Can You Use Tea Tree Oil For Bed Bugs?

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Essential oils are commonly used for warding off pests. One of the more popular ones is tea tree oil. Now according to a lot of homeowners, this minty extract can reportedly get rid of one of the most annoying pests out there, bed bugs. So can it do it? Can you use tea tree oil for bed bugs? Or is this just another failed home remedy?

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Bed bugs are hard to kill because they reproduce and spread so fast. CC Image courtesy of Piotr Naskrecki from Wikipedia

What’s tea tree oil?

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Tea tree oil is an essential oil that comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia or what’s commonly known as a tea tree. It’s a medium sized tree with tiny leaves and white flowers. And it’s native to Australia.

The oil is yellow or clear, depending on the brand you’re buying. It also has a distinctive camphor smell which makes it a common ingredient for beauty and bath products.

However pleasant it smells, tea tree oil is toxic for consumption. So it’s often used as a pest repellent. It’s been known to be effective against various annoying house invaders like spiders. However, it’s also as a known folk medicine, used for treating skin conditions like insect bites, acne, dandruff, fungal, viral and bacterial infections, lice and even scabies.

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How does tea tree oil work?

We know that it’s a common home remedy. But does it work? Can you actually use tea tree oil for bed bugs?

Well since tea tree oil is an essential oil, it’s expected to work against a lot of pests. Like lavender and lemon oil, it has the basic components that can do wonders against bugs. It has solvent properties that soak into an insect’s protective exoskeleton and suffocates it.

According two studies, a 2010 study on the insecticidal activities of essential oils and a 2008 study from India, tea tree oil and the rest of its counterparts have substances called monoterpenoids that naturally repel and kill pests. They’re so effective that they’re even listed as main ingredients for many commercial insecticides.

How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Bed Bugs

There are several ways to use tea tree oil for bed bugs. Below is a list of all the ways you can incorporate this minty oil into your deadly strike against those pesky bloodsuckers.

#1 Use it as a spray

This is probably the most common and the most recommended method. All you have to do is mix 20 drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle filled with water. Spray an area with the mixture and let it dry. Do this regularly several times a week to get the bed bugs out. They’ll die with direct contact from the spray, and they’ll also be repelled by the smell.

#2 Add vinegar into the mix

To increase the oil’s potency, try adding a few drops of white vinegar into your water-oil mixture. Remember that that vinegar’s odor takes a few hours to dissipate after being sprayed. Leave your windows and doors open to get the smell out.

#3 Wash with tea tree oil

To get rid of more severe infestations, wash your dog’s beddings. Set the washer to the highest temperature setting. Add a few drops of tea tree oil along with your chosen liquid detergent into the machine. Repeat this at least two times before you let the fabric dry.

#4 Pair it with a vacuum cleaner

Make sure that all the bed bugs are done for by using your vacuum cleaner. Vacuum obscure places in the house before applying your spray. Tighten the vacuum’s bag to make sure that no bed bug escapes.

#5 Combine with other oils

To give your tea tree oil a little boost, add more oils into your water mixture. Start by adding a few drops of lemon oil and lavender oil. Then you can witch hazel or peppermint oil. How much you put into the spray depends on your preference, but having 5 to 7 drops will do.

Using tea tree oil for bed bugs doesn’t have to come with these five steps. You can be creative and add things according to your research, experience and preference. Just remember that using tea tree oil for bed bugs can come with some irritation to your skin if you don’t wear protective clothing. Keep safe, and always do things one step at a time. You can win the long battle with bed bugs if you put a little time and effort into it. And if all else fails, there are always the professionals who can handle your problem for you.