Eucalyptus Oil for Bed Bugs
When trying to treat a bed bug infestation in your home, it is important to take every possible precaution to ensure that the colony will not survive your efforts. Bed bug colonies are notoriously resilient. Even when you think that you may have killed the last of the parasites, you still run the risk of missing one or two, which can re-establish the colony quickly.
While bed bugs only feed every few days, the large populations that spring up during infestation can mean that you will be bitten multiple times a night. To make matters worse, bed bug bites are red, itchy, and unsightly. Not to mention the fecal stains that these critters leave on your bedsheets! Overall, bed bugs are disgusting, and you will want them out of your home the second they arrive.
Exterminators can effectively eliminate bed bug infestations with their tools of the trade. Typically, however, they are only called in when a colony has already firmly established itself. At this point, the only option to make sure the bed bugs are gone is to use an insecticide, destroy the items that have been infested, or both.
Some people are understandably wary about using chemicals that may be harmful to humans when treating bed bugs. For this reason, many people consider the use of essential oils to treat bed bug infestations. While the effectiveness of essential oils is debatable, some people swear by their usage.
For many, it is worth a try before hiring an exterminator, but you should know that a pest control expert will always have the most effective and proven treatments when it comes to bed bugs. That being said, essential oils can help drive bed bugs away from certain areas and kill the pests if used correctly.
Does Eucalyptus Essential Oil Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
One of the most commonly used essential oils is eucalyptus oil. Please note that eucalyptus oil can cause skin damage over time, especially in concentrated amounts. For this reason, it is highly recommended to dilute the oil before using it to kill any bed bugs.
You can use eucalyptus oil solution on your bed sheets and mattress to kill bed bugs. This is usually applied in a spray bottle to the bed for the easiest application. The effectiveness of treating the bed itself can be quite variable, depending on where the bed bugs are hiding.
The other way to use eucalyptus oil to fight bed bugs (cimex lectularius) is by adding it to laundry loads. If you are washing sheets, clothing, or other fabric that has been exposed to bed bugs, you can add some eucalyptus oil to the washer. The oil may be able to kill any eggs or bugs that have hitched a ride on your laundry. This use of oil is more reliable than the spraying method.
If your home has already been treated for bed bugs, this is a great way to add one last layer of protection to the affected items and kill any last remnants or stragglers.
How to Make and Use a Eucalyptus Oil Spray for Bed Bugs
Creating a eucalyptus oil spray/repellent for bed bugs is very easy! All you need is the oil, some water, and a spray bottle. Fill the spray bottle with about 30 ml of water, and then add 10 to 20 drops of the eucalyptus oil to the water. Mix it thoroughly and spray the area that is affected by bed bugs. You may need to use multiple spray sessions to effectively repel and get rid of bed bugs.
A major downfall of essential oil sprays compared to traditional insecticides is that the spray will need to make direct contact with bed bugs to be effective. If a bed bug is to walk through insecticide spray or powder, it has a good chance of dying days later.
Other Essential Oils That Stop Bed Bugs
Eucalyptus oil may be a commonly used essential oil, but it is not the only one that repels or kills insects. You can find many options if you are looking for essential oil treatments to get rid of insects.
Blood Orange Oil
A 2017 study tested the effectiveness of essential oils sprays compared to traditional insecticides. This study found that blood orange oil had the highest mortality rate among all oils tested.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is always a solid choice. It can kill insects on contact; it also has certain properties that can treat limited skin conditions. Pure tea tree oil can kill insects very rapidly, but it is not recommended (like any other essential oil, undiluted tea tree oil can cause irritation). A nice tea tree oil spray after heat treatment of your bed will stop any remaining bed bugs.
Lemon/Lemon Grass Oil
Lemon oil/lemongrass oil is another good option. Like eucalyptus, this kind of essential oil can be added to the laundry to kill bed bug eggs and adults. Lemon eucalyptus oil also contains high levels of citronellal and citronellol, making it a great repellent for bed bugs and many other insects. Citronella
A 2014 study showed that some essential oil-based sprays resulted in a bed bug reduction comparable to synthetic pesticide sprays. These sprays are great options for homeowners that do not have experience with pesticides that can be potentially dangerous to humans.
Caution With Essential Oils
Essential oils can be effective when used properly, but you should know the potential risks before use. Essential oils can be toxic to pets. ALWAYS consult your veterinarian before using essential oils in your home if you have pets.
Never use pure essential oils on your skin or items that will directly touch your skin. These are extremely potent extracts that can damage or irritate your skin cells. Using water to dilute essential oils is the best way to make sure that they will not have any undesirable side effects.
Lastly, keep in mind that your bed bug colony may survive essential oil treatment. Bed bugs can hide in places that are very hard to reach with any spray, or you may miss one or two bugs. If you believe that bed bugs have infested your home, you will likely need to call a bed bug control expert .
If you would like to try other solutions before this step, feel free to use essential oils. You can also use a hot iron on infested material to kill bed bugs or steam treatments. Wash your fabrics on the hottest setting. Following these steps with an essential oil spray can create an extremely potent combination when dealing with bed bugs.