Leaving itchy bite marks on your skin, the thought of these bugs feeding on your flesh at night can creep anybody out. One plant-based essential oil could ward them off.
Known as Cimex Lectularius, according to Pest Smart Control, they can range from 1mm to 7mm in size.
Notoriously difficult to see, they can hide in the nooks and crannies of a mattress.
One of the best essential oils to deter bed bugs from settling in your bedroom is lemongrass.
Belonging to a small evergreen tree found in Southeast Asia, lemongrass has a citrusy aroma bed bugs can’t stand.
Take advantage of lemongrass essential oil by adding a few drops into your washing detergent.
This will help to clear any infestation from your bedding, although there’s another technique to get rid of them from your mattress.
Using lemongrass essential oil, mix a few drops with 30ml of water and use this to spray your bedding and mattress.
Make sure not to use lemongrass essential oil directly onto your skin, as its high acidity levels will lead to irritation.
Whenever using essential oils, it’s best practice to dilute them – not only will they freshen up your home, they will help keep bed bugs at bay.
Other essential oils that can be useful in deterring bed bugs include tea tree, lavender and lemon.
This way, you can choose the fragrance most appealing to you when clearing your home of bed bugs.
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The experts at Pest Smart Control added: “They may not rid the bed bugs instantly, but it is often effective after a couple of tries.
“Not to mention you can bring the beautiful smells of nature into your home at the same time without toxic chemicals.”
Entomologist Ameya Gondhalekar from Purdue University, Indiana, USA, identified lemongrass as one of the most effective essential oils for bed bug control.
Published in the journal Scientific Reports, Gondhalekar commented on his findings: “Since bed bugs are found on beds and sofas, people want chemicals that are safe for humans.
“With [lemongrass] essential oils, its compounds are considered to be a low-risk option for bed bug control.”
Lemongrass was proven effective to kill bed bugs upon application, but a multidisciplinary approach to eliminate the pests is encouraged.
WebMD suggests using a stiff brush to scrub the mattress seams, and then vacuum the mattress and surrounding areas.
Make sure to place the contents of the vacuum in a bin bag, and to remove the bin bag from the house immediately.
Bed bugs can survive for up to a year without feeding, so it may take a while to discover you have an infestation.
Signs include bed bug faecal material, eggs shells or shed skins where bed bugs hide.
If the infestation is particularly large in numbers, a musty odour will be apparent.
This scent is from the bugs’ scent glands, with large numbers needed in order to detect the smell.