Bed Bugs Repellent. How to Choose the Most Effective One?

bed bugs repellent how to choose

The need to find a bed bugs repellent that work is increasingly becoming undeniable. Bed bugs have been slowly but surely finding their way into our homes in the last couple of years. There is a reason you’re told not to let the bugs bite. Beg bugs are critters that will take the good out of your night’s sleep.  It is essential to take care of your bed bug infestation as soon as you become aware of it because if left unchecked, the infestation will take over your home and dealing with it will become a major hustle.

Which bed bugs repellent should you get?

According to Dr. Dini M. Miller, Ph.D., an associate professor in Urban Pest Management at Virginia, upon the testing of different bed bugs repellents, concluded that they did not individually have a very significant effect on their own and hence the need to combine several treatments for effectiveness. On MSNBC, he said that they had found bed bugs to be determined creatures that are hard to stop. He also echoed what is known of many a bed bug repellent – that they do not significantly hinder hungry bed bugs.

Bed bugs are very aggressive pesticides and can be difficult to control even for trained professionals. Regardless of how good the treatment is done, it would still require several administrations as it is unlikely that the bugs will be eradicated the first time. The egg stage of a bed bug has proved itself to be the hardest to kill, and therefore pest controllers have to conduct a spraying treatment a second time after the eggs have hatched.

What chemicals kill bedbugs?

Pyrethroids and pyrethrins

Bed bugs repellent. Pyrethroids and pyrethrins

Pyrethroids and pyrethrins – bed bugs repellents

These are compounds used in the control and management of pests. While pyrethrins are, organic and come from chrysanthemum plants, pyrethroids are synthetic but work the same way.

Pyrethroids and pyrethrins work by altering the nervous system causing paralysis which then weakens the bed bug until it dies. Although these chemicals have been used in a lot of insecticides and bed bugs over the years, these pesticides have developed a resistance towards pyrethroids. In a study done in 2011, the journal  PLOS ONE revealed that resistance is caused by a mutation, acquired over a period, coupled with a neutralizing mechanism in the bugs which then alters the structure of the bed bug’s nerve ending and therefore preventing the pyrethroids from binding to their nerves.


They work by absorbing the waxy, protective layer on the bed bug. Once the layer is removed, the bug dies of dehydration. Desiccants used to fight bed bugs include Silica gel and diatomaceous Earth.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is mined from fossilized remains of plants that are microscopic. It is a non-toxic, inert material, that contains minerals such as manganese, silicon iron, calcium, and magnesium. It is a natural pesticide and a famous desiccant used in bug control because it shows results.  What is so great about desiccants as opposed to pyrethroids is that bed bugs cannot develop a resistance against them because their mode of work is physical.

How to use diatomaceous earth:

Sprinkle the diatomaceous earth around your house, even the cracks on the wall. It will take one to two weeks to kill the bed bugs.

Silica gel

Silica gel bed bugs repellent

Silica gel is a good bed bugs repellent

Silica gel, also a desiccant has great oil absorbing capabilities. The gels are white powders that are got from silica. It does not occur in its natural form but is usually synthetically produced from sand. It is irritating to the eyes and should never be swallowed. Generally, it is of low toxicity to humans.

Grind silica gel, spread all over your house on all rugs, furniture, mattresses and cracked walls. Target areas in your mattress with dark spots as this is a good indicator that bed bugs live there.

Bed bugs have incredibly small sized larvae that often gets overlooked and is definitely responsible for repeat infestations. Seeing as many solutions are offered by many people who swear by them, the question remains, does a bed bugs repellent stop bed bugs?

The truth:  As incredibly difficult as it is to eradicate them completely, various ways can be used to keep them at bay. These methods can vary from using chemicals to keep the bugs away to using a natural bed bugs killer that you can make yourself. But whether these methods be natural or otherwise, they are mostly used to control the infestation than to get rid of the bugs.

Using a natural bed bugs repellent is an alternative that people are turning to. Some of the advantages that come with using a toxic free solution include:

  • A natural repellant can be used near children and pets.
  • It is safe to use with other forms of treatment.
  • It is cheap.

As you turn to natural solutions to solve this bed bug menace, some of the solutions can be made right there at home with ingredients that can be found in your kitchen or cosmetic cabinet. Which include:

Essential oils

Essential oils like lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus and cedar oil have strong scents that help to repel bed bugs. You can do this by mixing the oil with water and sprinkling some of the mixture on your laundry before ironing. Otherwise, you can use it on the frame of your bed or your carpet by splashing a liberal amount.

Another useful oily tool to have, even though not homemade, is the cutter insect repellent spray which can be used for bed bugs. It contains essential oil derived from geraniums which is DEET-free and child-friendly.


A common question is: does vinegar kill bed bugs? Vinegar has long been recommended as a quick homemade solution for repelling bed bugs. The question then remains as to if the solution is strong enough to eradicate them considering how difficult it is to completely drive them away. What has been the sentiment of many people has been that, you would need to use vinegar with another method like house spraying to get rid of them totally. Use vinegar in the early stages of infestation for best results for it will have little effect on major infestations. Vinegar is a good alternative to commercial pesticides.

How to make it:

  • Combine equal parts of water and equal parts of white or apple cider vinegar.
  • Add 2 tbsp. of mint, thyme, lavender and catnip.
  • Put the solution in a spray bottle and shake.


  • Combine equal parts of water and equal parts of vinegar
  • Add 10-15 drops of mint, eucalyptus, lemon, lemon grass, clove, citronella, lavender, and spearmint
  • Put the solution in a spray bottle and shake.
  • Spray on the mattress and the bed frames.
  • You can also wash your beddings with vinegar or saturate other areas like your bed frames completely with vinegar and water.

Is rubbing alcohol a bed bugs repellent?

Rubbing alcohol is another great solution for bed bugs. It is a desiccant and therefore dissolves the bed bug’s exoskeleton. For rubbing alcohol to be effective, you will need to get one with 70-99 % concentration.  If a spray is of higher alcohol level, it means that it has less water content and so it will get rid of bed bugs faster.

How to use rubbing alcohol:

  • Get a spray bottle and put the rubbing alcohol in it.
  • Vacuum the house before treating the infested areas.
  • Make sure that the alcohol has come in direct contact with the bed bugs.
  • In case the infestation has spread to other parts of your house, spray the rubbing alcohol generously on your clothes, curtains and put them in the dryer for at least 30 minutes.
  • Spray your bed with the solution and wait a few minutes for it to dry before you sleep. If you have sprayed on top of the mattress. Target any cracks on the mattresses.
  • Because rubbing alcohol dissolves quickly, make sure to repeat the process in a fortnight to combat any new bugs from any hatching eggs that you missed.
  • Get rid of the dead bugs and put covers on the mattress.

Although rubbing alcohol is an effective repellent, don’t rely on it to get rid of the bed bugs. While it may get them away from your bed, they will most likely move to other areas of your home. In addition to it, combine other ways like fumigation or heating to drive the bedbugs out.

Baking soda

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate is famous for its desiccant properties. The reason it comes highly suggested may be because it is a common substance in kitchens and you can easily lay hold of it. You use it by sprinkling a generous amount of baking soda on the cracks and crevices of the infested surfaces. You can use a paint brush for better application on the headboard or rug. Be sure to vacuum the substance after a few days and reapply that for a whole 12 months because the bugs reproduce quickly and are difficult to treat.

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper has a smell that keeps the bugs away when put on mattresses and furniture. However, a homemade solution will have a stronger scent and keep the bugs away for longer.

How to make the solution:

  • Bring a teaspoon of oregano, grated ginger in water and cayenne to boil.
  • Mix with the cayenne pepper and spray the solution on the infested surfaces.

Heat treatment

If you want a quicker way to get rid of the bed bugs in your house, heating is an amazing alternative. When exposed to 118 degrees or hotter, bed bugs and their eggs die in seconds. Heating should be done by trained professionals with appropriate and efficient equipment. Since the turning of the heaters to target the affected areas would expose the professional to high temperatures, it is imperative that they protect themselves. Using heat to kill bedbugs is great if you do not want to use any chemicals and also if you can afford it. A full comprehensive treatment would cost you between $500-$1500.

If paid professionals are not anywhere in your budget at the moments, you can decide to steam your home yourself. Steamers are great and offer a great solution on the cheap.

How to do it:

Get yourself an H20 handheld pressure steamer. If not, make sure that the manufacturer lists the tip at a temperature of over 200F. You can steam most floors, furniture or ceilings. Do not use regular steamers because sometimes they miss deep cracks and crevices. Use this along with other methods like dryers and vinegar solutions. It might be years before you see another bed bug.

Remember not to steam any electrical outlets.


A vacuum is an essential tool in the house, and yet again it can come to the rescue of your bed bug trouble. Vacuuming is a good start to eradicating bed bug infestation but should never be used alone because it cannot suck all the eggs on your carpet or furniture. For this task, make sure to use a vacuum with a bag because a bagless one will not be able to trap the bugs. Close and dispose of the bag immediately after vacuuming. Vacuum everything in your house weekly to keep the bed bugs in check.


Dropping temperatures of 0 degrees are enough to kill bed bugs. If you are planning to put some of your infested things into your freezer, be sure to leave them there for 96 hours or longer. Maybe you can try leaving your bed bug infested things outside during winter-if you dare to try it.

The mouth of a bed bug is constructed in the shape of a beak, which it then digs into the body of its host and sucks the blood up through it. While feeding, a fluid is usually secreted to aid the eating process. This fluid is unrefutably irritating to the skin of the victim and causes irritation and swelling but leaving red, swollen marks.

Bed bug bites can be used by skin creams that contain Calamine. This ingredient is majorly used to treat mild itchiness caused by insects and bed bugs. It may also come as a great help for skin irritation. However, there are substances you can use as a repellent for bed bugs for the body. These include:

Neem oil

Neem oil is good for inflammation and microorganisms. That means it is good for soothing a bed bug bite but also repels bed bugs for its sulfur like smell. Neem acts as a bed bug repellent for your body by preventing them from feeding on you. Put some neem oil to shield you from the bites of the bedbug.


Since insects are drawn to humans by body odor, DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) works by interfering with the bug’s sense of smell making it difficult for the bug to find you. Off insect repellent, a DEET spray, liquids and repellent creams for bed bugs that contain DEET are applied on the skin or clothing drive away bed bugs. The concentration in them varies from 10 % to 100 %. The higher the concentration, the longer its ability to repel the bed bugs considering you need to re-apply frequently. They are safe to use on the skin as supported by a 1998 review by the United States Environmental Protection Agency that insect repellents that contained DEET did not present any health concern issue. It is, however, good to note that these skin repellents do not kill bed bugs but discourage them from crawling or staying in the areas that these repellents are.

The thought of bugs in your bed sucking your blood in the dead of night is creepy. Evidently, the journey to a bed bug-free house is not an easy one. Some measures to make sure that you never have to deal with this problem, to begin with would be to, thoroughly inspect any rented or second hand furniture before accepting it in your home, washing your beddings weekly on high heat, encasing your mattresses and pillows, reducing clutter in your home, sealing all the cracks on your wall paper and vacuuming your house regularly.




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