Natural Bed Bug Control

Is natural Bed Bug control or treatment effective?

Some people ask for “natural” bed bug control where possible. The term “natural” has no concrete definition and might vary from person to person. For the sake of this section, we will look at “natural” as meaning derived from nature or has minimal process. Any items discussed in this section are not the legal definition of “natural” but rather the informal definition of “derived from nature” with minimal processing or refining.

Historical use of natural treatments
Historically, people throughout the world have found ways to reduce bed bug populations even before science led the way to modern control techniques. From squashing the bugs to burning sulphur in ancient times, to applying kerosene on mattresses, people have used many methods to control these pests.

One very novel idea is still in use by Eastern Europeans and works remarkably well to reduce, although not eliminate, bed bug populations. There is a string bean plant found in that area which has a coating of hooks on the underside of the leaves. The locals have found that if they collect the leaves and put them on the floor with the underside up inside infested rooms, the bed bugs are snagged on the leaves. The long hairs of the bed bug leg were held by the hooks. A study by Richardson of USDA in 1942 showed that there was a trap rate of 32% in one night. Clearly, though, this is not practical in everyday life worldwide.

Today’s natural control includes steam, heat, cold, and trapping. In addition, there are products which can be applied to infested areas. These include some natural oils which have some success, soaps which work if applied directly to the bed bugs, and diatomaceous earth, or a natural dust of diatom skeletons from the ocean which cut the cuticle of bed bugs and desiccate the pest.