permanent removal, consider using the services of a nearby pest controller.
Most homemade methods are just a temporary solution to get rid of bed bugs. Regular inspections and professional treatments may be required for their permanent removal. Continue reading to find out what are some of the best ways to kill bed bugs instantly and permanently.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius or Cimex hemipterus) are small, brown-colored, tiny (about the size of an apple seed) insects that feed on human blood. Unlike most insects, these bugs do not fly and usually stick to human skin or take shelter within mattresses, bed frames, box springs, headboards, furniture, or anywhere where they can get access and feed on human blood at night. Bed bugs are most common in hotel rooms or home spaces that have not been cleaned or disinfected for ages.
A bug bite (also known as Cimicosis) is usually painless at first, but it slowly develops skin rashes, itching, welts, redness, and leaves prominent blisters on the skin. Other signs of bed bug bites include blood stains on sheets, clothes, mattresses, and other bedding material.
Using Baking Soda To Kill Bed Bugs
If you suspect bug infestation, then one of the most popular methods that people believe in – is the use of baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. However, there is no real scientific evidence that shows baking soda can effectively kill bed bugs and prevent infestation for a long time.
But, baking soda does have the property of being a mild disinfectant and is considered good in absorbing fluids. Thus, baking soda sticks to the waxy layer of the bed bug's outer shell and cuts through to kill it. Baking soda is also an efficient 'abrasive' which can be used to scour away bed bugs. Thus, while baking soda can help, you do need better methods for the complete removal of bed bugs. Nevertheless, here is how to use baking soda to kill bed bugs:
- Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda and concentrate on the infested area (do note that the baking soda should not come in contact with moisture otherwise, it won't be effective).
- Wait for about 24 hours.
- Vacuum clean with an upholstery attachment.
Diatomaceous earth also works on the same concept as baking soda. It dries out the oils in the bugs and eventually kills them.
What Kills Bed Bugs Instantly?
If baking soda has failed you, or if you are hesitating in contacting a pest controller on an exterminator, here are some of the most efficient DIY methods you can try to kill bed bugs instantly:
1. Using Essential Oils
The volatile compounds released from essential oils like Clove, Tea tree, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lavender, Rosemary, and Lemongrass are very effective in killing and preventing the infestation of bed bugs. Spritz or add a few drops of any one or a mix of essential oils directly onto the infested area to get rid of bugs within a few hours. This is one of the most effective natural methods that also leaves the room with a pleasant scent.
2. Heat Treatment Or Handheld Steamers
Bed bugs cannot survive at temperatures beyond 140 degrees Fahrenheit (or 60℃). Since bed bugs are usually found in bedsheets, bed covers, mattress covers, etc., you can clean these materials by running a wash cycle with the highest temperature setting. Make sure to remove all the washable items when you use the heat treatment method.
Users can also use handheld steamers at 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. When using the steamer, press it close to the areas where there is a probability for the bed bugs to hide.
3. Using An Encasement
Bed bugs are living things, and they require oxygen to breathe and survive. When you use an encasement, such as a tight plastic wrap, the bed bugs are suffocated, and they eventually get killed. Encasement should be done for at least 2-3 days to ensure that all bugs are dead.
4. A Vinegar Water Mixture
Using a 50:50 mixture of Vinegar and Water is another great way to naturally get rid of bed bugs. Transfer the mixture into a spray bottle and spritz it onto the entire area of infestation. You can also add a few drops of fragrant essential oil such as rose, lemon, or lavender to help replace the overpowering smell of vinegar.
5. Vacuum Cleaning
As described above, using baking soda + vacuum cleaner can be quite effective in cleaning the infested bedding.
Start by scrubbing away the mattress with a hard brush. Don't forget to check the seams and other hidden areas. This will expose the eggs, and it will become easier for the vacuum cleaner to pick the bugs and their eggs. Spread some baking soda and leave it for ~8 to 24 hours. Follow vacuum cleaning. Once the entire area is vacuum cleaned, seal the mattress in plastic wrap and place it under the sun. If you are not planning to use it for the long run, keep the mattress sealed shut for at least a year.
How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs Permanently?
Chemical pesticides like pyrethroid or pyrethrins are recommended to get rid of bed bugs permanently. However, these are not the 'cleanest' ways of killing bugs. Such toxic chemicals are known to interfere with our brain functioning and nervous system. Some tips to get rid of bed bugs permanently are:
- Identify the bug infestation as early as possible. This will prevent the laying of eggs and limit the spread of the bug population. Besides obvious signs on your body, a strange 'musky odor' released by the bed bugs is one of the first signs of infestation.
- Change and wash the fabrics frequently. Dry them at the highest heat settings possible.
- Deep clean the mattress at least once in two months (or whenever you suspect infestation) using a vacuum cleaner.
- Declutter your home. If you are not using certain spaces or articles regularly, the bed bugs will eventually find it safe to hide in such places. Dry and cool environments make optimum areas for bed bugs to sustain. Regularly clean your closet and declutter stationary, clothes, kitchen supplies, and other items to check the growth of bed bugs. You may also consider sealing those areas which cannot be cleaned.
- Look for a pest control unit near you, preferably one with a lot of positive reviews, to get rid of bed bugs for the longest time. Since these treatments can often last for more than 6 hours, you are advised to keep your family and pets away from home for a few days or until the effects of all the toxic ingredients have subdued. Don't forget to seal your belongings before the treatment starts. Ask the pest controllers for regular inspections to prevent future episodes of such infestations.
Living with bed bugs is not only a gross feeling, but it is also very harmful to your health in the long run. Use a combination of remedies like baking soda to kill bed bugs or natural methods like rubbing alcohol, steam, essential oils, and others listed above for the most effective results.
Feruza is a mom and a blogger. She had a neck pain for 15 years, which made her interested in everything about pillows.
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