Bed bugs live in warm locations and often make their homes in bedding, clothes, carpets, and furniture. You, their constant supply of food, are why bed bugs enjoy these locations. To check for them, look over mattress and furniture seams and the surrounding areas for black fecal matter and blood smears.
Treat Bed Bugs With A Natural Pesticide
Diatomaceous earth is an effective bed bug powder. It's also cheap and free of harmful chemicals. It's easy to apply around your home and safe to apply near food, pets, and children.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) kills bed bugs by absorbing the oily, protective layer that covers their exoskeletons. Without this protective coating, bed bugs will dehydrate and die within a few hours.
How Do I Treat for Bed Bugs?
Effective natural bed bug treatment comes down to six simple steps:
- Steam Clean Your Home
- Wash All Fabrics
- Vacuum Your Home
- Apply Diatomaceous Earth
- Clean Up
- Repeat as needed
Before beginning, bug proof your home by sealing up any places bed bugs could enter, such as cracks or crevices.The chances of re-infestation are much lower if you do this first.
Step 1: Steam Clean Your Home
Bed bugs cannot survive in temperatures above 130 degrees fahrenheit for more than a few hours. Steam clean your linens and furniture thoroughly with a steam cleaner to increase the temperature.
Step 2: Wash All Fabrics
Put all fabrics through the wash on very high or very cold temperatures. Dry on a high heat and store all washed fabrics in sealed plastic bags or containers.
Step 3: Vacuum Your Entire Home
Vacuum your carpets thoroughly. If possible, also use a carpet cleaner to remove any bed bugs from the carpeting.
Dismantle furniture as much as possible and vacuum every surface, paying particular attention to your furniture's seams and frames. Get tight spots with your vacuum's hose attachment. After vacuuming, you may reassemble your furniture. Consider using a total encasement mattress cover on your bed.
Step 4: Apply Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth works as both a tool for prevention and treatment. Apply DE by following these steps:
- Find areas around your home where you suspect bed bugs may be hiding or may return to.
- Use an applicator to apply diatomaceous earth along moulding, in drawers, in any cracks or crevices, behind appliances, along windowsills and door jams.
- Remove all electrical faceplates and use an applicator to puff DE behind electrical switches and outlets.
- Cover furniture and mattresses with a thin layer of DE and work it into the furniture, mattresses, and carpeting with your hands.
Step 5: Clean Up
We recommend leaving the diatomaceous earth applied as long as possible. Although it's far from a fashion statement, keeping a constant barrier down against bed bugs will help ensure your victory. Even though DE can kill a bed bug in a few hours, it might take a long time for all the bed bugs to be exposed, and DE only affects adult bed bugs, so you have to leave it applied long enough for the bed bug eggs to hatch.
After a couple weeks, you can wipe it all off and vacuum it up. A word of warning here: diatomaceous earth is very hard on traditional filtered vacuums. Unless you're only cleaning a small section, we recommend using a shop vac to avoid burning out your vacuum's motor. For more information on cleaning up diatomaceous earth after you've applied it, check out our DE clean-up article here.
Step 6: Repeat as Needed
If the bed bugs persist, don't lose hope. Repeat the steam cleaning, vacuuming, washing, and applying diatomaceous earth until the problem subsides.
Follow these steps in every part of your home. Repeating these steps is necessary to break the cycle of infestation. If you continue to use diatomaceous earth in your home, it will help prevent future infestations.