The Best Essential Oils To Treat Bed Bugs (2019)

Essential Oil as Bed Bug Repellant for Skin (2019 Edition)

Bed bugs may be tiny living creatures, but they have the power to turn your beauty sleep into a complete nightmare. These tiny blackish-red insects come out in the night from the nooks and crannies of your bed and suck out your blood without mercy, like vampires. You end up waking up in the morning covered in bites and bumps.

In this detailed article, we will look into essential oils as natural bed bug repellants for your skin.

Here is what we will learn:

  • What are essential oils?
  • Can essential oils keep bed bugs away?
  • Best essential oils as bed bug repellants
  • Best essential oil to sooth bed bug bites
  • How to use essential oil to treat bed bugs effectively

What are Essential Oils?

Everybody has heard about the miraculous qualities of essential oil. These oils are highly concentrated, potent extracts, derived from plants’ flowers, leaves, stems, barks, and even roots. They have a sharp aroma and several medicinal properties.

Since essential oils are very potent, if you do not exercise caution, they can burn your skin, give you rashes and allergies and can be poisonous if ingested.

So, if you decide to use essential oils as natural bed bug repellants for your skin, make sure they are properly diluted and test them for allergies.

Can Essential Oils Keep Bed Bugs Away?

This question is a bit debatable. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of essential oils as a treatment for bed bugs has not been extensively researched. Some experts believe that essential oils can be applied on the skin to repel bed bugs, but they do not work as well as chemical pesticides. Also, they do not kill the bugs, but their smell and medicinal properties may keep them at bay.

After looking at several experts’ advice, we have concluded that if the bed bug infestation is small, essential oils work moderately well in keeping bed bugs from biting you. However, if the infestation is more severe, you may need to use chemical insecticides to treat your bed and flush out the bugs.

Best Essential Oils as Bed Bug Repellants

Below are some of the best essential oils that work as a bed bug repellant.

Lavender oil as bed bug treatment

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has an amazing effect when it comes to treating bed bugs. The great thing about this oil is that if you spray it undiluted directly on the bed bugs, it kills them. It also has a wonderfully pleasant, herbal and soothing aroma which is universally loved by humans but hated by insects, like bed bugs. Hence, it also works as an effective deterrent and keeps bed bugs away. However, when applying on your skin make sure it is diluted. Also, test a patch of your skin for allergic reaction 24 hours before applying it.

Lavender oil also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, so it is also used to soothe swelling and itching caused by bed bug bites. A single drop of diluted oil can do the trick and relieve you of any irritation caused by the pests. The oil also promotes sleep, which can be disrupted by bed bugs in the night.

Peppermint essential oil

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil exudes a refreshing and quite a sharp aroma. Some people find the fragrance a bit too strong, but what is great is the fact the insect-like bed bugs and cockroaches can’t stand the smell either. There are many people who keep balls of cotton wool soaked in peppermint oil around the kitchen to ward off any nasty pets, determined to get into the food. This same technique can be applied to keep away bed bugs. You can place peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls in the corners of your bed and apply peppermint oil mixed with a carrier oil on your skin while you are sleeping. Not only will it keep beg bugs away but other parasites, like mosquitoes, as well.

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Although this may not be 100% effective, it is certainly worth a try.

Lemongrass essential oil

Lemongrass Oil

Lemongrass is popularly used in Asian cuisines and has a tangy, citrusy smell. However, this is the very same reasons that pests, including bed bugs, cannot abide it. Lemongrass oil is very acidic and if directly applied on bed bugs, kills them. It is believed that it also prevents bed bug eggs from hatching, thereby disrupting the bed bugs’ lifecycle.

If mixed with a carrier oil, lemongrass oil can relieve muscle pains, stomach aches, and headaches. Aside from repelling bed bugs, lemon grass oil also repels ants, mosquitoes, lice, and fleas. However, since it is very potent and can burn your skin, you must not use it on your pet cat as it can cause rashes or liver damage.

Tea tree essential oil

Tea Tree Oil

Melaleuca or tea tree oil is all the rage these days, thanks to its healing, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is most often used in face washes, acne creams, and massage oils and has a very pleasant and cool aroma.

Tea tree oil is highly potent and can kill bed bugs on contact. If you spray the oil in its undiluted form, the exoskeletons of bed bugs absorb it, and they suffocate to death. The strong smell also discourages bed bugs so rub some tea tree oil all over your bed.

Since it is very powerful, people should exercise caution while using it. If tea tree oil is ingested in its undiluted form, it can be very toxic to humans. You can also spray it in your kitchen to keep away other pests, like roaches as well.

Thyme essential oil

Thyme Oil

Thyme oil is so potent it is not safe to use on pregnant women and small children. Its high potency also makes it a wonderful insecticide and bed bug repellant. If you have a bed bug infestation, sprinkle a few drops of the liquid onto your bed. Thyme oil is known to kill off bed bugs and prevent them from returning, as well.

If mixed with a carrier oil, thyme oil kills bacteria, alleviates anxiety, increases blood circulation and improves immunity. However, before using the essential oil on your skin, make sure you consult a doctor first, as it can raise your blood pressure if you already have a history of it happening.

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Best Essential Oil to Sooth Bed Bug Bites

Most essential oils have antibacterial properties, but some are more beneficial to humans than others. Take a look at some of them:

Frankincense Oil

Frankincense is famously mentioned in the Bible; that means the oil’s medicinal properties were recognized during ancient times as well. Frankincense oil has a refreshing aroma that can clear your mind on days when you are feeling lethargic and foggy. Hence it offers the benefits of energizing aromatherapy.

Applying just one or two drops of frankincense oil on a cotton swab and placing it on a bed bug bite can soothe the redness and itchiness in no time.

Calendula Oil

This is one of the best essential oil to put on your skin to treat bed bug bites. Calendula oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties and helps to heal and protect the skin. If you have red welts on your skin, thanks to the bed bugs, apply a couple of drops of calendula oil to a cotton swab and press it to your skin for immediate relief.

How to Use Essential Oil to Treat Bed Bugs Effectively

It is important to be cautious when using essential oils. Even though they are natural, they are very potent and can harm pregnant women, children, and even healthy adults, if ingested.

When it comes to killing bed bugs, you may use undiluted essential oils. Some types like lemongrass and tea tree oil are highly corrosive and can kill bed bugs if applied directly. However, when applying it topically, make sure you either mix them in a carrier oil, like coconut or almond oil or dilute it in water to reduce their potency. These can work as a natural bed bug repellant and treat bites and welts too.

You can also spray a few drops of these essential oils in your kitchen pantry, cupboard and bed to prevent the infestation of pests and to keep your rooms smelling lovely.

The Takeaway

There is no doubt that essential oils come with a wide variety of insecticidal and medicinal properties. However, they must be used with caution, without harming yourself in the process. Their effectiveness is also limited, and they work well with small infestations. If your bed bug infestation is heavy, you may need to supplement essential oils with some chemical pesticides or call an exterminator.

Sweet dreams!

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