Some of the most frequently asked questions regarding bed bug control revolves around what kills bed bugs. These are stubborn and resilient pests, and there is a lot of misinformation about what does and doesn’t kill bed bugs, so hopefully this FAQ will clear up any questions.
What Kills Bed Bugs Naturally?
Let’s start out with more natural, or homeopathic ways to kill bed bugs.
Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Bed Bugs?
It sure does. This is one of the most effective methods for killing and controlling bed bugs and it is very safe and natural. Diatomaceous earth, or diatomite, is a fine, soft, siliceuos powder. It uses a combination of its abrasive and absorptive properties to stick to the bed bugs, and absorb the lipids in their exoskeleton. The result is that they die from dehydration. The powder used for this MUST be food grade diatomaceous earth which means it has been heat treated and the powder has very small particles. Products will be labeled prominently “Food Grade” so be sure that this is what you get.
Does Heat Kill Bed Bugs?
Indeed, heat kills bed bugs. What temperature kills bed bugs, you ask? Bed bugs die at a temperature above about 115°F (~46°C). Which brings us to the next question:
Does Stream Kill Bed Bugs? Heat treatment can be applied using a steam cleaner that produces temperatures of 150° or higher. Such a machine can be used to treat your home, though the process can be extremely difficult due to the fact that heat needs to be applied for an extended period of time (20 minutes or so) and bed bugs are very good at hiding making it likely that you will miss some.
Heat is a great way of treating clothes though, and anything else you can put into a clothes dryer. You’ll want to put the dryer on high, and dry them for at least 20 minutes. You will probably want to then wash them to remove the bed bugs’ eggs and corpses (gross, right?) and then of course dry them again. Other items that don’t fit into the dryer can be placed in black trash bags in direct sunlight for a couple of days to kill the bed bugs. These methods won’t stop an infestation but will kill and remove bed bugs from your clothes and other items.
Professional Heat Treatment For Bed Bugs - I know this site is about DIY bed bug control, but professional heat treatment can be a very effective way to get rid of bed bugs. These folks will actually come into your home and heat up your entire home, including every nook and cranny that these pests might be hiding. They do this using professional equipment and experience that you are unlikely to be able to effectively replicate on your own.
Do Bean Leaves Kill Bed Bugs?
Bean leaves is a homeopathic termite control method, though it doesn’t really kill them. These leaves are used because they have tiny spiny hooks on their leaves that penetrate the bed bugs exoskeletons which traps them. They can die from writhing around and continuing to impale themselves, but this isn’t a very effective extermination method. It is better used as a natural bed bug trap that will help indicate their presence if you suspect infestation.
Does Cold Kill Bed Bugs?
Yes, much the same way heat can kill them, cold can also kill them due to their heat sensitivity. It’s best if you live in a fairly cool climate during the cold months for this to work. You will have to leave the window open and place fans around areas of infestation to ensure cool or cold (44°C or lower) air circulates around the area. This area only has specific applications (it is climate dependent) and like DIY heat treatment, it can be very difficult if not impossible to completely eradicate bed bugs with DIY cold treatment.
What Chemical Kills Bed Bugs?
Next, we will cover the chemicals that do and don’t kill bed bugs and whether or not they are effective control methods.
Does Boric Acid Kill Bed Bugs?
It does, but it isn’t very effective. Also, while it is considered a “safe” method, it’s not really as safe or effective as the aforementioned treatments.
Does Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs?
Or more specifically, does rubbing alcohol kill bed bugs? Obviously you don’t want to go hosing them down with the bottle of scotch you keep in the cabinet for special occasions. Yes, rubbing alcohol kills bed bugs, as well as their eggs and can act as a repellant as well. It’s not great for complete eradication, but is an effective tool in the fight.
Does Bleach Kill Bed Bugs?
Yes, but do you really want to go around spraying everything you own with bleach? Probably not. There are other methods that are much better than the use of bleach though this can be used on bleach-safe surfaces.
Does Lysol Kill Bed Bugs?
Yes, but only if you spray them directly and it has no effect once it has dried. Basically, if you drown something in chemicals, like Lysol, it will probably die. This is all you are doing with this method, and it’s not a great way to control or kill bed bugs.
Does Raid Kill Bed Bugs?
Raid makes a specific bed bug spray. It claims to kill bed bugs and their eggs, but as for controlling and eliminating your infestation, there are probably better ways to go about it.
If you have any more questions regarding whether or not something can kill bed bugs, feel free to ask away in the comments below.