Control Bedbugs Without Poison



For reasons not fully understood, bedbugs are making a return to all parts of the United States. In New York City alone, bedbug complaints increased from 1,000 in 2004 to 7,000 in 2008. Other countries such as Canada and Australia are also experiencing an increase in the numbers of bedbugs.

Bedbugs are small, about apple seed size, reddish-brown insects that need blood to live on. One bedbug consumes it's own body weight in blood in a mere 5 minutes. At the least the bites cause itching and can, in some cases, transmit other diseases.

Experts theorize that bedbugs are developing a resistance to insecticides, especially DDT, which was effective in eradicating bedbugs entirely from Australia in the 1950's.

Scientists are experimenting with new methods to exterminate the bedbugs without harmful chemicals. But in the meantime, homeowners can use natural, nonpoisonous, methods to control bedbugs in their homes.

Bedbug bites are a lot like mosquito bites. A sure-fire way to know if bedbugs are the problem is to look for dark spotting on mattresses or furniture.

The first step to eradicating bedbugs is to launder bedroom linens and clothing in very hot water reaching a temperature of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit. An alternative method is to place infested items in a clothes dryer and heat for more than 20 minutes.

The life cycle of a bed bug is about 6 to 8 weeks so vigilant control is necessary for that length of time.

Bedbugs hide in small cracks and crevices so check carefully for any areas such as furniture, luggage, pillows, clothing etc. When returning home from a hotel launder clothing and vacuum luggage as a precaution.

There are many natural herbs which help to control bedbugs.

Powder and leaves of cayenne, mint, lavender, cilantro, black walnut, eucalyptus, garlic, red pepper, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, and cloves are all excellent deterrents to many insects including bedbugs. Simply sprinkle on areas where bedbugs are suspected. Sachets with the herbs can also be placed under mattresses, etc.

Tea tree and any of the other herbs can also be made into teas and the liquid sprayed around and under baseboards, carpet, underneath dressers and in between mattresses and box springs. Pay special attention to legs of beds because bedbugs climb up the legs from the floor. They cannot jump or fly. Bed legs greased with petroleum jelly and then placed into dishes of water have been reported as helpful.

Sprinkling food-grade diatomaceous earth around bed legs and other furniture is another repellent for bedbugs.

Boric acid powder can be put in places where pets cannot reach but should not be applied to a mattress.

All these natural cures and repellents are excellent for maintaining a bedbug free environment but the best way to cure a serious bedbug infestation is to use an insecticide containing natural pyrethrins first or by hiring a professional exterminator using natural, verus synthetic poisons.

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Author: Marilyn Pokorney
Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment.
Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.
Email: Current address on website