Dealing with a bed bug infestation may be one of the most stressful moments of your life, but you are not alone. There are many people who, like you, have been wondering what repels bed bugs and what natural bed bug repellent is the most effective on your skin, on your clothes, on your bed and in your home. You may even find it more frustrating when you discover how much your local pest removal company bills for bed bug treatments. However, you will soon find out that natural procedures or homemade bed bug repellent for the skin are more effective than chemical-based insecticide.
After confirming that your home is indeed infested with bed bugs, you can take active steps to ensure that they are exterminated. However, it is important to state that getting rid of bed bugs is not easy, and it may take a while to accomplish. It is advised to protect yourself from their bite before your home is declared bed bug free.
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Prevent bedbug bites are essential oils. Essential oils are another option you can use to protect your skin to repel bedbugs.
Essential oil is an oil extracted from a plant using a distillation procedure that ensures that they are natural and concentrated without any adulteration. Most essential oils are extracted from a single part of the plant, but a few others are mixtures of extract from all parts of a plant.
To make a homemade bed bug spray you may add about 10 ml of the essential oil of your choice to 250 ml of water. Spray the mixture on your bed and bedsheets to keep bed bugs at bay. You may also mix oils with your lotion (unscented) and apply them to your body before going to bed.
Let’s now look at some types of essential oils that will help you to repel bed bugs. Lavender, peppermint oil, and tea tree oil are three such oils.
The scent of lavender is relaxing for us, but it can be irritating to the tiny bugs. They feel nauseated with its strong smell. You may use lavender essential oil mixed with water to spray around the house It is an organic spray and can be applied to sheets and bedsheets and kill on contact with bugs. You can spray it on an entire bed or just the top of a bed. The sprays kill bugs in all stages – eggs, nymphs and full-grown bugs. In addition to repelling bed bugs, lavender also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease the itchiness of their bites.
Using peppermint oil is another option to get rid of bed bugs permanently. Its smell is intolerable to bugs. If you apply the oil every night before you sleep, then you would have successfully managed to keep the bugs away from your skin. Spraying some amount of tea tree oil on your body before bedtime can also prevent bedbug bites.
Although essential oil bed bug repellents may only have a little effect during a severe infestation, they may provide you with the relief you long for from bed bug bites. They may also effectively prevent future bites. Moreover, it is not known if essential oil will provide you with 100 per cent protection from bedbug bite, but it will go a long way in repelling them.
Precautions When Using Essential Oils
Essential oils may be one way to repel bed bugs from the skin, but every user must note that they must be appropriately handled. Most essential oils in the market are natural and unadulterated extracts from the plant. This makes them really potent and concentrated. While this is, to an extent, an excellent thing, it is imperative to state that it is not advised to use them directly on the skin.
In making bed bug repellent cream from essential oils, it is best to dilute the oils with virgin olive oil or coconut oil to reduce their concentration, thus making it tolerable for your skin. This is primarily because individuals with sensitive skin may suffer a kind of irritation due to the high concentration of the herb, which may cause rashes, hives, and the likes.
A pure essential oil may also be poisonous if accidentally ingested or if too much of it is absorbed into the bloodstream through your skin. When buying bed bug repellent essential oils, it is advised to go for a good quality one since you want one that will work well for you. Also, it is not recommended to use essential oils while pregnant.
Will Coconut Oil Keep Bed Bugs from Biting?
Yes, a scientific study done on coconut oil and how it protects against bed bugs has found that coconut oil does keep bed bugs from biting. If you want to read the full research study it’s linked here. Fatty acids from coconut oil provide long-lasting repelling properties against bed bugs and have longer residual protection when compared to DEET.
Vinegar of Four Thieves
Vinegar of four thieves, also referred to as Marseilles vinegar is a potent bed bug repellent. It is a vinegar concoction that contains herbs and spices. It was used during the medieval ages to protect people from contracting the dreaded disease known as the black death. Legend also has it that this concoction may prevent the transmission of the plague to its users as well as many other communicable diseases. There are different conflicting versions of the story, and it may be hard to know which is correct.
The alleged original copy of the recipe posted on walls in Marseilles during a plague episode was found in 1937. It described that a handful of meadowsweet, wormwood, sage, and wild marjoram, fifty cloves, two ounces of angelic, two ounces of campanula roots, rosemary and horehound and three large measures of camphor should be added to three pints of vinegar and then allowed to steep for 15 days. After this, it should be strained and stored in a bottle. The mixture should then be rubbed on exposed areas of the body before approaching a plague victim. It is believed that this mixture was able to prevent its users from contracting the plague. This is because they believed that the plague was transmitted by fleas, and this recipe contains flea-repelling ingredients like wormwood, camphor, sage, campanula, cloves, and rosemary. This home remedy for bed bugs with vinegar is then strained and applied to the body.
You can purchase a ready-to-use vinegar of four thieves from traditional supplement stores both online and offline. Alternatively, you may make your own repellant using the recipe mentioned above, but it may be challenging to wait for the repellent to steep in the case of severe bed bug infestation.
Store-bought Bed Bug Repellents
Many people don’t like using chemicals on their skin, and for them, herbal repellents in the form of bed bug repellent cream and lotions are the solution. But other people like the simple and ready to use features of store-bought chemical repellents. These types of repellents are also ideal in the case of a severe bedbug infestation, where you may not have ample time to make your own repellents. Therefore, store-bought bed bug repellent is one of the answers to the question: what can I put on my skin to repel bed bugs.
When choosing store-bought bed bug repellent creams and bed bug repellent lotions, you should consider going for products that contain ingredients like paramenthane 3,8 dioxyl (Oil of lemon and eucalyptus- OLE), Picardin (2-2 hydroxyethyl-1piperidinecarboxylic acid 1 methyl propyl ester) and DEET-DEET (N-N-diethyl, 3-methyl benzamide). These ingredients are what repels bed bugs on the skin.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has approved the sale and use of many products that contain the chemicals mentioned above. They may also be used to repel mosquitoes, ticks, and the likes. Products containing these ingredients are inexpensive and may be purchased in a department store.
Precautions when Using Store-bought Repellents
First, it is important to carefully read and follow the instructions and guidelines of the manufacturer. They may be used on furniture, clothing, and on skin. But since most of these products are specially designed for external use, it is best to avoid applying them on open wounds and broken skin (site of bed bug bite). It is also advised to prevent contact with the eyes and mouth.
It should be used for children only with the supervision of an adult, and after that, the repellant should be kept out of their reach. In addition, you may apply it all over their body except for their hands since they may put it into their mouth or use it to pick food. It is also advised to wash your own hands properly after applying a chemical-based repellant.
Can Bed Bugs Get In Your Skin?
Bedbugs are small, reddish-brown parasitic insects that bite the exposed skin of sleeping humans and animals to feed on their blood. They will feed on your bare (or hairless) skin areas – including legs, arms, face, and neck. But if you believe you have bugs under your skin, it is not a bed bug infestation. Dermatologists are trained to recognize parasites that may be under the skin. These parasites include Chagas, hookworms, and schistosomiasis, but not bed bugs. Bed bug bites can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.
How to Deal with Bed Bug Bites?
Generally, bed bug bites appear in clusters of 3 to 5 in a zig-zag pattern. Although bed bugs can bite anywhere, the bites tend to be concentrated. If you have bed bug bites, the simplest way to stop the itching is to apply a cold compress to soothe the red bed bug rash. The effect of cold helps to calm the nerve endings and take the itch out of the bite. It’s best most particular on those open areas of the skin when you wear pajamas. It works by absorbing water-protecting fats and oils from the outer layer of a bed bug’s exoskeleton. Applying some Crotamiton cream and Lotrix cream for two weeks can also clear up bed bug scars.
How Can I Prevent Bed Bug Bites?
To stop bed bug bites immediately, cover your mattress and box spring with individual mattress encasements. To avoid insect bites while sleeping in the wild, set up camp as far away from insect breeding grounds as possible.
The bites usually look red and swollen with a dark red center, or there may be other problems such as itchiness, redness, and redness in the middle of the body. Always make sure that your house is well washed and arranged to prevent these bugs from infesting your house.
What Can I Put On Bed to Protect from Bed Bugs?
The best thing you can do to prevent bed bug bites is to protect your bed. Encase your mattress, pillows and box spring in a good quality mattress encasement that is designed for bed bugs. The other easiest approach you can use is to always wear long pajamas, which covers all your body parts. The smell of essential oils such as tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender, will deter and prevent bedbug bites.
Can Bed Bugs Bite Through Clothes?
No, bed bugs can’t bite through a layer of fabric. Bed bugs don’t have the mouth big enough to bite through clothing. They often remain on the surface of the skin for blood to absorb.
It’s doubtful the bedbugs will get into your pajamas much like your normal wear. But you will still spot them on clothes. However, bed bugs are often in the laundry or bedroom clothes, not the clothing you wear right now. Bed bugs don’t like living hosts that move.
What Causes Bed Bug Infestation?
As opposed to what many people may think, bed bug infestation is not caused by poor environmental hygiene. They are usually found in high-density areas, and they can move from one place to another through different means. For instance, bed bugs and their eggs can be transported from an infested area to other sites by travelers. The insects may be found on the traveler’s luggage, clothing, and soles of the shoe.
Bed bug infestation may also be caused by bringing infested items into your home. This may include used chairs, beds, clothes, and the likes from infested areas. Bed bugs may also gain access to your home through pets and animals like bats or birds. Although insects feed on these animals, they don’t live on their skin and so we cannot technically classify these animals as factors that contribute to the spread of bed bugs.
All the above are different ways that bed bugs can be carried from place to place, but you should also note that they can travel on their own all the way to your home. They are also capable of traveling through false ceilings and other routes from an infested apartment to your home.
How to Confirm Bed Bug Infestation?
It is not easy to confirm bed bug infestation without spotting one, and most times, the bites, without allergic and other reactions, may be confused with that of a mosquito. Sporting a bed bug may not be easy since the insect can survive for up to 1 year without feeding on blood. During this time, they may hide in the frame of your bed, cracks on the wall, and similar places.
Even if you are opportune to see a live or dead bedbug, you may easily confuse it with ticks or lice since the insects look very much alike. However, you should keep in mind that an adult bed bug may grow between 1.5 to 3 mm wide and 4 to 5 mm long. They are usually light brown to reddish-brown in color, but newly hatched nymphs are lighter in color.
Bed bugs have saw-like mouthparts that can be used to cut through the skin to gain access to your blood while injecting you with their saliva that has painkilling anticoagulant properties. You may find them in rugs, cushions, bed, cracks in the wall, and the likes. Bed bugs are usually more active at night, and this may be the best time to confirm their activities.
Do Bed Bugs Pose a Threat to My Health?
Can bed bugs get in your skin and bring infectious diseases? Although it is not known if bed bugs are capable of transmitting infectious diseases from one host to another, their bite may be accompanied by unpleasant symptoms. However, the intensity, as well as the time it takes for symptoms to manifest, varies from person to person, with some individuals not showing any symptom at all.
While some people may notice small, red, and swollen spots on their skin, symptoms may include the formation of prominent Wheals accompanied by itching, which may last from hours to even days. The anticoagulant properties in their saliva may also lead to bleeding that may be seen on the skin or on the bedsheet.
People that are allergic to bug bite may suffer adverse reactions soon offer the bite, probably due to sensitization to the proteins in the bed bug’s saliva. Severe bed bug infestation may lead to psychological conditions like stress, anxiety, insomnia, delusional parasitosis, and likes. It may also lead to anemia due to loss of blood and bacterial infection as a result of multiple breaks on the skin.