If you’re trapped in the middle of a full-scale bed bug infestation your first impulse is to protect yourself from these blood-sucking parasites. The bites, and subsequent itchy rashes, are the most immediate problems facing you and your family.
We’ve talked tips and treatments for bed bug bites before. But are there any tried and true methods to prevent those bed bug bites before they occur?
Why Would You Need a Bed Bug Repellent?
Naturally, if you find you have a bed bug problem in your home the first thing you need to do is contact a professional inspection and removal service. That should go without saying. But what if your exterminator can’t get to you right away? What if there is going to be some delay in treating your home and eliminating your bed bug problem?
It’s not always possible for families to simply vacate their homes until the bed bug infestation has been eliminated. Not everyone has the financial resources to book their family into a hotel for the duration. And not everyone has family close by ready and able to put them up for a week or more.
The Waiting is the Hardest Part
While you’re waiting for your exterminator to get to work you may find you have to share your home with some unwanted guests. Obviously, you’re going to want to minimize your risk of bed bug attack. But you can’t sit up nights standing guard. Sooner or later you have to sleep, and when you do those bed bugs are going to come after you.
In order to protect yourself and your family you’re going to need a plan. DIY bed bug repellents may be the solution you’re looking for. These home remedies may help you avoid being bitten by bed bugs while you wait for your bed bug removal team to get down to work.
Keep in mind, however, that these are only temporary measures. Homemade bed bug repellents aren’t meant for long-term use. They should not be considered as a substitute for professional bed bug removal treatments.
Using Essential Oils as Bed Bug Repellents
There’s something you should keep in mind before we dig into essential oils as bed bug repellents. Some of these solutions may work better for you than others. Some may seem like a minor miracle while others may seem like a dead end. In short, it’ll likely take some trial and error before you hit on a mixture that works for you.
There are several types of essential oils that have proven to be effective as do-it-yourself bed bug repellents. The most common and easy to obtain are:
- Tea tree oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Peppermint oil
Mixing with Carrier Oils
These essential oils should be mixed with carrier oil when used on anything that will come into long-term contact with bare skin. The most common carrier oils used in this application include jojoba oil and coconut oil.
In order to create an effective base for your DIY repellent use a 2.5 dilution. Simply add 15 drops of your chosen essential oil to 6 teaspoons of your carrier oil. The resultant mixture can then be mixed with water to create an all natural bed bug repellent.
The spray can be used on mattresses, rugs, floorboards, and bed frames. It can also be used on clothing (primarily coats and sweaters) although it may need to be diluted further with additional water. There is a possibility of staining so tread carefully when using on clothing.
Bed Bug Repellent Risks
There are risks associated with any insect repellent and homemade bed bug sprays are no different. Spraying chemicals on your clothes and skin is always risky. There is always the chance that something in the blend you’ve created will irritate your skin or enflame your sinuses and lungs. Long-term exposure may also lead to bigger problems over time, so it’s important to remember that these DIY repellents are only meant for short-term use.
Using essential oils as bed bug repellents offer an all-natural alternative to over the counter bug sprays. However, they are not fool proof and they are not hazard free. Some people may have adverse reactions to contact with some essential oils, even in a diluted state. Prolonged contact with some essential oils can even be hazardous to your health, so be careful how much you use and how often you apply your mixture.
Do-it-yourself bed bug repellents may help you ward off bed bug bites. But they are only a temporary solution to a larger problem. Remember, these solutions won’t kill any bed bugs so the sooner you bring in a professional bed bug inspection and removal service the better. But while you’re waiting for your exterminator to get to work these DIY repellents may help buy you a little time and keep those bed bug bites at bay.