Bed bug populations have been continuously on the rise for the past decade and show no sign of slowing down. While some people believe bed bugs only settle into poorly maintained or cluttered homes, this just isn’t the case. Bed bugs feed on our blood and they don’t care a bit about other surroundings. If they can hitch a ride on our belongings to make their way back into our homes, they will do so in a heartbeat. So what can be done to prevent bed bugs?
Essential Oils And Natural Remedies
Knowing that bed bugs can be lying in wait in almost any public place can make for an anxiety-ridden reality, so some people try to take steps to prevent bed bugs from latching onto their belongings. Essential oils and natural scents are used for various purposes, including repelling insects, but their efficacy in repelling bed bugs is still being investigated.
Oils purported to repel bed bugs include cinnamon oil, lemongrass oil, clove oil, peppermint oil, lavender oil, thyme oil, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil. While these scents may cause bed bugs to avoid an area, they are temporary measures. Additionally, most essential oils need to be correctly diluted before use in order to be safe to come in contact with.
Efficacy Of Essential Oils
While more research is needed, the study conducted by the USDA on the effectiveness of essential oils on bed bugs showed that while minimally effective, bed bugs did show an aversion towards certain oils. Specifically, the oils that were proven to have this small but measurable effect were blood orange oil, paraffin oil, silicone oil, and spearmint oil.
Other Natural Methods For Combating Bed Bugs
If you are looking to deter bed bugs using natural methods, temperature is likely a more practical approach than using essential oils. Tried and true bed bug control methods such as drying items on the highest heat setting, freezing potentially contaminated items, or other means of achieving extreme temperatures are more likely to affect bed bugs.
Bed Bug Hotspots
Even more effective than essential oils and extreme temperatures is being mindful of your surroundings and taking precautions when passing through bed bug hot spots. Bed bugs feed almost exclusively on human blood, which means anywhere there are lots of people automatically becomes a hotspot for bed bugs. Examples of bed bug hotspots include airports and train stations, movie theaters and libraries, laundromats, and hotels.
When moving through a bed bug hotspot it is important to pay attention to your belongings. Unlike other pests, bed bugs do not jump or fly. Instead, they wait for our belongings to be placed nearby and then climb onto them to catch a ride into our homes. To avoid this fate it is important to not set items on the floor, or too close to the belongings of others, when in crowded public spaces.
When traveling, it is helpful to protect your luggage with plastic bags, inspect hotel rooms for signs of bed bugs before settling in for the night, and wash and dry all items on the highest heat setting upon returning home.
Signs Of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are elusive creatures and sometimes they can be hard to detect even once they’ve made themselves at home in your mattress. While it may be hard to spot a bed bug in the light of day, there are other signs that you can be on the lookout for, including:
Shed bed bug skins or empty eggshells
Small red to reddish-brown fecal spots
A musty odor that grows stronger as the infestation increases
Bloodstains on sheets
Bed bug bites which appear overnight in clusters or lines
If you see these or other signs of bed bugs, there is no time to waste. It is important to take action quickly.
How To Successfully Eliminate Bed Bugs
As hard as bed bugs are to prevent, they are even more impossible to get rid of on your own. It is essential to eliminate the entire population to prevent the infestation from recurring with greater numbers. DIY solutions simply are not enough. They may kill some of the bed bugs, but they are generally not enough to take care of the entire infestation.
Luckily, the professionals at Ventura Pest Control have the experience and equipment we need to completely solve your bed bug problem. We have more than 60 years of experience dealing with bed bug problems in Ventura County homes and can design a plan to fit the specific needs of your property and budget. We offer both heat treatments as well as fumigation. Call us today for peace of mind and a total solution to bed bugs.