This epic guide is based on research and experience. It leads you through the jungle of remedies and insecticides against Bed Bugs. We cover the details of each one, rate it, and give you our final recommendation.
Whatever you prefer, you shouldn’t miss our recommendation section.
If it isn’t here yet, it will be soon!
Recommendations against Bed Bugs
This huge archive of remedies and endless hours of research resulted in a list of treatments we can recommend without any hesitations. We included especially green and effective products and excluded everything that seems too chemical for us.
If you prefer classical pesticides nevertheless, you can check the pyrethroids category for the most effective products.
Our research of all possible remedies revealed some surprises, so we do even have recommendations that will never kill any Bed Bugs.
Green Bed Bug Killers we recommend
Every treatment on this list is all-natural and very potent against Bed Bugs. While Diatomaceous Earth is a powder and neem is an essential oil, the remaining products are insecticides that can be sprayed into the affected areas.
Diatomaceous Earth is a little harder to apply because you have to place it manually and with care to the pathways and hideouts of the parasites. Nevertheless, it is tremendously helpful and must be included in every DIY treatment.
Partially recommended Bed Bug Killers
Many other products are potentially useful against Bed Bugs, but only a few made it into the category of partially recommended insecticides.
Paraffin oils are very good killers but lack ease of use. And because the application is a little difficult they don’t reach our recommendation list totally.
The same is true for the citrus juices that can be very potent, but lack some easiness and there is not sufficient data to see the true value.
Surprises against Bed Bug
Three components made it into our recommendations we didn’t expect at all. This includes DEET as a very potent repellent. You must use it while traveling to protect your luggage (and therefore your home when coming back!).
Camphor is a rare treatment (we didn’t hear of it before), but it is very potent as a fumigant. It is worth a try and will support the other remedies!
Yeast itself is overrated in killing Bed Bugs, but it produces carbon dioxide and will be an irresistible lure against Bed Bugs.
Categories of Bed Bug Killers
A huge variety of remedies seem to be useful against Bed Bugs. Some of them are explicitly developed for this purpose, but many others aren’t. We will take a closer look at both and reveal which chemicals, ingredients, and pesticides do work.
Before we start with individual remedies we will categorize a huge part of the products to give a general overview of why some remedies can be helpful and others can’t.
And even if you won’t find your product in this article (yet), these categories will help you most probably.
The most common application for alcohol is as an ingredient in disinfectant products. There is a huge bandwidth of companies that offer bacteria and virus-killing sprays and cleaners. That’s why we gave them their own category (here: Disinfectants).
The short answer is they will kill Bed Bugs on contact, but this is not effective.
Some other products in many households contain alcohol as well. This is ethanol in beverages and additional alcohol in different products (like nail polish remover). Both items do contain sufficient alcohol to kill Bed Bugs when coming in direct contact and over a sufficient duration.
But it’s the same as with disinfectants: even if you kill some (visible) Bed Bugs, this won’t solve the infestation problem.
Bleach is a name for a variety of chemicals that are used to remove the color from fabric mainly via oxidization. It can contain hydrogen peroxide, sodium percarbonate, and sodium perborate. Chlorine cleaners are still common in industrial uses, but decreasingly in households. The main component of modern private cleaning products is hydrogen peroxide.
Bleach has strong oxidizing properties (as H2O2 it’s dividing into hydrogen and oxygen) and is toxic to cells. It attacks the proteins and membrane lipids.
That is why Bleach is killing Bed Bugs on direct and prolonged contact. The outer cells would be damaged and the bug dies. This is especially true for undiluted Bleach.
The toxic effect is also applicable for human cells, why common household products are strongly diluted to reduce the negative properties. In this concentration, Bleach is much less effective against Bed Bugs. It can harm the outer shell, but it takes longer and is much less probable to occur.
Due to its high oxidative effect and its strong scent, we do not recommend using any Bleach to repel Bed Bugs.
Disinfectant and Disinfectant Spray
Many products fall in the category of disinfectants with an antiseptic effect, that kills various bacteria and viruses. The bandwidth of different active ingredients is huge but their mechanism of action is often the same. The main chemical component does change the protein structure of the organisms and sometimes even damages the lipid shell or nucleic acid.
This kills microorganisms within seconds and can also have a significant effect on larger animals like Bed Bugs.
In most cases, it is possible that a disinfectant spray can kill Bed Bugs on direct contact and with an adequate dose. Even if the hard exoskeleton can resist most of the active ingredients the other body parts of the Bed Bugs aren’t that resilient. This leads to a fast death of the insects within seconds or few minutes.
The problem with those remedies is their application since it’s necessary to spray Bed Bugs directly. These insects are very shy and hide in dark and hidden places like cracks and crevices in beds. They also live in mattresses and are hard to find.
A direct application of a spray is only recommended if Bed Bugs are visible or their hideout is well-known. (See Bed Bug Nests for more). Disinfectants are not capable of getting rid of a whole Bed Bug infestation, they can only support the reduction in very limited dimensions.
Essential Oils are a huge topic and there is nobody who doesn’t have a specific opinion about them. The claims vary from ‘useless & expensive’ to ‘miracle cure & priceless’. These opinions often lack scientific data and need to be investigated further.
First of all essential oils are most probably ‘minimum risk pesticides’. This means that those products pose no to very little risk to human health or the environment. That’s why the EPA has excluded them from further testings for efficacy and safety.
While safety is a good thing, the lack of efficacy control seems a little disappointing. That’s why the evaluation of specific essential oils must rely on studies and be supported by experience during its application. This research is often missing and it is sometimes hard to say which essential oil is useful and which is not.
Nevertheless, there are some very interesting studies that reveal some essential oils are very potent in killing Bed Bugs.
Tested and effective essential oils:
This list only includes proven and very effective essential oils. There is a huge variety of other oils that weren’t tested enough (tea tree, lavender, etc.) and it is impossible to say whether they are effective or not.
You will find many of them in this article.
The biggest category of insecticides against Bed Bugs is pyrethroids. These chemicals are synthetically produced and similar to the natural insecticide pyrethrum. Pyrethroids do have a long history in agriculture and were improved over many decades.
Most modern insecticides contain at least one pyrethroid.
The mechanism of pyrethroids is always the same. It is based on the affinity to the sodium channels that causes a constant opening. This results in an unstoppable firing of neurons. Muscle spasm sets in immediately and paralyzes the insect (knock-down effect).
This initial impact is followed by the death of the insect in the following minutes (or sometimes hours). The moment of death is often difficult to observe because it sets in while the insect is paralyzed. That is why the knock-down is often mistaken for successful mortality.
While this mechanism seems to be perfect and ideal for the fight against Bed Bugs, it also has some disadvantages.
As you can read more about in the next section it’s good to know (already) that the use of pesticides always will cause some resistances. This leads to lower (or even no) efficacy.
Insects are able to break down the pesticides if the dose weren’t sufficient. This is often the case, because it is hard to apply the aerosol efficient to all (hidden) Bed Bugs. This effect can (and should!) be counteracted by the combination with a synergist (like piperonyl butoxide).
- Pesticide = Chemical
Even if pyrethroids are not as toxic to mammals as to insecticides, they are still chemicals and have to be applied with care and exactly as instructed. Pyrethroids are not water soluable and do combine with house dust and sprayed surfaces. It is hard to remove them and that’s why you (and your kids, pets) will have more contact than you think.
These points lead us to the conclusion that we do not recommend any product that contains pyrethroids. There are other remedies available that are all-natural and effective.
Nevertheless, we have a huge portfolio of insecticides in this article that contains pyrethroids. We will explain which active ingredient is used and why it is effective or not.
General advice: If you like to use a pesticide with a pyrethroid, you should always prefer a combination of different pyrethroids and a synergist. This will give you the highest mortality rate (e.g. Hit, Indorex, Ortho, Raid Bed Bug Foaming Spray)
Bed Bugs are a rising pest and it is proven that resistance does cause this problem (e.g. this study, or this overview). Pesticides lose their effectiveness and the parasites can develop without being impaired.
But where does this resistance come from? This study has shown several factors. In short:
- Behavioral resistance
Bed Bugs do now realize that chemicals are used and they avoid that area. They don’t come in contact with the pesticide and the chemical has no effect.
- Penetration resistance
When coming in contact with an insecticide it is possible, that the outer layer of the Bed Bugs can be remodelled or thickened by overexpression. This reduces the penetration of the chemical and protects the Bed Bug.
- Metabolic resistance
If the insecticide enters the body some detoxification can take place. This break-down can occur if the necessary estarases are produced more effective by the parasites.
- Knock-down resistance mutations
Over the time many mutations develop. This natural process increases the possibility of less susceptable neurons which reduces the efficacy of insecticides a lot and are the biggest problem!
These effects combine and can lead to a resistance rate up to 90 – 98 % in Bed Bugs.
It is hard to predict which colony in which region is resistant to specific insecticides. To avoid useless application it would be necessary to perform some tests and use these conclusions to subsequent treatment.
We don’t know many companies that include such a procedure in their treatment. It would raise the costs and take some time to start the actual session. (But it is possible, as this study shows)
These resistances do occur in pyrethroids and are less probable in natural remedies because the ingredients are not toxic in a chemical sense.
Of course, some factors do impact the mortality rate of green insecticides too (like a thicker shell after an unsuccessful application of a pyrethroid), but the overall efficacy is still higher for the natural products.
Table of all potential Bed Bug Killers
The upcoming table will show you all 139 remedies and our final evaluation.
Recommendation: Y = Yes | N = No | P = Partially
|Apple Cider Vinegar||N|
|Zap a Roach||N|
Detailed Bed Bug Killer Description with Effectivesness
This core section gives you an in-depth look at all remedies and helps you with an easy rating consisting of the ability to kill Bed Bugs, the overall efficacy to fight an active infestation, and our conclusion.
Sometimes the combination will look a little weird but we’ll explain it in the accompanying text (e.g. the recommendation of DEET although the killing is rated 0/10)
Acetone is a colorless, highly aggressive solvent, which is used for professional cleaning and to clean materials (as in nail polisher removal). This fluid dries out quickly and kills Beg Bugs, their Larvae, and Eggs on contact. The effect lasts only a short time and the solvent has to cover the Bed Bug completely.
It could be harmful in high doses for humans but doesn’t reach that concentration in common household products. It has an aggressive odor that makes it an unpleasant Bed Bug killer. Furthermore, it is not cost-effective.
We can only recommend Acetone as a spontaneous single-use remedy. If you see Bed Bugs and only have nail polisher removal a hand – use it. But the application should be limited and the solvent is not good to spray.
This compound of nitrogen and hydrogen is caustic and hazardous. Ammonia is used as fertilizer and in many cleaning products. This chemical and very aggressive against every tissue. Ammonia attacks the cell membrane and therefore does kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs on contact.
It can be used in a sprayer to fight accessible Bed Bugs. Yet it is still hard to fight a real infestation as it is difficult to find and spray all bugs. This remedy can also attack various surfaces and should be used with great care.
Finally, Ammonia is very pungent (smells like urine and fish) and aggressive against each tissue. High doses can become a health issue. It should be strictly used as stated in the instruction.
Common household products do have a safe concentration of Ammonia. Nevertheless, we don’t suggest this remedy due to its pungency and possible health problems. Its efficiency is not high enough to outweigh the possible risks.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The fluid is common in most households and contains acetic acid, which is poisonous to Bed Bugs and does kill them on direct contact. It is also effective against Beg Bug Eggs and Baby Bed Bugs because their skin is less robust. The application should be conducted with a small sprayer containing undiluted vinegar (because apple cider vinegar contains less acetic acid).
We only recommend using it for minor infestations with very few bugs. It is not efficient to get rid of a real infestation, since it is impossible to find all bed bugs. See also: Vinegar as Bed Bug Killer
Awesome (LA’s Totally Awesome)
LA’s Totally Awesome is a common detergent that contains sodium hydroxide (a.k.a. lye, caustic soda) and is highly alkaline. It is usually diluted with water and an effective degreaser and drain cleaner. The effect of this base depends on the degree of dilution but is generally very aggressive against tissue and can kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs.
The correct application of lye is very important to protect yourself and the material from any damage. It’s hard to tell which dilution still is sufficient to kill Bed Bugs. Eventually, a sufficient ratio can be taken from the manual and is somewhere between 5:1 to 10:1 (water : awesome).
The difficult application and possible risks make this home remedy an unsuitable bed bug killer.
Powder for babies consists of talc which is made of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. It absorbs moisture and reduces friction. This effect is also present when coming in contact with Bed Bugs but it is insufficient to dry them out. The substance is not aggressive enough to have a significant impact on the hard exoskeleton and therefore does not kill Bed Bugs.
There is a little chance the pest dislikes the powder and may circumnavigate the treated area. But it still isn’t effective to kill them. You won’t get rid of Bed Bugs with baby powder.
The effect of baby powder is not comparable to diatomaceous earth (also a white powder) which has a sharp-edged structure and injures the exoskeleton and kills Bed Bugs effectively.
Baking soda is a common household powder that contains sodium bicarbonate and reacts easily with water. It is slightly alkaline and does have some effect on acidic fluids. Unfortunately, the base is not aggressive enough to kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs effectively, and it isn’t sufficiently abrasive to harm the Bed Bug shell (like diatomaceous earth).
The water-absorbing feature of Baking Soda doesn’t have a great influence on the Bed Bug shell since it is a hardcover with only a little fluid material on it. It has not the aggressive possibility to work as a dehydrator.
Nevertheless, baking soda could have some interruption effect on the infestation if used as a sealing paste in crevices when mixed up with some water. This method is harmless to humans and can reduce the degree of infestation. The slight alkaline properties could help to make to area Bed Bug unfriendly.
The Eggs of Bed Bugs do have a less hardened shell that allows less aggressive bases to have some effect. But there is no scientific data that supports this theory. From experience, we could imagine it makes it harder for the offspring to develop.
Compared to Baking Soda the LA’s Totally Awesome is a base that is far more aggressive and can kill Bed Bugs at a high rate (but we don’t recommend it!).
Baygon is a universal insecticide that contains a mixture of pyrethroids (cypermethrin, imiprothrin, prallethrin) which does kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs on contact. The spray has an immediate effect (kills the insects within seconds) and a longer-lasting residual effect (chemicals stay in place and still affect the Bed Bugs later).
The detailed ingredients of Baygon depend upon the manufacturing date and the exact product. It could also contain a type of carbamate (another type of insecticide). Older versions included propoxur that could cause health issues with unborn babies (source). You should take a look at the label to avoid this insecticide.
Baygon is a typical pyrethroid spray that can be used to support the global pest strategy. It is usually not sufficient as a solitary measure.
Bifenthrin is a widely used pyrethroid and highly effective against water animals (like ants). It has strong neurotoxicity because it opens the sodium channel of neurons (of insecticides and also mammals) and leads to a constant firing of the axons. This leads to the death of Bed Bugs if the concentration is high enough.
This insecticide has to be applied directly to Bed Bugs to have the full effect. It doesn’t create residual impact and has only a very low (to no) impact with indirect contact and over the long term.
Bifenthrin is a popular OTC (over-the-counter) insecticide since it is easy to use, odorless and affordable. The concentration of the product is reduced to avoid misuse and toxic effects on humans. Bifenthrin is not allowed in most European countries because of its strong effect against water animals and unprecise application.
Also, Bifenthrin is a part of the non-alpha pyrethroid group that is less effective at the sodium channels. Their effectiveness even decreases when taking into account that the majority (up to 90%) of the Bed Bugs are maybe resistant to pyrethroid insecticides.
We do not recommend using this insecticide due to its low efficacy and highly questionable use in the vicinity of humans (and other protectable beings).
Borax is a rare mineral with a crystalline structure and a raw material to produce boric acid which is a popular insecticide. Borax is usually sold as a powder and is very affordable. It can kill Bed Bugs at a high rate, but only when absorbed (eaten). Since Bed Bugs only feed on blood it is not possible for them to ingest Borax under real-world conditions making Borax an improper Bed Bug insecticide.
The popularity of Borax could be a result of the subjective observation that suggests a repelling function. Since boric acid does have a slight effect on Bed Bugs when not eaten (it kills approximately 33 %) the insects will try to avoid the chemical and hide in different areas.
This repelling effect does not help to get rid of the infestation. The Bed Bugs will return soon and continue their nuisance. Also, the lethality rate is way too low to fight a Bed Bug infestation.
The well-known chemical boric acid is a popular insecticide with low costs and a good reputation. It is used in many products and is available as a powder and spray. It has high effectiveness against Bed Bugs when absorbed (up to 100 %) and low effectiveness without being eaten (appr. 33 %) as this study shows.
Boric acid is an excellent candidate active ingredient for an ingestible bait formulation.
As Bed Bugs solely feed on blood (and prefer humans) it is hard to find an available bait in the market. It is not yet developed and probably never will. The remaining residual applications of boric acid are not sufficient to fight a Bed Bug infestation.
The efficacy of boric acid is overestimated.
It has only a low repelling effect and will kill insufficient Bed Bugs. The reproduction cycle and infestation increase could be reduced, but not stopped. The insects will avoid the treated areas and move to more protected areas.
This substance is originally made from the wood of the camphor laurel and solid, waxy and flammable. It has a pharmaceutical effect and can be toxic and psychoactive in high doses. It is often sold as an essential oil with diverse applications. As with every essential oil, it can potentially kill Bed Bugs and is found (in this study) to be one of the most effective green fumigants.
The effectiveness of essential oils compared to synthetic insecticides is very low. You’ll need 400 times more oil applied to show the same result. Nevertheless, these green alternatives could be an option if the high doses wouldn’t result in a higher impact on your health.
More studies have to be conducted and better products have to be developed to make camphor a more effective natural insecticide.
If you apply camphor in low doses and avoid direct contact (with you, your kids, and pets) it could be a part of your strategy against Bed Bugs. We suggest using fumigation as your primary application (if you like the strong smell).
Cedar Oil (Cedarwood)
This Essential Oil contains a variety of natural oils (geraniol, cedar, etc.) and differs in constituents and concentrations. Like every oil, cedarwood has the ability to kill Bed Bugs on contact by suffocating the insects and damaging the outer shell. The efficiency of cedarwood oil depends highly on the chemical components and can cause mortality rates up to 47 % after 7 days (as this study shows).
Cedarwood has a strong scent and is not as effective as silicone oil (95 – 100 % ) and paraffin oil (95 %). But even if Silicone oil and paraffin oil are nontoxic we do recommend using cedarwood because it is an all-natural essential oil.
Out of the Cedar oil category comes one remedy that has a special proportion and is highly effective against Bed Bugs:
Ecoraider contains cedar oil, geraniol, and other (secret) components that result in a mortality rate between 95 – 100 %. It is all-natural and claims to have a residual (long term) effect, that normal oils don’t possess.
This residual component can last up to 14 days and increase the overall efficacy and reduce the effort of repetitive applications. We highly recommend Ecoraider as the #1 green Bed Bug treatment! (also supported here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4592615/)
One of the most reactive elements in the world is Chlorine that is used in various combinations and applications. It is a classical Bleach agent and disinfectant and common in many households. Products containing chlorine have a low dose to avoid misuse and toxic effects. Like every Bleach, this remedy can kill Bed Bugs and Eggs on contact by damaging the outer shell.
The usual component in Bleach products containing Chlorine is sodium hypochlorite that has high oxidative properties and makes this chemical toxic to organic material at a specific concentration. This should be taken into account if considering using it as a Bed Bug treatment.
Chlorine has a strong scent (you maybe know from pools) and is not pleasant to most people.
We do not recommend Chlorine as a Bed Bug repellent due to its potential hazards and difficult application onto these insects. The direct application reduces the efficacy and induces potential contact with humans.
Clorox bleach products are very popular in U.S. households and a typical Bleach that is highly oxidative and reactive. It contains sodium hypochlorite and can kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs on contact. The concentration of chlorine is reduced to decrease the possibility of toxic reactions in humans.
Nevertheless, we do not recommend using Clorox in the vicinity of humans as a Bed Bug repellent. The potential overdose and chemical responsiveness with other materials have to be avoided.
The direct application is also a negative aspect since it is hard to get into each crack and crevices. It is very unlikely to reach all Bed Bugs.
Crocin is a red dye found in many crocus and gardenia that is responsible for the color of Safran. It has shown antioxidant and mild antidepressant properties. This chemical does not kill Bed Bugs or their Eggs. It has no influence when applied directly and also can’t avoid bites when ingested.
Cypermethrin is a popular insecticide and classified as a pyrethroid. It is often used to fight Bed Bugs and other insects. It is toxic to the nervous system and induces an irreversible opening of neurotic connections. The uncontrolled firing of neurons leads to paralysis, coma, and finally death. Cypermethrin does kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs on Contact. It has lower indirect efficiency.
The general effectiveness declines due to the (increasing) resistance of Bed Bugs to insecticides (which can be up to 90% as shown in some studies). Cypermethrin is often used as one compound in various insecticides which could reduce the resistance effect.
The indirect mortality rate of cypermethrin is very low.
The residual (long-term) effect depends upon the concentration but is usually much lower as in the direct application. Indirectly used cypermethrin is taken up by the Bed Bug legs and therefore only a small portion. This slight contact could induce a repelling effect because Bed Bugs avoid the insecticides leftovers but it is not sufficient for treatment.
Cypermethrin is toxic to pets and humans in higher doses. It accumulates indoors and can’t be washed away (see pyrethroids). We do not recommend using this chemical, due to its potential hazards and unclear efficiency.
If you plan to use cypermethrin nevertheless, you should apply ready-to-use mixtures and highly stick to the instruction. Spray it sparely and only into obvious Bed Bug nests.
DEET (diethyltoluamide) is the most effective arthropod repellent and the gold standard to avoid mosquito bites. This chemical is synthetic produced, colorless, transparent to slightly yellow, oily, and has a light, specific odor. It is applied to the skin and masks the attractive skin components. In some species, it also repels insects by the unpleasant scent. DEET does not kill any insects (including Bed Bugs).
Nevertheless, the repelling effect of DEET is also applicable to avoid Bed Bug bites. It is highly effective in a usual dosage (25% DEET) and outperforms many essential oils and classic insecticides (permethrin, picaridin). The repellency within several hours is close to 100 % and remains at 94 % after 14 days (as shown in this study).
Essential oils and classical insecticides do show a much lower repellent effect at around 70 % after 2 hours and only 50 % within 1 day. The difference to DEET is increasing in the following days of application.
DEET is an ultra-high repellent against Bed Bugs but nonetheless is not a natural remedy. It is known as a safe chemical in normal doses but still has a slightly toxic influence and can cause skin irritations and other side effects. Furthermore, DEET is a solvent and can harm leather, synthetic fabric, and plastics.
The advantage of DEET to repel Bed Bugs can be used as a short-term treatment to reduce the nuisance of active Bed Bugs. It should be removed after the application (e.g. showering in the morning) and applied as little as possible.
It is also possible to protect clothes, shoes, and luggage in an infested area (e.g. hotel room) that is likely to come in contact with Bed Bugs. This will highly reduce the possibility of an imported infestation.
We do recommend DEET as a short-term repellent to reduce the impairment immediately and enable the shift to a long-term strategy. It can also be applied to luggage and shoes to avoid external infestation.
Demon WP is a classical insecticide that contains a pyrethroid (cypermethrin) that can kill Bed Bugs when coming in direct contact. It opens up the sodium channels and leads to paralysis and finally death.
This chemical has several downsides as it must be applied directly onto the Bugs and can have highly downgraded effectiveness due to resistances in modern Bed Bug colonies.
You should prefer chemical-free remedies with high effectiveness.
Dettol is a disinfectant that contains chloroxylenol and can kill a huge variety of bacteria and viruses. The antiseptic properties also affect Bed Bugs and can kill them on contact. The mortality rate of Dettol depends on the amount of fluid that comes in direct contact with the bugs. It is possible to fight uncovered Bed Bugs but inappropriate to get rid of the whole infestation with Dettol.
The need for direct application makes it hard to reach all Bed Bugs in their hidden spaces. Crevices and cracks are hard to spray and mattresses are even harder to treat. Furthermore, Dettol isn’t the cheapest remedy to spray widely all over the place.
We do not recommend using Dettol, even it is mostly a safe option. The application is overall ineffective to get rid of the whole infestation and different remedies are to be preferred.
Diatomaceous Earth is a fine powder made of natural fossil remains and very effective in killing Bed Bugs. This crumbled powder consists of tiny sharp-edged fossils that cut the exoskeleton of the Bugs on contact. This leads to dehydration and death of 100% of the Bed Bugs within several days (as this study shows).
This mechanical insecticide is very popular as it contains no chemicals and is very affordable. The treatment with Diatomaceous Earth takes time since only the adult Bed Bugs are hurt and even they don’t die immediately.
The application of this powder is crucial for its long-term effect.
You should inspect the infested area and check cracks and crevices for Bed Bug traces. Suspicious areas should get generously filled with Diatomaceous Earth. Place the powder on every place where Bed Bugs could eventually move. After this placement of the powder, you need to wait and check the result.
Vacuum the powder and possible Bed Bug bodies every 4 – 6 days and repeat the procedure. Carefully observe the declination of the number of dead Bed Bugs. When you don’t find any Bugs for at least 1 week, repeat the cycle one more time.
We recommend Diatomaceous Earth as a natural possibility to get rid of Bed Bugs. You should consider mixing this method with other remedies to increase the speed and probability of successful treatment.
Doom (Doktor Doom)
This spray is a classical insecticide that contains pyrethrin and is applied to infested areas to kill Bed Bugs. Pyrethrins are botanical insecticides derived from chrysanthemum flowers and can kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs on contact. The application is easy but still has to be considered its toxicity.
Doom works on direct contact and has some minor residual effects. Besides its general kill rate, it is studied, that more and more Bed Bugs (up to 90 %) are becoming resistant to these chemicals.
Furthermore, the use of chemicals in humans’ vicinity should be reduced to a minimum. We do not recommend using Doom to fight a Bed Bug infestation, because it has a reduced mortality rate, is hard to apply directly to the hidden Bed Bugs, and can initiate some health issues when used incorrectly.
Doom (Herbal Bed Bug Spray)
There is another Bed Bug spray on the market that’s named “Doom”. It is hard to find information about the product but it states all-natural ingredients and a 100 % effect. After some research, it seems this product comes from an Indian Company (Vin Corporation).
The ingredients aren’t stated and we do not recommend using a product which unknown substances. We doubt it has this high effectiveness and is totally natural. You should stick to well-known and proven remedies.
Ecologic Bed Bug killer is a natural spray that uses lemongrass (citronellic acid) as an active ingredient to fight Bed Bugs. This essential oil increases the acidity of Bed Bugs and does kill them on contact quite effectively. It is safe to be used in the human vicinity. The mortality rate of lemongrass is not as high as silicone and paraffin oils, but acceptable.
Lemongrass oil has a strong odor and will fill up the room for several days when used. We’ve seen quite a few people that find this scent annoying and can’t apply Ecologic in their bedrooms.
The downside of Ecologic is its direct application and its slightly reduced killing rate. If you don’t mind the smell you can buy Ecologic. Like every other insecticide, this spray has to be applied repeatedly.
We’d suggest considering using Ecoraider as an all-natural Bed Bug killer.
Epsom salt (also known as bitter salt) is a magnesium sulfate made of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. It is edible and its effect on Bed Bugs is the same as common salt. When getting in contact with the exoskeleton of the Bugs Epsom doesn’t affect them at all. The outer shell doesn’t let salt get in and the bodies don’t dry out. Unfortunately, Epsom does not kill any Bed Bugs.
The active ingredient in alcoholic drinks is ethanol that naturally occurs when sugary food ferments. It is widely used as an antiseptic, disinfectant, and fuel. Ethanol is volatile and flammable. Like every alcohol, this chemical can kill Bed Bugs on contact by destabilizing the proteins of their body and drying them out.
The application of Ethanol to kill Bed Bugs is very hard because the fluid evaporates quickly and needs direct contact with the insects. Ethanol does also has a distinctive smell and is not intended to use as an insecticide. Since it is flammable we do not recommend using it.
If you plan to use Ethanol nevertheless, you need a solution with a high proportion (at least 70 % of Ethanol). That’s why it is insufficient to pour alcoholic drinks onto your mattress as they usually contain 40 % or less Ethanol.
Eucalyptus and Eucalyptus Oil
This essential oil is made from the eucalyptus tree leaves and has a long history of appliance. It is used as an anti-inflammatory and stimulator of blood circulation. It also claims to have antiseptic effects. Like every essential oil eucalyptus oil has some effect on bed Bugs and can them on contact. The effect seems to be quite low and it is unclear if this oil only suffocates the insects or harms their nervous system.
Eucalyptus Oil is not the most effective essential oil but can be used as a green remedy, as it is harmless to apply. When mixed up as a spray it should be combined with more efficient oils (cedarwood, camphor).
Fabuloso is a multi-purpose cleaner commonly used in many households to remove dirt, wash dishes, and clean surfaces. Its active ingredient is Sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate, which is a surfactant and is therefore lowering the surface tension. This mechanism does not influence Bed Bugs and Fabuloso has the same effect as water on the insects.
A Bed Bug that is covered with Fabuloso may suffocate because it is disconnected from the oxygen supply, but it won’t die due to some special chemical effect.
The lavender scent in Fabuloso does not help to fight a Bed Bug infestation effectively. It may have a very light repellency but this doesn’t lead to fewer Bed Bugs.
Febreze is an odor eliminator that contains a cyclodextrin group as its active ingredient. This compound is basically a glucose ring that can absorb odors. These starchy rings are non-toxic and even allowed as a food additive. Febreze does not have any effect on Bed Bugs and won’t kill them.
Nevertheless, these glucose rings are studied and developed at a high rate and it seems possible, that some of them could have an anti-viral effect (shown here). This could lead to new products and may have an effect on Bed Bugs in the far future.
Flea Spray and Powder
An infestation with flea is very common for households with cats and dogs. There are many products on the market which claim to be very effective. The application of flea remedies to fight Bed Bugs is not intended by the manufacturers. The mortality rate of Bed Bugs depends on the active ingredient and its proportion in the product.
Although some of these ingredients actually do have a significant effect on Bed Bugs, we do not recommend using unspecific products to kill the insects. You should always prefer concrete measures and long-term effective remedies to get rid of the infestation.
Garlic is one of the oldest food flavors and comes back to the ancient Egyptians. It has a strong odor and allegedly has a repellent effect on mosquitos. This impact isn’t scientifically proven and the reaction with Bed Bugs is equally low. Garlic is delicious but does not kill any Bed Bug.
The colorless fluid consists of petroleum and a variety of additives and is highly flammable. It evaporates quickly and dries out the exoskeleton of the Bed Bugs. This finally kills the insect, but is a fairly bad treatment, because this fluid is very dangerous and only belongs to a piston engine.
Gentrol is an insecticide that uses IGR (Insect Growth Regulators) to inhibit the reproduction cycle and avoid further offspring coming into play. Classic Gentrol reduces infestation in the long term but does not kill Bed Bugs directly. It has to be applied directly to the insects and should be combined with an effective Bed Bug killer to show fast and long-lasting results.
This could be performed with an effective insecticide or remedy. Gentrol does offer this knock-down effect with its ‘Complete Aerosol’ which also contains a pyrethroid (Cyhalothrin). As Bed Bugs become more and more resistant to pyrethroids it’s somehow unclear how effective the knock-down effect will be.
The active ingredient of the IGR is Hydroprene which is the only IGR labeled for Bed Bug control. The artificial hormone normally sterilizes the insects when coming into contact. This is not the case for Bed Bugs. They die in most cases after molting but still can reproduce when survived.
It is unclear how this affects a real infestation out of the laboratory, but we do believe it can have a significant effect when applied regularly and in combination with other measures.
Like most of the sprays, Gentrol has to be applied directly to the Bed Bugs. This makes it quite hard to reach all parasites and could lead to prolonged treatment duration.
Insecticides and chemicals aren’t our first choice, but if you prefer to use them, you should consider having an IGR like Gentrol at hand.
Glade is a popular air refresher that is available in different scents and applications (spray, automatic refresher). The purpose of Glade is to distribute a pleasant odor. This product does not contain any substance that could kill Bed Bugs or their Eggs.
The different odors contain only a small amount of scent and are much weaker compared to their original source (like lavender oil). Also, these scents do not have a great impact on Bed Bugs and don’t repel them effectively.
If you’d like to use specific scents you should prefer Essential Oils.
The variety of different glass cleaner products is huge and so is the spread of the distinctive ingredients. Most of the sprays contain a surfactant, a solvent, and ammonia-D. While the surfactant doesn’t affect Bed Bugs, the solvent could dry them out if applied directly. Ammonia is very corrosive and could damage the outer shell. So, generally, glass cleaners could potentially kill Bed Bugs.
The downside of these products is their low proportion of Bed Bug effective ingredients. Ammonia for example has a very strong smell and fills rarely more than 1.5 % of the bottle. This high dilution makes glass cleaner unsuitable Bed Bug remedies.
You should apply them only on visible Bed Bugs when direct contact is possible and no better agents are at hand.
This disinfectant spray uses 60 % ethanol as its active ingredient. Like every alcohol, this type can kill Bed Bugs in direct contact by destabilizing the cell membrane and drying out the insect. The application of a contact spray is quite hard, as Bed Bugs hide in small cracks and crevices.
Furthermore, the proportion of ethanol in Glen 20 is quite low and it seems unsure if 60 % is sufficient to kill all Bed Bugs even on direct contact.
Grain Alcohol is purified ethanol and made from the distillation of grain alcohol with a proportion of at least 90 %. It comes in different combinations and from various brands. Its effect is derived from the main ingredient ethanol and can kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs on direct contact. It is flammable and volatile.
Grain alcohol works as a solvent and surfactant. It damages the outer shell of the Bugs and dries them out. This impact is limited to direct contact which makes it hard to fight a Bed Bug infestation solely with alcohol. The parasites hide in cracks and crevices and can be easily overlooked.
Ethanol evaporates quickly making it even harder to apply the fluid in a concrete and precise manner. We do not recommend pouring alcohol over your bed, because it is ineffective and dangerous.
Isopropyl Alcohol from Green Cross contains 70 % of disinfectant alcohol and would kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs on direct contact. It contains denaturants and is not consumable for humans (in distinction to ethanol). The effect of killing Bed Bugs is caused by damaging the outer cells and drying them out because alcohol evaporates quickly.
The direct application to Bed Bugs is difficult because these insects hide in small cracks and crevices. It is unlikely to reach every Bed Bug and therefore ineffective to use alcohol as a contact spray. It could only be used to kill visible and uncovered Bugs.
The Guava tree from South America holds a fruit that contains several essential oils and other chemical substances. This fruit (and also the leaves) do have an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic effect. Guava is part of many products ranging from cremes to oil. There is no scientific data that supports any insecticide effect and therefore it seems Guava does not kill or repel Bed Bugs.
There are several scents and essential oils that are well studied and have proven to have an impact on Bed Bugs. Generally, it is considered that every essential oil could have an influence on these insects. In most cases, this influence is minor and not capable of fighting a Bed Bug infestation.
We do believe the ingredients of Guava are too few to kill or repel the parasites. Proven chemicals do have a clear mechanism and often need high doses if natural. As we don’t see this here, Guava is ineffective in any Bed Bug treatment.
Hand sanitizers contain antiseptic compounds that kill bacteria and viruses. The active ingredient is usually a mixture of different alcohol types (ethanol, isopropyl) at various concentrations. Other chemicals (e.g. triclosan) do rarely replace alcohol. The active ingredients are generally capable of killing Bed Bugs and their eggs by damaging their shell and drying them out.
The disadvantage of hand sanitizer is their low proportion in the product. Alcohol barely reaches 60 %. This reduces the effectiveness and makes hand sanitizer a product that can’t be recommended.
Additionally, some of the products are difficult to apply to the Bed Bugs hideouts. You can’t use a creme or hand dispenser to fill cracks and crevices in your bedroom.
Hit is a common insecticide spray that contains a synthetic pyrethroid (Allethrin) as the active ingredient. It also includes PBO (Piperonyl butoxide) as a synergist which inhibits the capability of insects to break down the toxic. This leads to less resistance and higher mortality rates. Hit is killing Bed Bugs on direct contact but has no residual effect.
It has to be applied repeatedly and can only kill Bed Bugs that are uncovered. This combination makes Hit a chemical we would not recommend as the core of a treatment plan. It should only be applied as a short-term additional remedy.
Hot Shot Bed Bug Killer is an insecticide that contains two pyrethroids (Cyhalothrin, Imiprothrin) that are both effective insect killers by attacking the neurons and blocking or irritating their capability of sending action potentials. This capability is also true for Bed Bugs and makes it a potential Bed Bug killer. There could be a resistance of Bed Bugs to these chemicals, which could decrease its effectiveness.
This possible resistance is counteracted by the combination of two different chemicals and will probably lead to higher mortality rates as single chemical products.
The active ingredients in Hot Shot result in a knock-down effect, which makes Bed Bugs unable to move within seconds and kills them within the next minutes or hours. This impact can only occur when applied directly to the parasites. This is a common downside in the application of sprays and makes them somehow ineffective as Bed Bugs are good in hiding.
Compared to other insecticides Hot Shot does not have a distinctive long-term effect. It can be used to kill uncovered Bed Bugs and reduce their quantity but it is insufficient to fight the whole infestation.
We do not recommend using these kinds of chemicals, but if you plan to do so you should consider a product that has a long-term effect too (like Gentrol with its Insect Growth Regulator).
Hydrogen Peroxide is a classical bleach agent and is found in various products. It is falling apart into hydrogen and oxygen and does have a strong oxidative effect. It is toxic to cells and can damage them on contact. This is why hydrogen peroxide can kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs when applied directly.
This toxic effect is also true for any cell and that is why we do not recommend using this chemical to fight an infestation. Furthermore, the application must attack Bed Bugs directly which is hard to manage, as the little Bugs are good in hiding.
Incense is an ancient material that produces a certain smell when burnt. It is also part of essential oils and some modern insecticides on a pyrethroid base. The incense itself does not have a chemical compound that can kill Bed Bugs. The scent doesn’t have a great effect on the Bugs and it cannot fight an infestation.
In combination with different essential oils or chemicals like pyrethroid, it has the potential of killing Bugs. That depends only on the active ingredient and isn’t conducted by Incense. We do not recommend Incense, because it simply lacks an effect.
Indorex is an insecticide that is designed to kill and fight a flea infestation. It contains a combination of chemicals, that also affect Bed Bugs. Active ingredients are pyrethroids and permethrin that can kill Bed Bugs immediately on contact. It also contains an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) that can potentially inhibit the developmental process of Bed Bugs.
These capabilities are limited to a direct application and could be lower due to its specific design for flea treatment. The research has no reliable data on the cross-application of flea sprays, but we expect a relevant correlation between these mechanisms.
This product could be a Bed Bug killer with a residual effect when applied directly and repeatedly. If you consider using a chemical, this could reduce the Bed Bug infestation.
Imidacloprid is a synthetic insecticide that affects the nicotinoid receptors of neurons. This leads to a permanent activation of the cell and causes paralysis and finally death. Imidacloprid cannot be broken down by Bed Bugs, so it’s probably more effective in high resistant infestations.
Nevertheless, the mortality rate of this chemical alone is generally lower. That’s why it is usually combined with other chemicals that provide a more effective knock-down effect.
Imidacloprid has to be applied directly and is not effective enough as a stand-alone insecticide. Even if it can be a useful compound in a Bed Bug product we do not recommend using this chemical as the preferred treatment.
Imiprothrin is a synthetic pyrethroid that is very popular against a great variety of insects. It inhibits the neurons and causes their uncontrolled activation. This leads to an immediate paralysis (knock-down effect) followed by death. Imiprothrin does kill Bed Bugs.
The disadvantage of widely used insecticides is the resistance a pest develops over time. Some studies suggest, that pyrethroids lost their effectiveness and have decreased mortality rates.
Imiprothrin also must be applied directly at the Bed Bugs and has no residual effect (long-term). That’s why we don’t recommend using this chemical. You should prefer green and more effective products.
This type of alcohol is an ingredient in many disinfectants and antiseptic products. It contains denaturants and is not consumable by humans. It is toxic to the outer shell of the Bed Bugs and damages it. It also evaporates quickly and dries the Bugs out. Yet, it still is flammable and toxic to humans as well.
You should avoid using highly concentrated Isopropyl in the vicinity of humans for not-intended purposes (like spraying your bed). It also requires direct contact with the parasites and isn’t an effective long-term treatment.
Ivermectin is a medicine used in humans and mammals to fight ectoparasites and parasitic worms. It contains a mixture of two half synthetic chemicals (Avermectin) and binds on glutamate-activating chloride channels. It inhibits the neurons to send signals and therefore paralyzes and kills the parasites. Recent studies show, that Ivermectin can kill Bed Bugs.
The mechanism is similar to other insecticides like pyrethroid. Even if Ivermectin is originally not intended to be a treatment against Bed Bugs those studies have shown it can potentially be transferred to them.
The clinical trials are not finished yet and it has to be clarified which doses have to be applied in humans to kill Bed Bugs. Recent studies have shown a mortality rate of 50%.
After completing the trials and giving clear answers for the application, Ivermectin could become an oral way to fight Bed Bugs. Nevertheless, this medicine can only support other measures in a complete Bed Bug treatment. It can only affect Bugs that have bitten you and the mortality rate is quite low.
Bed Bugs are a huge nuisance and nobody wants to be bitten, even if you know the parasite will die. Generally, it is preferred to kill the Bugs as soon as possible and avoid further bites.
Finally, we need to stress out, that Ivermectin has not yet proven sufficiently to be effective and safe (in possible higher doses and long term). You always need to contact your doc before starting a treatment.
Jeyes is a company from the UK that is famous for its original product “Jeyes Fluid” which is now an outdoor cleaner containing diverse chemicals (Cresol, Terpineol, Xylenol) that are very aggressive and potentially toxic. It has to be handled with care and it is very likely, that these ingredients will kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs on contact.
The product is harmful in contact with skin and causes serious eye damage. It also has a very unpleasant odor. We would never even consider using that type of product in our closer environment.
Jeyes does also have an All-Purpose Cleaner that is a disinfectant and contains different and less harmful chemicals (alcohol, sodium hydroxide a.k.a. lye). Lye is very alkaline and toxic against tissue. It is strongly diluted to avoid negative health effects. It still has the potential and probably will kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs on contact.
Nevertheless, we cannot recommend this product either, as it still is a chemical cocktail and the application is difficult because the cleaner needs direct contact with the Bed Bugs.
Jik is a classical Bleach that contains sodium hypochlorite as an active ingredient. This chemical is highly oxidative and toxic to any organic material. Like every Bleach also Jik can kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs on direct contact. It must be considered, that it is not easy to apply against the hideouts and can have negative effects on humans as well.
We do not recommend using any Bleach (and Jik) due to the combination of the need for direct contact, possible health downsides, and the unpleasant odor.
K9 Advantix II is a liquid insecticide against fleas and ticks that is applied directly onto the skin of dogs. It contains a pyrethroid (Permethrin 44%), a resistance insecticide (Imidaclorprid 9%), and an IGR (Pyriproxifen 0.5%). The combination makes K9 Advantix a potent Bed Bug killer.
Nevertheless, K9 is only intended to be applied to dogs and is still a chemical product. You should stick to the instructions carefully and only use them as long as necessary. You should avoid using K9 Advantix on human skin. (And to be honest, we wouldn’t apply it to our dog’s skin either, if avoidable)
This fluid contains hydrocarbon and is made of mineral oil via fractioned distillation. Several additives are included to obtain supportive properties for the intended use in turbines. It is less flammable and as volatile as gasoline. Mixed with oxygen the fumes can form an explosive combination. Kerosine does kill Bed Bugs on contact but is too dangerous to apply.
Kerosine shouldn’t be used outside a turbine or intended burning device. It easily builds invisible fumes that are hard to predict. They are heavier than air and mustn’t be inhaled. Never use kerosine to kill Bed Bugs!
Kilz is a company name that sells many painting products. The most common use is the primer which comes in various forms (painting, aerosol). The detailed chemicals included depend on the exact product but petroleum, talc, titanium dioxide, and limestone are usually included. These chemicals are potentially hazardous to Bed Bugs and are likely to kill them.
This effect is true for all paintings and primers equally. Kilz does not have a greater impact on Bed Bugs than any other primer.
Furthermore, Bed Bugs seek dark and protected hiding spots. These hideouts are usually in bed frames and crevices in the close vicinity of the bed. Walls are not the first choice for Bed Bugs. If you have Bed Bugs in your wall you should consider filling the cracks. You can paint the walls for this purpose. (More here: Does Painting the Walls Help Get Rid of Bed Bugs?)
Painting the walls won’t kill all Bed Bugs. They’ll find a different hiding spot and the nuisance will continue. You have to apply a complete strategy to get rid of the parasites.
Kleen Green is a natural enzyme cleaner that also contains light amounts of citric acid (0.05 %). It is not intended to kill Bed Bugs but it is possible, that the enzymes are impacting the outer shell. The effect has not been studied yet and the mortality rate is unknown.
The amount of citric acid seems quite low and we don’t expect this portion to have a great impact on Bed Bugs. Kleen Green has to be applied directly to Bed Bugs and should be sprayed into cracks and around your bed. It is possible to spray the mattress because Kleen Green is all-natural.
Looking for a ‘green’ Bed Bug solution Kleen Green could be a potential helper. As it is unsure how effective this measure will be, you always need supporting treatment to fight the infestation as a whole.
Knockout (Virbac Knockout E.S.)
This insecticide contains a compound of pyrethroid (Permethrin 0.40 %), pyrethrin (0.05 %,) and an IGR (Pyriproxifen 0.10 %). The main purpose of this aerosol is to fight fleas, but the ingredients are also capable of killing Bed Bugs. The combination of different chemicals raises the chance of avoiding resistance.
The Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) does have the potential of disturbing the developmental cycle and reducing the infestation over the long run. The spray has to be applied regularly and directly against Bed Bugs.
We suggest using natural Bed Bug killers instead of chemical products. If you wish to have insecticides at hand, Knockout can be a possible option.
The Bed Bug Insecticide Spray from Konk is an aerosol that relies on pyrethrins (0.5%) mixed with PBO (piperonyl butoxide 5.0 %). Pyrethrins are able to kill Bed Bugs on contact by impacting their neurons. PBO inhibits the breakdown of that insecticide so resistances can be reduced and the mortality rates rise.
The combination of these two types is typical and can be effective when applied to Bed Bugs. The impact is greatest when used directly and repeatedly. We do not recommend chemicals, but if you want to use them, Konk can be a potent part of the treatment.
The variety of different laundry products is huge, but most of them contain surfactants, bleach, enzymes, and some other chemicals. These ingredients can attack the outer shell of Bed Bugs and kill them after prolonged contact. The damaged exoskeleton will cause the parasites to dehydrate and die.
The effectiveness depends on the detailed ingredients, their proportion, and their application with the Bed Bugs. Generally, it is a good idea to wash infected fabrics because temperatures above 114°F (46°C) will kill all Bed Bugs and their Eggs. Lower temperatures (with decreased killing ratios) alone need to be supported by the detergent (that will increase the mortality rate again).
It is quite difficult to apply a detergent without washing clothes. The product often needs to be diluted in water and applied directly to the Bed Bugs. This lowers the effectiveness and we do not recommend using this chemical mix close to your sleeping area.
Lavender and Lavender Spray
Lavender is one of the most cited essential oil when it comes to repelling Bed Bugs. It has a specific odor and is used for many purposes. Nevertheless, lavender does not have any toxic effect on Bed Bugs. There is no scientific data that supports this claim and it is unlikely that lavender does kill Bed Bugs effectively.
Recent studies have shown, that most of the essential oils have some effect on Bed Bugs, at least when applied in a high dose. Some of those oils even have proved to be quite useful (like camphor or lemongrass). This is not true for lavender that isn’t supported by any study.
We expect lavender to have a mortality rate compared to some other inefficient oils. They do have similar structures and they probably have the same (low) impact. It is not entirely clear how they work but it is expected to be a combination of suffocating and hindering the Bed Bugs.
You can use lavender to gain some insights if it works with your Bed Bugs, but you must combine this with an efficient method to get rid of the parasites.
Lemongrass Oil contains citronellic acid, which is a powerful compound to kill Bed Bugs. It is less effective than paraffin or silicone oils, but the most potent essential oil against the parasites. This oil increases the acidity of Bed Bugs and does kill them on contact quite effectively.
You can apply Lemongrass Oil itself or use products that contain citronellic acid (like Ecoraider). Lemongrass has a quite strong odor. Some people reported having problems with this strong scent. You should test this before spraying the whole bedroom and your mattress.
Lemons and lemon juice contain a high proportion of citric acid. This chemical has a very low pH (about 2.0) and is quite aggressive against tissue. It can harm the outer shell of Bed Bugs and kill them quite effectively. It is necessary to apply a high dose and come in contact with the Bugs directly.
The scientific data is based upon the mechanism of lemongrass essential oil, which has shown to be one of the most effective natural Bed Bug killers. It is the active ingredient of several ‘green’ pest removers. We expect a comparable effect of lemon juice.
Due to the lack of specific trials of lemon juice, we’d suggest using undiluted fresh-squeezed juice of lemons (here’s why) to obtain the best killing ratio. You should spray it into cracks and crevices in the infected area and check repeatedly for the success rate.
Many products against lice are on the market and the range of active ingredients varies strongly. The effectiveness of Lice spray against Bed Bugs depends upon its proportion. Many remedies contain pyrethroids or pyrethrins that are capable of killing Bed Bugs on contact. Some products ‘only’ contain a mixture with salt as the active ingredient. This won’t have any impact on the parasites.
Lice and Bed Bugs are quite different and while lice do live on your head, Bed Bugs don’t. This body area isn’t suitable for them. It is not impossible for them to be on your scalp, but the infestation lives in/at your bed, not on your head.
In the end, Lice Spray more often can kill Bed Bugs but it needs to be applied directly and will mostly be less effective than real Bed Bug Sprays.
The high acidity of Lime Juice is the main factor concerning Bed Bugs. The pH is very low (appr. 2.1) and the citric acid does attack the outer shell and can kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs. To obtain the maximum mortality rate Lemon Juice has to be fresh and applied directly to the Bed Bugs.
As with Lemon Juice, the data relies on Lemongrass Essential Oil with citronellic acid and we expect a similar effect of Lime Juice. The chemicals behave in the same way and the acidity is equal.
The downside of lime juice is the difficult application and that’s why we stick with Ecoraider as the better alternative.
Lysol is a disinfectant that contains chloroxylenol and can kill a huge variety of bacteria and viruses. The antiseptic properties also affect Bed Bugs and can kill them on contact. The mortality rate of Lysol depends on the amount of fluid that comes in direct contact with the bugs. It is possible to fight uncovered Bed Bugs but inappropriate to get rid of the whole infestation with Lysol.
The need for direct application makes it hard to reach all Bed Bugs in their hidden spaces. Crevices and cracks are hard to spray and mattresses are even harder to treat. Furthermore, Lysol isn’t the cheapest remedy to spray widely all over the place.
We do not recommend using Lysol, even it is mostly a safe option. The application is overall ineffective to get rid of the whole infestation and different remedies are to be preferred.
Lysol Laundry Sanitizer
This laundry additive contains several ammonium chloride chemicals that work as disinfectants and antiseptics in many places. These chemicals cause disruption of intermolecular interactions and dissociation of lipid layers. Coming in contact with Bed Bugs will probably damage their outer shell and kill them.
Many disinfectants do have a severe impact on Bed Bugs when coming in direct contact. The mechanisms vary but the effect is quite similar. The aggressive chemicals do attack the protective layer and the Bugs will die over the long term.
Nevertheless, these products often aren’t made for killing Bed Bugs and they lack proven data.
You should apply Lysol Laundry Sanitizer only as stated in the manual. Don’t pour it over your bed. You can add it to your laundry if the temperature is limited by your clothes.
Malathion is an insecticide that is widely used in agriculture to eliminate insects by spraying large areas. It is also an active ingredient in some lice shampoos. This chemical triggers a complex chain reaction that has the same effect as pyrethroids. The neurons are finally overstimulated, leading to paralysis and death. Malathion could kill Bed Bugs.
Nevertheless, Malathion has some disadvantages. Primarily it is not intended to kill Bed Bugs and the effect is not yet researched. It is also only an outdoor remedy and you should avoid using it indoors. The odor of Malathion is similar to sulfur and quite annoying.
Furthermore, it still is an insecticide and you should avoid coming in contact with it. The IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) has put Malathion in the category of probably carcinogenic chemicals (published here).
We suggest using a green alternative with a high effectivity instead (like Ecoraider).
Methylated Spirits (Denatured Alcohol)
Methylated Spirit is a special form of ethanol that contains a bunch of additives (mainly methyl alcohol) to make it unpleasant to consume. In this way, the products can avoid paying alcoholic taxes and remain at a low price. The proportion of ethanol does vary a lot and can be below 50%. Denatured Alcohol can kill Bed Bugs on contact.
Ethanol is a quite aggressive fluid that does attack the outer shell of the parasites and causes them to dry out. The effectiveness depends on the proportion of ethanol and the duration of the direct contact.
Nevertheless, Methylated Spirits isn’t a recommended remedy, because it is difficult to apply and can have harmful effects. It is not healthy to pour alcohol onto your bed. You should consider using a green and effective product (like Ecoraider).
Microban is a disinfectant spray that contains Phenylphenol and an ammonium chloride compound that are anti-microbial. They are not intended to kill Bed Bugs but will probably harm the outer shell and harm them enough to die. The mechanism and effectivity haven’t been subject to any research and Bed Bug products are to be preferred.
Microban can only have any effect on Bed Bugs when applied directly to them. If you don’t have any other product at hand and find Bed Bugs, you can use it. But you won’t get rid of a Bed Bug infestation with this method.
Mint, Peppermint Oil
Peppermint Oil is an essential oil that contains high rates of menthol and some other chemical compounds. It is also included in some green Bed Bug products (like Bed Bug Patrol). The scientific data is not clear, but it can be expected that mint oil (like every essential oil) has some effect on Bed Bugs and could potentially kill them.
One study tested spearmint oil and has found a significantly lower kill ratio (5 %) compared to other oils (silicone, paraffin, and cedar oil >95%). On the other hand, Bed Bug Patrol (1% mint oil) is one of 2 natural remedies that can kill Bed Bugs completely (shown in this study).
The research is not completed, but we expect mint oil to be ineffective against Bed Bug Eggs. This is why we prefer using Ecoraider (the other natural remedy), which does kill nearly all Bed Bugs and their Eggs.
Mortein is an Australian insecticide brand that primarily uses pyrethroids (Allethrin, Resmethrin) to kill Bed Bugs. Pyrethroids are blocking the sodium channels and cause paralysis and finally death. The effectiveness can be reduced by resistances and an indirect application.
The mortality rate of Mortein against Bed Bugs has not been studied yet and we recommend using a natural alternative with a proven high effectivity (like Ecoraider).
Mosquito Sprays are primarily made to repel biting insects. They can contain DEET, Picaridin (Icaridin), Essential oils, Permethrin, and some other active ingredients. DEET does repel Bed Bugs, Picaridin does not (see this study) and both don’t kill Bed Bugs. Essential oils could kill Bed Bugs, but it highly depends on the type and concentration. Permethrin is a pyrethroid that can kill Bed Bugs.
If you want to kill Bed Bugs and no other remedy is at hand, some sprays could be effective, but most won’t. Mostly you do have only a repellent result.
The application of a killing spray has to be conducted directly. The Bed Bugs definitely have to come in contact with the active ingredient for as long as possible.
While classical Mothballs contained naphthalene or PDCB (paradichlorobenzene), modern products are using pyrethroids or natural ingredients to fight insects. Naphthalene and PDCB have shown to be only limited effective against Bed Bugs (50% after 1 week). Pyrethroids and natural remedies could perform better but aren’t yet researched and recommended.
Mothballs are intended to us in a sealed bag or container holding your clothes to protect them (and kill) moths. The fumes of classical products contain harmful chemicals (and are already banned in the EU). Their killing ratio under perfect conditions is less than 50% after one week (see here).
Modern products contain a typical insecticide that could potentially kill Bed Bugs. When used in a sealed container it is very likely the Bed Bugs will suffer. The concrete mortality rate will depend upon the chemical and its concentration in that container.
It is also possible to purchase natural mothballs. These should contain cedarwood oil (which has shown the best results of essential oils against Bed Bugs). The killing ratio also depends on the concentration in the bag.
If you plan to seal your clothes and fight Bed Bugs you should laundry them before as hot as allowed and after that only apply natural products. We’d suggest using a Bed Bug remedy that has proven its impact (like Ecoraider) instead of a mothball.
Mr. Clean (Mr. Proper)
Mr. Clean is an all-purpose household cleaner that is available as multi-surface liquid or spray. The ingredients vary, but they always contain chemicals (alcohol, pareth, citric acid, lauryl betaine) that will harm Bed Bugs. The application has to be directly on the parasites to kill them effectively.
Mr. Clean is not intended to be used against Bed Bugs but it can be an alternative when no other remedies are at hand. You should limit it to observable Bugs and purchase real Bed Bug products soon.
Nail Polish Remover
The variety of nail polish removers on the market is huge and most of them contain acetone as the active ingredient. It is often supplemented by ethyl acetate and isopropyl alcohol. It is a highly aggressive solvent that will attack Bed Bugs immediately and kill them by damaging the outer shell and drying them out.
Of course, nail polish removers are not intended to be used against Bed Bugs. Even if their effectiveness is quite high, it is still a chemical that can be harmful to humans too. This is supported by the unpleasant strong odor of acetone.
We cannot recommend using nail polish removers to fight a Bed Bug infestation, because you won’t get rid of the problem, it is costly and potentially harmful.
Naphthalene is an insecticide that was the common active ingredient in mothballs. It is now widely replaced by pyrethroids and other chemicals due to its harmful effects on humans. Naphthalene also has a very limited effect on Bed Bugs and kills only 50% after one week.
That makes Naphthalene an ineffective and dangerous product to use against Bed Bugs. You should avoid this chemical and stick to effective and safe alternatives.
Natural Care Flea and Tick Spray
This product is a natural flea spray for pets that contains peppermint oil and eugenol as active ingredients. While its main purpose is to kill fleas it can be expected to have some effect on Bed Bugs, because mint oil is potentially deadly for the Bugs. The scientific data of mint oil is not entirely clear, but we expect a lower mortality rate.
Eugenol is a common chemical that is inserted into different products to produce a spicy smell. It is originally extracted from cloves. The effect of this essential oil on Bed Bugs is not entirely clear, but research suggests it has a limited knockdown effect and a comparable low mortality rate.
The overall efficiency of Natural Care Flea and Tick spray against Bed Bugs could be very limited, but it is a safe option for your dog.
Neem Leaves and Neem Oil
Neem is a mahagoni tree from Asia and Africa that contains multiple bioactive compounds that are widely used in medical and agricultural areas. The active ingredients include salannin, salannol, nimbinen, gedunin and can induce a variety of insecticidal effects. Studies revealed, that neem-based products can have a very high success rate (nearly 90 – 98%) in fighting Bed Bugs.
Neem products do also provide a knockdown effect against these parasites. Nearly 98% of the Bugs in contact with neem are paralyzed within 5 minutes. The mortality rate within 4 days is 90 %.
The detailed mechanism of Neem is not entirely clear, but we expect the mixture of repellent ingredients, natural insect growth regulator (IGR), and insecticidal phytochemicals to be an effective recipe against Bed Bugs.
The long-term effect of Neem isn’t studied yet. But it is probable, that the natural IGR will increase the effectiveness by hindering the molting and developmental process of Bed Bug Eggs and Nymphs.
The application of Neem should be preferably conducted as a sprayed oil to obtain direct contact with the parasites as much as possible. Indirect contact lowers the mortality rate and efficacy and should only be seen as a secondary effect.
Neem does have a strong odor (mix of onion, garlic, and sulfur) that can be unpleasant for some people. Before using Neem the first time you should test the impact of the scent on your well-being.
Nexgard is a chew for dogs that is made to kill fleas and ticks. It contains Afoxolaner that blocks the GABA receptor of neurons and causes a constant firing in the chloride channels (like pyrethroids). This causes paralysis and death. It is absorbed when the parasites suck blood. The mechanism to Bed Bugs is identically and even if no study is present, we expect Nexgard to potentially kill Bed Bugs.
Nexgard is not labeled for Bed Bugs and you won’t have a guarantee, that it will work. We would not suggest applying Nexgard only to fight Bed Bugs, but if you want to kill fleas, affecting some Bed Bugs could be a side effect.
This product is only approved for use on dogs. Use in humans should be avoided strictly.
Nicotine and Nicotinoid
Nicotine is a natural ingredient in tobacco plants and functions as an effective anti-herbivore. It is used as a pesticide for centuries and nowadays is often produced synthetically (Nicotinoid). Nicotine blocks the Acetylcholine receptor of neurons and causes an unstoppable firing. This results in paralysis and finally the death of Bed Bugs and other insects.
Nicotinoid products are very common in the application against these parasites. Several companies are using it in their products under various names (Imidacloprid, Thiamethoxam, Clothianidin, Acetamiprid, Thiacloprid, Dinotefuran, Nitenpyram).
Insecticides containing Nicotinoid have to be applied directly to Bed Bugs to be efficient. This can be hard since Bed Bugs are good in hiding. Furthermore, the overall effectiveness of Nicotine is limited and products in this category often have additional components added.
Nicotine is less toxic in mammals but still a chemical that should be avoided when possible. We suggest preferring natural remedies with a high effectivity instead.
Nix is a brand that has several products in its portfolio. The Nix Lice and Bed Spray is a classical insecticide that contains Permethrin as an active ingredient. This Pyrethroid can kill Bed Bugs on contact and if no resistance exists. It is not intended to use on humans.
The insecticide needs to be applied directly to the Bed Bugs which can be hard because the parasites are good in hiding and aren’t observable very often. Furthermore, it has only 1 active ingredient and lacks residual efficacy. Generally, we would avoid using any chemicals in the bedroom, but if you like to, there are several other products with a more diverse structure.
The company Recal also does have a product named NIX. This is an oily spray with various purposes. It is flammable and can cause issues when wrongly used. This aerosol is highly chemical and probably will kill Bed Bugs on contact. Nevertheless, you should avoid using it against Bed Bugs or in your bedroom.
We suggest using green bed bug products that are safe and efficient (like Ecoraider).
Norwex Mattress Cleaner
Norwex mattress cleaner is a product that is quite natural and uses some solvents as a cleaning agent. It also contains citric acid to adjust the pH. This combination suggests that the cleaner will have some effect on Bed Bugs and can kill them on contact. Nevertheless, the concentration of these ingredients is quite low to be an effective remedy.
Although the company states that this Cleaner does not kill any Bed Bugs we are convinced by experience, that these ingredients will show an effect. Of course, this product isn’t an insecticide and the mortality rate won’t get to the numbers of specific products.
If you only have this cleaner at hand and want to fight some visible Bed Bugs, it might be okay. Nevertheless, you should prefer to apply highly effective and even more natural products.
Nylar is the trade name for the IGR (Insect Growth Regular) Pyriproxifen that is very common in insecticides. It is often applied against fleas but does affect Bed Bugs too. Nylar disturbs the development of Baby Bed Bugs and impacts the molting and growing in various stages. Over the long term, Nylar can reduce the infestation, but won’t kill Bed Bugs instantly.
That’s why it is usually in a mix with other chemicals that provide a knock-down effect (like pyrethroids and pyrethrins). It has to come in contact with the Bugs to provide a residual effect.
We do not recommend using chemicals in the vicinity of humans and their beds, but if you prefer to apply insecticides you should aim for a product including an IGR (Gentrol, Indorex, K9 Avantix, Knockout).
Odoban is a disinfectant and cleaning agent that contains several ammonium chloride chemicals that work as disinfectants and antiseptics in many places. These chemicals cause disruption of intermolecular interactions and dissociation of lipid layers. Coming in contact with Bed Bugs will probably damage their outer shell and kill them.
Many disinfectants do have a severe impact on Bed Bugs when coming in direct contact. The mechanisms vary but the effect is quite similar. The aggressive chemicals do attack the protective layer and the Bugs will die over the long term.
Nevertheless, these products aren’t made for killing Bed Bugs and they lack proven data.
You should apply Odoban only as stated in the manual. Don’t pour it over your bed. You should prefer effective and natural products instead.
Off! is a brand name and a series of products to repel insects. The ingredients vary between the different products and contain DEET or Picaridin. Both chemicals don’t have a great impact on Bed Bugs and don’t kill them. Nevertheless DEET can be useful because it is capable of repelling Bed Bugs.
This effect can be achieved with a normal dosage (25% DEET) and lasts for many days (94% after 14 days). Picaridin doesn’t have this result and should be ignored when having a Bed Bug problem.
As DEET does only repel and not kill any Bed Bug it must be supplied by other remedies to get rid of an infestation.
Orange Guard is a natural pesticide that is made of citrus peel extract and contains d-Limonene as its main active ingredient. The effectiveness of d-Limonene was tested (in this study) and the results show a significant impact on Bed Bugs as 50% of them were found dead after 4 days.
These numbers are quite high for a natural remedy. Nevertheless, a killing rate of 50% under scientific conditions is very low if you have an infestation and want to get rid of the parasites soon. Other products achieve a higher mortality rate (and are natural too).
You can use Orange Guard without any bad feeling and it won’t impact you, but we suggest using other remedies with a better success rate.
Orange Oil is an essential oil that is often produced by Blood Orange and therefore contains a high amount of d-Limonene. This chemical is quite aggressive and can kill up to 50% of the parasites within 4 days (shown in this study). There are several other ingredients in Orange Oil that could potentially increase these numbers, but their proportion is too low to expect a huge rise.
Orange Oil is all-natural and can be considered as a ‘green’ remedy. The application of this oil can be done without any hesitations and is safe for humans and pets.
The mortality rate can only be achieved if you apply Orange Oil direct to the Bed Bugs. You should use a sprayer and treat all areas that are typical for the parasites to hide. This includes the mattress and especially every crack, corner, and crevice in your bedding.
The effectiveness of Orange Oil is quite low (compared to other green products like Ecoraider) and must be repeated very regularly and supported by other measures to really get rid of the infestation.
Orkin is one of the most famous pest companies in the U.S. with a huge distribution all over the country. So, Orkin itself won’t kill any Bed Bugs. It will always depend on the products and specific treatment how effective they are. Sadly, they don’t give any insights into how they do it. There are no examples of chemicals included or costs for the treatment.
Orkin works with their “A.I.M.” approach, which is a fancy way of saying they will take a look at your home, suggest a treatment, and do a checkup to re-assess the situation. This is basically the procedure of how every pest company is working on.
We suggest talking to your local Orkin office and asking on the phone what their main pesticides and methods are. You should also include the price point and let you give as many details as you can (how many treatments are necessary, is it dangerous for pets, is it necessary to repeat the process, how long will it take usually, etc.).
After that, you can come back to this resource to check the pesticide’s effectiveness.
Ortho Home Defense
Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Killer is a popular product designed to kill Bed Bugs. It contains a compound of different chemicals that do have different tasks. The main ingredient is a pyrethroid (Bifenthrin) that can kill Bed Bugs on contact by impacting neurons. PBO (Piperonyl butoxide) is a synergist that inhibits the breakdown of that toxic. This leads to a higher mortality rate (30 times) and reduces the resistance of the parasite.
Imidacloprid is another insecticide that is included in Ortho. It does also affect the neurons and can kill Bed Bugs. It is hard to get broken down by the insects and could have a longer-lasting effect (residual effect).
The combination of different active ingredients allows Ortho to achieve a higher mortality rate and be an effective Bed Bug killer on contact.
Yet, it still is a chemical that has to be used strictly as recommended and is likely to be insufficient to fight an infestation in the long term. At least it has to be applied repeatedly and over a long time.
We do not recommend chemicals, but if you like to use them, Ortho Home Defense is a quite effective insecticide.
Ozone is a molecule composed of three atoms of oxygen and is very common in the upper stratosphere, where it protects us from dangerous radiation. It is a toxic and very reactive chemical that can cause serious health issues even in low doses. The aggressive properties also result in a lethal impact on Bed Bugs.
Ozone does kill Bed Bugs in quite high doses. The necessary concentration to kill Bed Bugs within 3 hours is 1500 ppm (see this study) and therefore 30.000 times higher than the safe concentration for humans (see this document of the epa).
Even if Ozone can kill Bed Bugs it should be strictly avoided to use in the vicinity of humans.
You should also avoid applying ozone generators in your empty home. The behavior of the gas can’t be safely predicted and even small amounts of the gas could cause health issues.
The high reactivity of ozone also has an effect on sensitive materials and can cause damage and altering effects. Especially foam rubber and some fabrics are very prone to this gas.
Bed Bugs are good in hiding and can (rarely) use walls to find shelter. This can accumulate if cracks and crevices are present and switches/sockets are not sealed properly. The paint itself is not a pesticide and does not contain chemicals that are intended to kill Bed Bugs. Nevertheless, there are some ingredients and effects of paint, that can help to reduce the nuisance.
We covered this topic in detail in this article (Does Painting the Walls Help Get Rid of Bed Bugs?). You will find more information on how painting the wall could help you and when you should apply this measure.
Paraffin Oil is an oily substance that is flammable but non-toxic. It is widely used in many areas (like lip balsam, as a fuel source in lamps, as an oily separator, as an additive in food, etc.). These Oils are alkanes consisting of saturated hydrocarbons and therefore are less reactive with other chemicals. Paraffin does create a superthin layer of oil among Bed Bugs and their Eggs and kills them very effectively.
This study revealed that Paraffin will suffocate 95 % of all Bed Bugs within 3 days. That makes Paraffin the second most effective remedy (after silicone oil) in the whole study (followed by Cedarwood and Blood Orange).
This huge impact comes with some disadvantages in the application outside a laboratory. The suffocation can only take place if the Bed Bugs are covered with this oil. It is hard to spray this oily substance into the hideouts of Bed Bugs and get in contact with all parasites.
It is very likely that you will miss some individuals and the infestation will rise again after the treatment.
Nevertheless, Paraffin can be a great non-toxic choice to fight some obvious and non-covered Bed Bugs. They will die soon and reduce the nuisance fast. If you combine Paraffin with other more intense and residual treatments you can get rid of Bed Bugs easily.
Perfume is a substance that has to give an agreeable scent to a body, item, or room. It has a humanity-long history and can be produced naturally or synthetically. The range of various scents is endless but most of the perfumes contain ethanol. This ingredient is potentially dangerous for Bed Bugs and can kill them on contact.
The scent does not have a significant effect on the parasites, as they are not odor-sensitive. They can show some reactions to different scents, but this is very ineffective and won’t help you get rid of the infestation.
Other essential oils (like cedarwood and d-Limonene) can create good results but this happens due to their active ingredients and chemical structures. It is not based on the scent they have.
Permethrin is an insecticide in the class of pyrethroids that are also used in humans to fight lice and scabies. Insects absorb permethrin through the surface of their bodies, and it is then distributed throughout the insect body. It is a nerve poison and causes the sodium channels of the nerve cells to stay open.
Sodium ions flow unhindered into the cell interior and uncontrollable nerve impulses occur. This initially leads to cramps, then to coordination disorders, and finally to paralysis. The insect is unable to move within a few minutes, which is known as a “knock-down” effect.
Death only occurs after a while. If the dose is insufficient, many of the affected insects can enzymatically detoxify permethrin and recover. The enzymatic degradation can be prevented by adding synergists such as piperonyl butoxide.
Even if Permethrin is used on humans and can be broken down by mammals quite easily, it still is a chemical that can cause some disturbances and negative reactions.
That’s why we recommend natural and effective alternatives.
Several products contain permethrin and are used to fight parasites in the skin (like scabies). Because Permethrin in general is a quite effective insecticide against Bed Bugs this cream would kill them when coming in contact directly.
The application of this cream is intended to fight local infections with parasites. They live in your skin and will be eliminated by adding this substance to their living area.
This can not be transferred to Bed Bugs effectively, because they don’t live on your skin. They are just in contact with you to feed on your blood. After that, they will return quickly to their hideouts (Bed Bug Nests [Complete Guide]).
In order to kill all Bed Bugs that will come in contact with you, it would be necessary to apply the cream to all exposed body areas. This would result in a huge amount of insecticide on your skin and be very ineffective.
You might think to use Permethrin Cream in cracks and crevices around your bed. This can kill Bed Bugs but still is very inefficient as it is hard to reach all hideouts and cause a significant impact.
The group of peroxides does integrate several different substances that do have a strong bleaching effect and are toxic to cells. Peroxides can attack protein structures, the membrane, and RNA. That’s why this strong chemical will kill Bed Bugs and their Eggs on contact.
This toxic effect is also true for human cells and should be strictly avoided in pest treatment. If you have any peroxide in your household, you should strictly adhere to intended use and instruction.
Petroleum Jelly (or Vaseline) is a light-colored gel made of hydrocarbons that is not flammable and is widely used as a skin product to prevent the surface from drying out. Vaseline has no toxic properties and doesn’t attack tissue. That is why Petroleum Jelly doesn’t kill Bed Bugs.
The only possibility of killing them would be as a filling material that covers crack and crevices. This method is obviously quite ineffective to fight a Bed Bug infestation. You could apply Vaseline in this manner when combined with some efficient measures (because Vaseline doesn’t make it worse).
Recent studies have led to the conclusion that Petroleum Jelly (especially in cosmetic products) could include Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons that are on the watchlist to be carcinogenic. You should avoid putting Vaseline on your skin and lips.
Pine Sol is an all-purpose household cleaner that contains alcohol to disinfect treated surfaces. The alcohol will attack the Bed Bug and dry them out, which finally kills them.
We covered this topic in a specific article (Does Pine Sol Kill Bed Bugs?).
Powder describes the structure of a substance and can consist of many different materials. The effect on Bed Bugs can arise from the structure or the active ingredients in the powder. Generally, the powder does not have a significant effect on Bed Bugs and won’t kill them. The only possible way to do this is by covering (and trapping) the parasite and suffocating it.
This is an unrealistic scenario because Bed Bugs are great in hiding and it is not possible to cover many of them. Even if you find some unprotected Bed Bugs it will take some time until they die. This delay offers a good chance for the Bug to escape and live on in your neighborhood. (Also see: baby powder)
Nevertheless, there is an exception concerning Diatomaceous Earth that isn’t really a powder. This remedy consists of fossil remains, that are microscopic and very sharp. Coming in contact with this ‘powder’ results in small injuries and finally the death of the Bed Bugs.
Raid is one of the most popular brands when it comes to fighting any kind of pests. They have a big portfolio of products that are designed to kill specific pests or pest categories. Generally, most Raid products contain some kind of pyrethroid and occasionally one or two other active ingredients to increase the effect.
It can be concluded that each of those Raid products can kill Bed Bugs when coming in contact with them. But the mortality rate will vary greatly among these remedies. That’s why we will cover the most popular ones in more detail:
Raid Bed Bug Foaming Spray
This is the most specialized product in RaId’s portfolio and contains a synthetic insecticide (Clothianidin 0,40 %), a pyrethroid (Metofluthrin 0,01%), and a resistance inhibitor (PBO 1,00 %). It affects the nicotinoid receptors of neurons and leads to a permanent activation which causes paralysis and finally death.
Clothianidin cannot be broken down by Bed Bugs, so it’s probably more effective in high resistant infestations than common insecticides. It is also double as effective as Imidacloprid.
The pyrethroid in this product also can kill Bed Bugs and cause a so-called ‘knock-down effect’. The amount of this chemical seems quite low, but it could be effective in combination with the other active ingredients.
Piperonyl Butoxide (PBO) is a synergist that inhibits the breakdown of the other ingredients. This leads to a higher mortality rate (up to 30 times) and reduces the resistance of the parasite.
The Bed Bug Foaming Spray contains an effective proportion of different chemicals and will lead to high mortality rates. If you are looking for a Raid product against Bed Bugs – this is yours.
Nevertheless, it still contains chemicals and you should strictly hold to the instruction and avoid any contact as much as possible, or switch to a natural and effective Bed Bug product.
Raid Ant and Roach
This product contains two different pyrethroids with a low dosage (Imiprothrin 0.06 %, Cypermethrin 0.1%) that is sufficient for ants. It also can kill Bed Bugs when coming in direct contact with them. The effect will be lower compared to specialized pesticides.
It also doesn’t address the high resistance, that exists in many Bed Bug colonies nowadays. If you don’t have any other product at hand, this can be a temporary remedy. You should prefer specialized and natural alternatives.
Raid Ant and Roach Max
The Max version of the Ant and Roach insecticide also contains two pyrethroids with a comparable total proportion (Imiprothrin 0.101 %, Deltamethrin 0.05 %). We expect the effectiveness of both products to be quite similar to Bed Bugs. They can kill the parasites but are less mortal than the Bed Bug Foaming Spray.
And we suggest (again) favoring natural and effective products that are also not prone to resistance.
Raid Max Bed Bug
Raid does have another Bed Bug product and it has quite different content. It uses an Ovicide (Cyclopropanecarboxylate 0.40 %) that is capable of killing insect eggs, a pyrethroid (Imidacloprid 0.05 %) that kills Bed Bugs, and a synergist (Bicycloheptene Dicarboximide 1.00 %) that increases the mortality rate of the pyrethroid.
This formula seems to have some potent active ingredients and can be highly effective against Bed Bugs. We’d always prefer a natural alternative, but if you like to use a pesticide, this could be useful.
Raid Max Fogger
This product is made to fill an infested room with poisonous vapor to kill all Bugs in the vicinity. It contains a pyrethroid (Cypermethrin 1.716 %) that could potentially kill bed Bugs. But we expect it to have a very low mortality rate, as it is not designed to kill these parasites.
It probably won’t reach all Bed Bugs sufficiently and it doesn’t kill eggs. This leads to a room filled with a chemical and still a Bed Bug infestation going on.
Revolution is a product for cats and dogs that is put into the fur of the pets and delivers its active ingredients (Selamectin, Sarolaner) into the bloodstream for several weeks. Both active ingredients work as chloride channel inhibitors and result in paralysis and the death of many pesticides. Even if no study is present, we expect this effect to kill Bed Bugs too.
The total effectiveness depends on many factors and will be reduced by prolonged time and the feeding interval of the parasites.
Selamectin is less capable of entering the bloodstream. Its main purpose is to fight parasites in the fell. This will reduce the effect on Bed Bugs.
Revolution Plus can reduce the infestation of Bed Bugs in dogs and cats. It should be supported by other measures and remedies to obtain an efficient treatment. It is not allowed to be used on humans and must be avoided here.
This product is a classical aerosol insecticide that contains permethrin (0,5 %) as the active ingredient. The chemical causes a constant activation of neurons and leads to immediate muscle spasms and paralysis. This is followed by the death of Bed Bugs.
The killing rate of Bed bugs depends upon the intensity of the contact with the aerosol. It needs to be applied directly to the parasites.
Several studies suggest an increasing resistance of Bed Bugs against classical insecticides. The overall effect is not entirely clear but resistance rates of 80% and above are possible.
As the proportion (only 0,5%) and diversity (only 1 substance)) of active ingredients is quite low we suggest using a green and more efficient remedy.
Most Roach sprays contain a variety of active ingredients, almost always including pyrethroids as the most effective substance. This chemical can kill Bed Bugs and is widely applied in pest treatment. The effectiveness of Roach Sprays depends on the proportion of the active ingredients and their quality.
You should take a look at your preferred product label and check the content in detail. With that information at hand, you can come back to this article and check the specific insecticides.
In all cases, we expect Roach Spray to be less effective against Bed Bugs as specifically designed products against these parasites. Furthermore, we recommend using natural and effective remedies.
Bed Bugs are covered with a waxy layer on their exoskeleton that protects them from drying out. Salt does not attack this layer and doesn’t affect the well-being of the parasites. Bed Bugs also don’t absorb (or ingest) salt or react in any other way to this substance. That’s why salt does not kill any Bed Bug or their Eggs.
Sanitizer is a huge category with products that do have cleaning and disinfectant properties. The active ingredients vary greatly among the different purposes and companies. It is always necessary to check the specific ingredient to know if a product can kill Bed Bugs.
As with Hand Sanitizers, it is a basic rule of thumb, that most disinfectants will contain either ethanol or isopropyl alcohol. Both kinds of alcohol can kill Bed Bugs on contact but are not intended do to so and are quite ineffective because they are hard to apply.
Sevin Dust contains Carbaryl as the active ingredient. This chemical is used in agriculture and in pets to fight insecticides. The mechanism is the same as with pyrethroids by changing the sensitivity of the neurons and causing a constant firing leading to paralysis and death. This process takes much longer (several minutes) for Sevin than for pyrethroids.
Sevin is not intended to be used in the vicinity of humans and is quite difficult to apply in the correct dosage. We would always prefer natural and effective products against Bed Bugs.
Sniper is a highly concentrated insecticide that contains a pyrethroid (Bifenthrin 25 %) as an active ingredient. It is widely used in agriculture and as an OTC pesticide. Sniper has strong neurotoxicity to insects and causes a constant activation of neurons. This leads to rapid paralysis followed by death. Sniper can kill Bed Bugs on direct contact.
Sniper does also have a big (negative) impact on many other insects. It is very toxic for water animals (fish, ants, etc.) and difficult to apply for only one species. That’s why it’s forbidden in most European Countries.
We do not recommend using highly concentrated chemicals in the vicinity of humans and pets. You should consider applying natural and effective alternatives.
Spectracide is a brand name that has several products in its portfolio. The insecticides usually contain a pyrethroid type depending on the intended use. The “Bug Stop” uses Cyhalothrin, which inhibits the function of neurons leading to paralysis and finally death. Spectracide can kill Bed Bugs if applied directly.
Specracide Bug Stop does not include PBO (Piperonyl butoxide) as a synergist. This would inhibit the capability of insects to break down the toxic leading to less resistance and higher mortality rates.
If applied at low doses not resulting in soon death the insecticide can be broken down by the Bed Bugs. The efficiency would be reduced and the infestation continues.
Alcohol is common disinfection and a potent solvent used in various household cleaning products. Spraying alcohol usually contains isopropyl alcohol, but can also consist of other forms (like ethanol). Each alcohol is quite aggressive to the outer shell of Bed Bugs and destabilizes it. This kills Bed Bugs depending on the duration and intensity of the contact.
Spraying Alcohol is rarely intended to be sprayed against insects. It has specific cleaning purposes and is not the standard application form for disinfection. The aerosol mix is usually highly flammable and difficult to apply in correct doses.
You should avoid these types of products and of course any DIY mixtures. We recommend using safe and efficient green products against Bed Bugs.
Sterifab is a product that contains isopropyl alcohol and a pyrethroid (phenothrin) as active ingredients. It is an insecticide, virucide, and disinfectant. Both chemicals are potent Bed Bug killers and can eradicate the parasites on contact. The combination makes it very likely that every Bed Bug you spray will die immediately.
Nevertheless, this spraying method has its downsides, because it is hard to apply an aerosol to all hideouts. Bed Bugs are good in hiding and they live in cracks, tiny crevices, and even inside the mattress. You will never reach all Bugs with this method at once.
Furthermore, the proportion of isopropyl alcohol (60%) and the pyrethroid (0,22%) is comparable low to other products.
They also don’t have a significant residual (long-term) effect. They are only effective at the moment of application.
Both chemicals should not be applied directly and on large scale in the vicinity of humans, as they are toxins to some degree. You should prefer green and safe remedies with high efficiency.
The sun emits ultraviolet radiation and heat that can come in contact with Bed Bugs if they are placed outsides. This heat treatment could be very effective if the air temperature could reach 122°F or above. This would result in the complete extermination of all Bed Bugs and their Eggs.
This temperature is quite high and rarely reached. It is also quite difficult to put all possibly infested items outdoors. It is very likely that many hideouts remain inside and the number of Bed Bugs will rise again after this tactic.
The ultraviolet radion is very ineffective as it needs to be applied directly to the parasites. They will always hide in dark places and small crevices. And even if they would come out – the radiation is too weak to kill them.
So, heat is very effective against Bed Bugs, but the sun isn’t.
Talcum is a fine powder made of magnesium and implemented in low doses in various products. It was the main ingredient in baby powder before absorbing diapers were invented. Its main purpose is to absorb humidity or provide a fine layer of powder. Talcum does not attack the outer shell of Bed Bugs and has no repellent effect on them. It is an improper remedy against the parasite and won’t kill them.
There may be a small effect if the underground is prepared with this powder. Bed Bugs could avoid walking over this area. This effect does not help very much and you should prefer Diatomaceous Earth because it will kill every Bed Bug that comes in contact with this substance.
Talstar is a pesticide that contains a pyrethroid (Bifenthrin 7.9 %) as the active ingredient. This chemical is quite effective against Bed Bugs when coming in direct contact with them. It paralyzes the parasites immediately and this is followed by death.
Talstar also contains Butanol, Ethylbenzene, Xylene, and some other chemicals that can be moderately toxic when inhaled or ingested. That’s why we don’t recommend using any pesticide and always prefer natural and effective remedies.
Tea Tree is an essential oil with a long history of antiseptic, antibacterial, and fungicide use. It is becoming popular again and applied for many purposes (especially skincare). This oil contains a variety of 100 ingredients and the detailed mechanism is not entirely clear. Like every essential oil, we expect tea tree to have at least some killing potential against Bed Bugs.
Unfortunately, there is no study that has conducted research on this remedy against bed bugs. But our experience with essential oils leads us to the conclusion that tea tree will harm Bed Bugs when coming in direct contact.
Nevertheless, we don’t think tea tree is a sufficient solution to fight a complete infestation. It is hard to apply against all stages of Bed Bugs in every hideout. You should prefer specialized (cheaper) remedies that kill Bed Bugs effectively.
Tempo is a brand name from Bayer and has several pesticides in its portfolio that usually contain a specific pyrethroid (Cyfluthrin). Like every pyrethroid, this chemical will cause paralysis and death if the dose is sufficient and no resistances exist.
The disadvantage is also the same. Tempo has to be applied directly to the parasites and should be avoided in the vicinity of humans beyond the manual.
We prefer natural effective remedies instead.
Termite Fumigation is a process where the entire house is sealed and then fumigated with a toxic gas that will kill all insects. There are several gases used, and all are harmful to humans too. The effect takes place when the insect inhales the gas. This is done by adult insects immediately and by eggs with some delay. Termite Fumigation will also kill Bed Bugs (as this study shows).
If you consider using fumigation you should always keep in mind, that a highly toxic chemical is pumped into your house. This can include chloropicrin – a poison gas developed in World War I. The safety measures of the extermination company have to be conducted very carefully at all times.
The biggest disadvantage of such a procedure is the high bill you will receive at the end. Even if the amount of gas necessary for Bed Bugs is only 1/3, it is still very costly.
Ultrasonic devices claim to repel a lot of pests by sending out sound waves that humans can’t hear. Bed Bugs don’t have specific high developed hearing functions and don’t use sound to communicate. Bed Bugs don’t sense ultrasound and that’s why it doesn’t repel or even kill them (as this study shows).
Ultraviolet Light (UVA, UVB, UVC Light)
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than visible light. It is naturally part of the sunlight and divided into three different categories. While UVA has only a low amount of energy, UVB radiation contains more power and causes sunburn, and is also carcinogenic.
UVC light is totally absorbed by the ozone layer and is only artificially available in our environment. It has the shortest wavelength and submits the most energy.
Ultraviolet light is also used to disinfect contaminated material. It kills viruses and bacteria very reliable and doesn’t affect the polluted substance. That’s why it is suitable for cleaning water and air.
Ultraviolet light can also kill insects and bugs. It has a strong effect on them when the submitted energy is high. It alters the outer layers and can damage the skin and also the genetic code.
This is why ultraviolet light should not be used in any private circumstance. Its application can be very dangerous and should only be conducted in a professional environment.
We expect UV light to be difficult to apply against Bed Bugs. You would need sufficient radiation directly to the parasites. Since they are good in hiding we can’t imagine how you will reach every hideout in your bedroom.
Vikane is the market name for Sulfuryl fluoride, which is a common gas in the fumigation process. It works by blocking the glycolysis and fatty acid cycle resulting in a complete loss of energy that leads to the death of the pests. This mechanism also works for Bed Bugs.
Vikane is highly toxic and the fumigation process is quite expensive. Before applying this method by a professional you should consider using less invasive and natural measures (and products).
Vinegar contains acetic acid and water and is used in many households for eating and cleaning purposes. The acidity depends on the proportion and is mostly reduced to a 5% solution in common products. The acidic effects do harm the outer shell of the Bed Bugs and their nervous system. They will die if coming in direct contact for a sufficient time.
The effectivity depends on the volume of acetic acid. The higher the dose the higher the mortality rate. A higher acidity comes with several downsides.
A strong vinegar will have a very pungent smell and make the application very unpleasant for several hours (and even days). It can also attack furniture and fabrics and cause further damages.
Compared to specialized Bed Bug products, Vinegar is not very effective and the low price shouldn’t attract you too much.
Viper is a brand that has several insecticides in its portfolio. They usually contain a pyrethroid (Cypermethrin, Permethrin) and are ready to use or in concentrated packages. These chemicals are potent Bed Bug killers when applied directly by causing paralysis followed by death.
‘Viper Insecticide Concentrate’ contains Cypermethrin at a very high dose (25%) and has to be diluted before using it. ‘Viper RTU’ is already mixed and contains 0.25 % Permethrin.
Both chemicals can kill Bed Bugs, but the resistance of the parasites against them has risen in the past years and it would be better to use pesticides with a synergist to counteract this effect. There are also non-chemical remedies we would prefer to avoid any chemical in your vicinity.
Virex is a disinfectant that also uses ammonium chloride as an active ingredient. This will also most probably harm the outer shell of Bed Bugs and result in a high mortality rate if applied directly and with a sufficient dose.
We also can’t recommend Virex as a Bed Bug remedy, because it is not designed to do so and the actual results are unclear.
VitalOxide is a mold remover and disinfectant cleaner that contains chlorine dioxide and ammonium chloride as active ingredients. These chemicals cause disruption of intermolecular interactions and dissociation of lipid layers. Coming in contact with Bed Bugs will probably damage their outer shell and kill them.
Even if we expect VitalOxide to have a significant effect on Bed Bugs we would not recommend using a product that is not designed as a pesticide. The effective application is untested and the mortality rate is still unclear. You should prefer special Bed Bug remedies.
Vodka is a beverage that contains approximately 40 % of alcohol. The chemical name is ethanol and it can kill Bed Bugs when directly applied and with a sufficient proportion. Vodka has, compared to other alcoholic remedies, a relatively low alcohol content. This will reduce the effect significantly, making it an improper insecticide.
Also, vodka has a distinctive smell and it is difficult to apply because the alcohol has to come quite a long time in contact with the parasites.
Water is perhaps the most natural element we know but it can be harmful to a lot of species in the wrong amount. This is also true for Bed Bugs which can’t swim naturally and are unable to breathe underwater. So, water will be deadly to the parasites if you put them into a container.
Besides drowning, water does not have negative effects on Bed Bugs. Their surface has a waxy layer and will repel the water drops. And their breathing won’t be diminished because the tracheae aren’t obstructed.
This water-displacing spray is widely used to clean, lubricate, remove rust and moisture. It mainly contains hydrocarbons and petroleum. WD-40 is a sprayed fluid that provides petroleum and vaseline with an added odor. While the vaseline doesn’t harm the Bed Bugs the petroleum will kill them on contact.
Of course, WD-40 isn’t intended to be used against insects and should be avoided in the close sleeping area. The gas is highly flammable and difficult to apply in beddings.
If you see a Bed Bug in your workshop you could use WD-40 to kill it. But if you see them in your bedroom (and that’s the normal place…) you should prefer special Bed Bug remedies.
Windex is a company from SC Johnson that offers several cleaning products like the Windex Glass Cleaner and the Windex Disinfectant Cleaner Multi-Surface. All products contain a variety of different cleaning agents (like sulfonates, ammonium hydroxide) that are capable of inhibiting the vital functions of a Bed Bug and killing them on direct contact.
Nevertheless, these cleaning agents have limited capabilities to fight a Bed Bug infestation. They are intended to clean dirty surfaces and kill bacteria and viruses, but not to impair the well-being of insects.
If you don’t have any other product at hand and discover some Bed Bugs, you can use Windex to kill them on the spot. This will eliminate a few Bugs, but doesn’t affect the infestation. You must take further action and should apply natural and effective Bed Bug products.
Several disinfectant products on the market contain isopropyl alcohol mixed with wintergreen oil. The proportion of wintergreen is very low and will have no effect on the Bed Bugs. The alcoholic content is a potent disinfectant and will harm and kill Bed Bugs on contact.
Nevertheless, isopropyl alcohol is not intended to be applied or even sprayed against Bed Bugs. It evaporates quickly and can be dangerous if used not as intended. We recommend using safe green remedies with a high mortality rate.
Witch hazel is a plant that is used for several health issues because it has inflammatory properties and is astringent. It is commonly used in skin products. Witch hazel is odorless and contains tannins and ethanol. While tannins can kill microorganisms, ethanol is a potential Bed Bug killer.
The alcohol content in witch hazel products is usually between 13 and 15 %. This amount can affect the parasites but is quite low compared to cleaning products (up to 100%).
The other natural ingredients don’t have any scientific insecticidal background. There is no study that checked the effect of witch hazel on insects. It is possible, that the astringent properties can alter the wax layer of the Bed Bug’s shell. This could lead to a deadly result.
After reviewing many sources we are not finally convinced that witch hazel has the great effect on Bed Bugs that many products claim. It simply lacks scientific data and proven mechanisms. We can’t say there will be no impact, but at the moment we don’t expect witch hazel to be a better Bed Bug remedy than specialized products.
Wondercide is another all-natural pesticide and contains cedarwood oil and (4.2 %) and lemongrass oil (1.5 %) as the active ingredients. This combination can be quite potent and several studies confirmed that these oils will kill Bed Bugs when coming in direct contact.
Cedarwood on its own will kill 47 % of Bed Bugs within 7 days and lemongrass will add on and increase this value even more. The exact mortality rate is not yet proven but we could imagine Wondercide is getting close to the great results (95 %) Ecoraider can achieve.
We are a little sad Wondercide has not been studied sufficiently to give clear numbers, but we expect it to be an alternative to Ecoraider.
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Yeast is the name for single-cell microorganisms that are used to ferment food by using sugar and producing carbon dioxide. This mixture does not kill any bed bug, because they don’t ingest it and it does not harm them when coming in contact.
But yeast can be used as a trap to attract bed bugs, as they use carbon dioxide as the main source to find human hosts. You can find easy DIY traps on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZM0Z_s9IXA).
Zap a Roach
This Roach and Ant Killer contains 100 % boric acid and is a famous pesticide for killing water-based insects. It is highly effective when absorbed and can be a good remedy in a Bed Bug Lure. Unfortunately, such products aren’t available yet. And since Bed Bugs only feed on blood they won’t ingest boric acid. This makes Zap A Roach an ineffective Bed Bug killer.
Zenprox is an insecticide brand that offers different products that usually contain one or more pyrethroids and piperonyl butoxide (PBO) as a synergist. The pyrethroids (Pyrethrins, Tetramethrin, Etofenprox) react on the neuronal connections and induce paralysis and death.
This effect is increased by PBO that inhibits the breakdown of the chemical by the Bed Bugs. Resistances can be reduced and the mortality rate increased.
Even if Zenprox is a potent Bed Bug killer we would prefer natural remedies that can’t harm your health and are effective too.
This pyrethroid is a chemical with a high ecotoxicity and is also dangerous for mammals. It is not a common household pesticide and is not allowed in many countries. We expect Zeta-Cypermethrin to have also a big impact on Bed Bugs, but it must be avoided in the human vicinity.
Zevo is an all-natural insecticide that works with essential oils to attack the nervous system of bugs. It contains geraniol (0.25%) and cinnamon oil (0.25%) as active ingredients. Many reviews and some studies on geraniol suggest that Zevo will kill Bed Bugs when coming in contact with them.
We could imagine Zevo has also a high impact like Ecoraider (95 %) because both rely on geraniol as one main component. Sadly, there are currently no more scientific studies that support this claim, but if you want to have an alternative to Ecoraider, this could be one.
Zoflora is a multi-purpose concentrated antibacterial disinfectant that contains one type of ammonium chloride (benzalkonium chloride) as the active ingredient. This will damage the outer shell of bed bugs and probably kill them when coming into direct contact.
Nevertheless, there are no studies available that confirm our expectations and it is very likely that the mortality rate of Zoflora will be lower compared to specific Bed Bug remedies.