What Will Kill Bed Bugs Instantly?
Bed bugs are a pest in the purest sense of the word. They’re fairly common across Australia and the rest of the world. They can cause various issues in homes, adversely affecting sleep and mental health, and potentially calling for costly treatments and replaced items. While prevention is the best treatment, we often only discover an infestation when it’s already too late, so how do we kill bed bugs instantly?
With harmful chemicals, temperature-based solutions, and various home remedies touted by different people as bed bug treatment options, it can be hard to know what’s really going to work and what’s just an old wives’ tale. Can you really eviscerate a population of bed bugs using household under-the-sink items, or should you fork out for a more professional service? Will baking soda really work or should you lean into using some VOCs? (Volatile organic compounds)
We’ve put together this guide so you can know for sure what kills bed bugs instantly and what can take a little bit longer. Hopefully, by following the science and principles outlined in this piece, you’ll be able to treat your bed bug issue in no time at all.
Does Alcohol Kill Bed Bugs Instantly?
When it comes to killing bed bugs, alcohol might seem like a sure thing. We’re all aware of how flammable pure alcohol is, along with the poisoning effects that too much fun with alcohol can have on our own systems, so how could a bed bug stand a chance?
Alcohol does indeed kill bed bugs on contact, having a two-part effect that will usually leave them all but annihilated. The first damage from its solvent effect, which dissolves the outer shell of the bed bugs. If this initial damage doesn’t kill the bed bug, the desiccant effect should, drying out the bug’s insides, and ending its life.
However, don’t go filling up a spray bottle with rubbing solution just yet, as alcohol might not be as quick and final a remedy as you’d want. Alcohol only kills bed bugs after direct contact, which is basically impossible to engineer with the hiding spots that the crawlers choose, such as the crevices and folds in bedding and furniture. In reality, it’s not the most effective choice for fast extermination.
Conclusion: Yes, but not 100% of them
Can Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs Instantly?
This falls under the category of kitchen solutions – the kinds of treatments that your mum might have recommended to you throughout your childhood. Vinegar is acetic acid, and it’s very strong, which means direct contact will disrupt the nervous system of bed bugs to the degree that they will usually die. It’s also fairly effective at keeping bed bugs away from their typical hideouts and sending them into hiding.
However, this doesn’t qualify it as a truly effective bed bug treatment. First of all, much like with alcohol, vinegar will only kill bed bugs on direct contact, meaning that eliminating the entire population with a spray bottle is highly unlikely. Secondly, its repellant effect means that many of the bugs will run and hide, making them even harder to find and kill.
In the early days of an infestation, vinegar treatment is quite effective for keeping the bugs out of your bed and can definitely thin out their numbers; however, the lack of finality and the horrendous smell you have to deal with make it a questionable choice.
Conclusion: Not enough
Can Baking Soda Kill Bed Bugs?
This is another “mother’s tip” remedy when it comes to figuring out how to kill bed bugs quickly, however, it’s likely the least valid option in this article. Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, is often touted as an inexpensive cleaning substance, great for dealing with mold, rust, and dirt, but can it kill bed bugs?
Baking soda is highly absorbent, which means it could work to dry bed bugs out. It’s also somewhat abrasive, implying that it could cut and injure bed bugs directly. Finally, it could kill bed bugs if ingested.
Sadly, none of these facts are at all relevant in practice, as baking soda isn’t nearly absorbent enough to kill bed bugs on contact, it’s not abrasive enough to actually penetrate a bed bug’s exoskeleton, and bed bugs only ever feed on blood. This makes baking soda a totally ineffective choice for trying to kill bed bugs, and something to avoid completely!
Conclusion: A great big NO!
Does Borax Kill Bed Bugs Instantly?
Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that shows up in the ingredient list for a number of different cleaning products that you can buy readily on the market. Despite only being a form of salt, Borax is actually considered by many to be an effective treatment for bed bugs, suffocating the bugs themselves to kill them.
The method involves using Borax with at least 1% boric acid, sprinkled liberally all over your bare mattress, then mixed with water from a spray bottle. While this begins to take effect, you should also wash any bedding and linens with a mixture of hot water and borax. Once this process begins, it can take anywhere between 3-7 days for the bed bugs to be killed.
So, the answer is no, Borax cannot kill bed bugs instantly, although it is an effective method if you have excess time to spare. Also, it’s definitely worth remembering that while Borax might be an effective killer for the bugs, it’s also potentially very harmful to humans, meaning the treatment will likely leave your bedroom uninhabitable for at least some time.
Conclusion: Not an instant killer
Can Steam Kill Bed Bugs Instantly?
Temperature is one of the most effective ways to deal with bed bugs, with both the fully-grown bugs and eggs dying within minutes when exposed to temps of just 122°F or 50°C. Steam only forms when water reaches 212°F or 100°C, making it far and wide hotter than it needs to be to kill bugs in an instant.
You can effectively treat a bed bug infestation with steam by removing all the bedding, soft furnishings, and linens from a bed and then using a steamer wand around any infested areas. While it can take some time to cover all your bases, using a steamer will almost definitely deal with the problem in an effective and final way.
The main takeaway from this is that using a steamer is one of the best possible courses of action for dealing with a bed bug infestation, but you just have to be diligent with it. It can also work better with the use of traps and repellants to draw the bugs out of hiding, so you can make direct contact as easily as possible.
Conclusion: Yes, it does!
What About a Bed Bug Mattress Cover?
Another treatment for bed bug infestations is using a bed bug mattress cover, which while not an instant killer, is an effective choice for regaining your place of rest. The way this system works is by trapping the bed bugs within the confines of the cover, meaning that they cannot access their food source (you), eventually starving them to death.
This method is essentially foolproof when it’s contained to the confines of the mattress itself, however, it will obviously not kill the bed bugs hidden in the vicinity. This is a treatment for bed bugs that are best employed in conjunction with some other methods, such as alcohol or even a more specific bed bug-killing powder.
You can definitely use a bed bug mattress cover to some success in killing the bed bugs that are getting their food from your body, but just remember that it’s not a miracle solution to dealing with an entire infestation. It also takes some time to take effect, so be patient!
Conclusion: No, but it will work eventually!
As is the case with many bed bug-killing methods, none of these solutions is likely to solve the problem entirely by itself. Really, you should employ a variety of DIY methods that will work best in your home and allow the cumulative effect to do its thing. It’s always better to utilize DIY methods first to avoid the expensive costs of professional treatment.
Remember to begin treatment as soon as the early signs of bed bugs become apparent in your home, as the longer you wait, the more they will breed and multiply.
If you’re interested in preparing your home with a bed bug mattress cover, a steamer wand, or some other solutions, along with learning more about bed bugs as a whole, visit our website today.
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