Essential Oils

Can You Use Essential Oils For Bed Bugs? Try This DIY Essential Oil Spray 

Updated on 19 August 2020 • 3 minute read
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Overview 

Bed bugs are little flat-shaped critters that feed on your blood at night. 

When bed bugs bite, they release an anesthetic that makes it easier to bite you at night while sleeping. 

Signs of a common bed bug infestation include: 

  • Bloodstains on sheets or pajamas
  • Tiny little dark crumbs (bed bug poop) on your mattress or bedding
  • Shed bed bug skins and exoskeletons 

 

If your bed bug problem isn’t severe enough to call the exterminator yet, you can try home remedies and natural ways to repel bed bugs: 

  • essential oils
  • heat treatment
  • diatomaceous earth  

 

Essential Oils As A Natural Pest Control

Essential oils are distilled plant compounds that contain active chemicals known to act as effective repellents, insect killers, antibacterials, and antiseptics.  

You can also use essential oils to help heal insect bites and prevent infection. 

Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of pure essential oils for healing and well-being. 

Research shows EOs can also be capable of: 

 

The Best Essential Oils for Bed Bugs 

According to two studies, one from Rutgers University and one from Purdue University, the active chemicals in certain essential oils can repel and kill bed bugs at varying amounts. (1)

The Purdue study found the following essential oils and their corresponding chemicals to be most effective for bed bug control: 

  • Thyme oil (carvacrol)
  • Lemongrass oil (citronellic acid) 
  • Clove oil (eugenol) 

The study concluded that you need much higher amounts of essential oils to have the same effect as synthetic chemicals. 

The study also noted that combining essential oils can amplify their effect. 

Other possibly effective essential oils are: 

  • Lavender oil    
  • Peppermint oil 
  • Tea tree oil 
  • Eucalyptus oil   
  • Cedarwood oil 

 

Safety Concerns 

Essential oils are potent; a little goes a long way. 

If you use them mindfully and safely, essential oils may pose little to no side effects. 

Each oil does have contraindications, so be sure to do your research before using each oil as many of them aren’t suitable for babies, young children, pregnant women, or people with certain pre-existing conditions like epilepsy. 

Never ingest essential oils, and if you’re using them directly on the skin, be sure always to dilute them with a carrier oil like coconut oil. 

It’s important to choose only the highest quality, certified organic products because many oils on the market are either diluted or contaminated with potentially harmful chemicals. 

 

How To Use EOs for Bed Bugs

If you have a full-blown infestation, essential oils will likely not be enough to fix the issue. 

Consult with an exterminator or pest control specialist for the best treatment options for your particular situation. 

You can use the following essential oil blends below to prevent and maintain a bed bug-free home. 

For itchy bed bug bites

Anti-itch Lotion 

  • 3 drops chamomile
  • Two drop lemongrass
  • Two drop citronella
  • Two drop lemon eucalyptus 
  • One tablespoon witch hazel 
  • Two tablespoons fractionated coconut oil

Mix all ingredients in a dark glass bottle with an airtight lid. 

Apply the mixture to the itchy bites with your clean fingers, cotton swab, or cotton ball. 

Repeat as needed. 

 

Bed Bug Spray 

  • Five drops lemongrass
  • 5 drops clove  
  • 5 drops thyme 
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil 
  • One tablespoon rubbing alcohol (90%) 
  • Fill a small dark glass spray bottle with distilled water. 

Mix everything in the bottle and shake it well.  

Spray your bed frame, headboard, mattress, and sheets. 

Spray around your bed and in the corners and crevices of your bedroom. 

Be careful not to spray your eyes or face. 

 

References:

(1) https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2019/Q1/study-identifies-essential-oil-compounds-most-toxic-to-bed-bugs.html#:~:text=Gondhalekar%20and%20Gaire%20analyzed%2015,in%20the%20journal%20Scientific%20Reports.

 

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