Does Kerosene Kill Bed Bugs?
Kerosene has been used to kill and prevent bed bugs throughout history, even when mattresses were made of straw. Hundreds of years ago, it was even common to place the legs of your bed frame in cans of kerosene to prevent bed bugs from climbing into your bed. Therefore, it is no wonder that people still use kerosene for bed bugs today.
Bed bugs have a nasty ability to resist many over the counter pest control options. However, even after hundreds of years of use, these durable pests have not grown immune to kerosene, making it one of the most affordable and effective ways to treat bed bugs.
This article will discuss the best ways to use kerosene to kill bed bugs and how kerosene can be used safely.
Does Kerosene Kill Bed Bug Eggs?
While many people swear by kerosene to kill both adult bed bugs and their eggs, there is not much evidence to support this theory. Kerosene will certainly kill bed bugs and any bed bug larvae. However, bed bug eggs are much harder to control and generally will not be affected by kerosene.
The best way to get rid of bed bug eggs is heat. Sheets and linens can be dried in a clothes dryer for at least 40 minutes to kill bed bug eggs. Rubbing alcohol is also effective at killing bed bug eggs. However, alcohol should not be used at the same time as kerosene or any other chemicals.
Is kerosene Safe to Use to Kill Bed Bugs?
Kerosene is often thought of as a dangerous substance because of its strong fumes and flammability. However, when used responsibly, kerosene is a safe option for bed bug treatment. Kerosene is flammable but only at extremely high temperatures or with direct flame.
Never smoke in an area that has been treated with kerosene. You should also turn off any appliances that emit heat or sparks before using kerosene. It is also not recommended to vacuum a room that has been exposed to kerosene due to the risk of electrical sparks.
Kerosene fumes can also be harmful or even fatal when inhaled.
A mask and gloves should always be worn when handling kerosene or if you are present in a room where kerosene is being used. When using kerosene to treat bed bugs, thoroughly air out any indoor spaces, as well as sheets, linens, or other bedding where kerosene was used. This should vaporize any traces of kerosene and eliminate fumes.
How Is Kerosene Used to Kill Bed Bugs?
Kerosene is used to kill bed bugs by spraying liquid kerosene oil on any surfaces where bed bugs are present. Kerosene oil combined with other liquids such as turpentine, pennyroyal oil, benzene, or eucalyptus oil, is also effective and can be less dangerous. These are old strategies, but they may still be effective.
When creating your own bed bug spray, a tank sprayer with a hand pump and adjustable nozzle is recommended, but a regular spray bottle could also be used.
You can also use a rag soaked in kerosene to wipe down any surfaces where bed bugs are present such as:
- Bed Frames
- Window Sills/Panes
Another option is to use a few drops of kerosene in any cracks and crevices where bed bugs may be present. We do not recommend spraying your mattress or box spring directly because it may absorb the kerosene smell, resulting in an unpleasant place to sleep.
Kerosene Alternatives to Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
Rubbing alcohol, turpentine, diatomaceous earth, and benzene can be used to treat bed bugs as an alternative to kerosene. If you are a regular smoker or have open flames in your home, it is not recommended to use rubbing alcohol around your home. A few years ago, an Ohio woman burned her house down while attempting to using rubbing alcohol to treat bed bugs. Be very careful.
There are also some over the counter pesticides available that can help to kill bed bugs. Bed bug removal professionals also use tools like bed bug heaters to stop the infestation. These are strategies we generally recommend.
A complete list of EPA recommended, over the counter pesticides for bed bugs can be found here. When using over the counter insecticides, as with any chemical products, always be sure to read any warning labels and follow instructions for safe use.
Bed bugs are elusive pests that can be difficult to control. However, kerosene can temporarily eliminate bed bugs when used safely and appropriately but is not a permanent solution. We recommend contacting a bed bug infestation specialist to ensure bed bugs are eliminated from your home safely and effectively.