How Not to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: Busting the Myths of DIY Pest Solutions

So you’ve got a bed bug problem—quite likely a situation you never wished to be in. Whether or not this is your first experience with these unpleasant visitors, getting rid of them is a must. And while you may want to try your hand at a DIY option or give essential oils a shot (if Pinterest says they work, it must be true, right?), we’re here to tell you that there are definite ways to not get rid of bed bugs.

Essential Oils: Not So Essential After All

Over the past several years, essential oils have spiked in popularity—claiming they can heal everything from headaches to arthritis. But using them to get rid of bed bugs? That’s a different story.

While it’s been proven by a few studies that tea tree oil can kill insects, it doesn’t mean you should rush to use this DIY method for bed bugs.

For starters, even if tea tree oil does kill bed bugs, the insects would have to come into contact with the oil. This specific method can result in a lot of wasted energy on your part given that in a bed bug outbreak there can be hundreds hiding in your mattress, furniture or even walls. (Bed bugs can hide in some pretty unexpected places; here are five places you may not have thought of.) If you were to kill every bed bug you saw with tea tree oil (maybe with a spray bottle?), there would still be hundreds potentially hiding from you breeding new bugs! #neverendingbattle #viciouscycle

The simple truth is combatting a bed bug infestation requires a full-court press approach: washing and drying items like bedding and clothing, vacuuming and systematically treating all areas where bed bugs could be hiding. Recommended treatments like Heatigation and scheduling a follow-up should be done to ensure the bed bugs haven’t returned. Essential oils can’t combat all of those items and places—they weren’t made to kill obnoxious pests.

In addition to the fact that essential oils just don’t work as pest control, they are also unregulated (unlike traditional methods of pest control). Another reason to steer clear of this DIY method is tea tree oils (among others) are toxic to pets. If exposed, animals can suffer serious consequences like vomiting, respiratory distress, tremors and even liver failure. You’re already dealing with bed bugs—you certainly don’t want a sick pet on your hands, too.

And it goes without saying that essential oils (especially tea tree oil) can be hazardous to your own health and are toxic if swallowed.

Skip the DIY

Here’s another way to not get rid of bed bugs: alcohol. While some evidence suggests that certain alcohols (depending on the ethanol content) can kill bed bugs on contact, we don’t recommend trying it. Rubbing alcohol specifically poses a health hazard causing respiratory problems if inhaled and is poisonous if swallowed. Not to mention, it’s flammable.

So what should you do instead?

Become best friends with heat: not only will bed bugs at all stages of life die at 122°F, but sending them to their grave is easier than you think.

  • Wash and dry your bedding and clothing on the highest setting.
  • Use a steam treatment on couches and chairs.
  • Use the oven or bed bug hot box for items that can’t be washed or put into the dryer. Make sure to monitor them closely!
  • Do a home heat treatment. Completed by pest control professionals, heat treatment is your best option to safely and permanently get rid of bed bugs. During a home heat treatment, the exterminator will use professional equipment to raise your home’s temperature and thereby kill bed bugs in your walls, carpet and anywhere else they could be hiding.

Have more questions about using home remedies to get rid of bed bugs? We’ve got answers! Read FAQs: Home Remedies for Bed Bugs.

Worried you may have a bed bug infestation? Contact ScherZinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers who have engineered new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our websiteFacebook, or Twitter.