Bedbugs are tiny, flat parasites that feed on human blood. They resemble ticks, and just like ticks, they are difficult to spot and remove. Bed bug bites are usually accompanied by itching, and can even cause allergic reactions. Bed bugs can’t fly, but they breed incredibly quickly and can therefore infest an entire mattress or piece of furniture in a relatively short amount of time. They are also hardy; bed bugs can survive for up to a year without feeding and quickly develop an immunity to certain toxins. Bed bugs are usually removed using strong pesticides, however this method essentially covers your entire bed or piece of furniture in the equivalent of poison. This is as bad as it sounds, and long-term exposure to pesticides can have lasting health effects on both you and your pets. Rather than using this unnatural and dangerous method, consider the following natural ways to get rid of them:
Removing bed bugs manually works best if the infestation is isolated, because it narrows your search area. It is also a good first step to eliminating your bed bug problem because it helps to mitigate population growth. That said, manual removal should be used in conjunction with other removal techniques, because it’s difficult to find and eliminate every bed bug and by hand.
Vacuuming is another form of manual removal, however it has the advantage of not relying on your eyesight to detect every tiny bed bug. It also is a great way to eliminate difficult-to-see bed bug eggs, which slows down the infestation. Like other forms of manual removal, vacuuming should be used in conjunction with other removal methods.
Beauveria bassiana is a fungus that kills insects such as bed bugs, and is best when sprayed on the affected area. Beauveria bassiana takes about three to five days to actually kill all the bed bugs, but during this time it can slow down the bed bugs motility-making them easier to spot and manually removable.
A blowdryer provides continuous heat that kills most bed bugs within 30 seconds, which means it’s a great way to kill isolated groups. A washer set to “hot” is also useful for killing large groups of bed bugs living in sheets and blankets. If an entire mattress or piece of furniture is infested, place it outside in a sunny area to “sweat out” your bed bug problem.
Bed bugs can only live in a limited temperature range, meaning that they are just as susceptible to cold as they are to heat. In order to freeze out bed bugs, point three or four large fans at the infested area for several hours. It also helps if you turn up the air conditioning.
Scented dyer sheets
Bed bugs don’t like the smell of scented dryer sheets, so their mere presence may be enough to persuade your unwanted guests to move on. This is a relatively simple removal method; simply place several scented dryer sheets on the affected furniture. Make sure to put dryer sheets in between the mattress and box springs or under couch cushions as well.
Alcohol kills bed bugs quickly and also dries out their eggs, making it less likely that the infestation will return. The best way to attack bed bugs with alcohol is by using a spray bottle to apply onto the affected area. Be liberal in your application, and make sure that you spray the alcohol into every nook and cranny that bed bugs may be hiding in.