If you have bed bugs, you are searching the net for all the information you can get. This article by EHSO is a great place to start. If you start thinking about all natural bed bug treatments as an alternative to synthetic pesticides, you might be wasting your time and money.
Bed Bug Treatments Found Not Effective
Researchers with Rutgers University looked into the effectiveness of essential oil based treatments and the results were not promising. They looked at brands that used peppermint oil, clove oil, lemongrass oil, geraniol, rosemary oil, mint oil, cinnamon oil, and eugenol as the active ingredients. Some contained the surfactant sodium lauryl sulfate, also known as soap. The findings were published in a fast track article in the Entomological Society of America’s Journal of Economic Entomology.
The results were not promising for those seeking to avoid conventional pesticides. Researchers discovered that even under the best of circumstances (the treatment applied directly to the bed bug) only 2 of the products testedhad kill rates of over 90%. In the practical world, every bug is not always sprayed with the active ingredient. That is because bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices during treatment.
Soap as a Bed Bug Treatment?
On of the most interesting findings is that the “active” ingredients (the essential oils) in the products that were found to be marginally effective were also found in products that were not effective at all. Could it be that the inactive ingredients (such as the surfactant sodium lauryl sulfate) are why the more effective product work? It is interesting that the two products that were found to work best were products that also contained the common ingredient in soap. Maybe the researchers will investigate further.
Tried and True Bed Bug Treatments
If you find that you have bed bugs, you should call on a professional that has effective tools in their arsenal. Since the essential oil treatments have shown not to be effective, discuss with your pest control specialist what they recommend that is low in toxicity to humans and high in toxicity to bed bugs. Treatments using heat instead of chemicals are also available.
No matter if you use pesticides or heat or other methods, make sure that your mattress, boxsprings, and pillows are covered in bed bug proof zippered encasements.
Sleep tight…don’t let the bed bugs bite!
Til Next Time