Can You Stop Bed Bugs From Biting at Night?
Unfortunately, if your home is infested with bed bugs, there’s almost nothing you can do to stop them biting.
Bed bugs need to drink human blood to survive, and they have a powerful will to live. If they can physically reach you, they will find you, and they will feed.
If you can’t get rid of the infestation completely, you can try to bed-bug-proof your bed. There are three main steps:
- Install a mattress encasement. These are like huge, zip-up bags that you place your mattress inside. They are designed to have no gaps, so that bed bugs cannot escape. Existing bed bugs get sealed inside, and can’t get to you. Eventually, they starve to death.
- Move your bed away from the wall and the window. This way, new bed bugs won’t be able to climb the walls or curtains and reach your bed.
- Install bed bug interceptor traps under the legs of your bed. These are designed to trap bed bugs when they try to climb up your bed legs.
If you follow the above steps, your bed should be safe. Unfortunately, they may still bite you in other areas of the home.
What Else Do Bed Bugs Dislike?
So, to summarize what we’ve learned, bed bugs don’t like the light. They prefer to come out when it’s dark, as there’s a better chance that we’ll be asleep.
However, switching on the light at night won’t deter bed bugs for very long. And while you can protect your bed if you’re through, the bugs will still exist in other parts of the home. So, is there anything else that will repel bed bugs?
Bed bugs have adapted to live at the same temperatures as humans. They’re most comfortable at typical room temperatures of between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Both extreme cold and extreme heat can be fatal to bed bugs. However, they can survive easier in cold temperatures than hot ones. Unless the temperature is lower than 0 degrees Fahrenheit for at least four days, some bed bugs will survive.
Creating a sub-zero environment in your own home is hard. However, you can use heat to your advantage. Hand-held steam cleaners can deliver fatal blasts of scalding steam to beds, couches, and carpets. You can also launder your bedsheets at 140 degrees Fahrenheit to kill all bugs and eggs.
Insecticides, like pyrethroids, are somewhat effective at deterring bed bugs. They are poisonous to insects, so they will kill bed bugs upon contact. Most insecticides are sold in liquid form. You can brush them on, or spray them around the home.
The only trouble is that in recent years, some strains of bed bugs have developed a resistance to insecticides. There’s no guarantee that they will work for the specific bugs in your home. If you’d like to give pesticides a go, try buying a small bottle first to test it out.
Essential Oils, Alcohol, and Vinegar
There is some evidence that bed bugs are repelled by vinegar, alcohol, and essential oils. It’s likely that you’ll have some of these around the home anyway, so they’re worth a try.
Tea tree oil is effective against bed bugs, compared to other essential oils. It has a strong smell which bed bugs don’t like. If it actually touches a bed bug, it’s fatal. It’s not effective if diluted, though. Undiluted tea tree oil can also be harmful to humans and pets.
High-strength cleaning vinegar also repels bed bugs, and kills them on contact. It’s irritating to the skin, so wear gloves when using it. Unfortunately, it has a strong, unpleasant smell that lingers.
If you choose to use alcohol, you’ll need to opt for rubbing alcohol rather than drinking alcohol. It’s only about 50% effective at killing bugs, but it does repel them reasonably well.
Diatomaceous earth is a sedimentary rock, sold as a white, talc-like powder. You can buy food-grade diatomaceous earth, which is safe to use around pets and children.
It’s a desiccant, which is the technical term for a drying agent. The small, sharp particles make tiny cuts in the waxy coating on a bed bug’s shell. The moisture inside evaporates, and is absorbed by the diatomaceous earth. Eventually, the bed bug dehydrates and dies.
Bed bugs can’t become resistant to diatomaceous earth. They will avoid it at all costs. Apply it to any area of the home that you think may harbor bed bugs.
Though it may sound strange, bed bugs have a preference for certain colors.
According to a study in the Journal of Medical Entomology, bed bugs actively avoid harborages (hiding places) that are yellow or green. They prefer darker colors, such as red, black and purple.
Unfortunately, buying yellow bedsheets isn’t enough to get rid of a bed bug infestation. It will, at best, put them off for a few days. If a bed bug is at risk of starving, they’ll find you and feed.
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