A Beginner's Guide to Naturally Eliminating Bed Bugs With Diatomaceous Earth
There are few instances in life that are as frustrating, annoying, and bothersome as a bed bug infestation. While many people never think they'll have to deal with such an infestation, 99.6 percent of pest control professionals have had to treat bed bug infestations within the previous year. Someone is calling a professional every day in order to deal with bed bug eradication...but thanks to all-natural bed bug killers, you don’t have to be one of them. You can do it yourself, and often more effective than the professionals! How? Because you’ve got the Bed Bug Store on your side!
Although bed bugs seem to attack throughout the year, reports seem to confirm the most active seasons are during the warmer months of summer. Why is this? There’s no definitive answer, but it’s probably a combination of the following.
First, people are more likely to vacation during the summer, which means they’ll be bringing more bed bugs home from the hotel rooms they stayed in.
Second, like all insects, bed bugs are cold-blooded. In summer they’re at their fastest, and the colder it gets the longer they’ll take to get where they’re going. And while cold doesn’t affect them while they’re in an artificially-heated space like a home or hotel, it can slow their speed down when they’re in a cold trunk on the way back from the airport. There might also be something in their natural cycles that causes then to slow down in winter even if they’re in a warm house. All we know is that we definitely see an uptick in sales during the summer.
What About Bed Bug Exterminators?
We talked about exterminators up above, and it’s the first thing that we’ve been conditioned to think about whenever there’s a bug problem of any sort. Commercials will do that to a person, you know? While it may be tempting to call upon the exterminating power of chemical pesticides, these products can produce nightmarish symptoms if ingested or if it comes in contact with your skin. You might be able to avoid such dangers with no problem, but many people have kids and pets to worry about. To put it bluntly, typical bed bug sprays are poison to both bed bugs and humans. Do you really want to sleep in a room that’s just had poison applied to the baseboards and carpet? Think about the smell that will be left behind! How soon will it be until you feel comfortable in your own bedroom again? A week? A month? Never?
Could bed bugs be wiped out 100% with one exterminator spraying? Yes. But such products aren’t legal to use because they’re so deadly to humans. So the stuff that your average exterminator uses is nerfed so much that it often doesn’t work. Most exterminators won’t even guarantee bed bug eradication, and they always say they have to come back at least two times. Good news for them, bad news for you and your ability to sleep soundly at night.
While there are some good all-natural bed bug sprays out there, it’s important to hit bed bugs from every angle possible. That’s why we recommend another equally-powerful option when it comes to finally eradicate bed bugs — diatomaceous earth.
What is Diatomaceous Earth | A Brief Overview
Before delving into how to utilize this miraculous compound to naturally kill bed bugs, it's important to hold a basic understanding of its properties. Millions of years ago, single-celled organisms, known as diatoms lived in the ocean. These unique creatures feature a transparent outer shell known as silica. As these organisms fossilized it formed silicon dioxide, which features a sharp, abrasive texture.
Mined from the sediments of oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams, these compounds are turned into dust and used as a mild abrasive. It is used in over 150 different products, ranging from makeup to toothpaste to beverages to industrial cleanup. As eclectic as its uses are, we’ll be focusing on its properties as a natural, safe, and effective mechanical pesticide. What do we mean by mechanical?
When diatomaceous earth (also known as bed bug dust) comes in contact with insects, its microscopic particles make their way into the cuticle of the bed bugs exoskeleton. Once it's made contact, the diatomaceous earth begins to absorb the oils and fats from within the bed bug, which basically dehydrates the insect. This fast-action process effectively kills all bed bugs it comes in contact with — all without the use of chemicals or harmful compounds. It’s truly an all-natural bed bug treatment!
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Bed Bugs
Although the application instructions are relatively straightforward, to ensure proper elimination of all bed bugs there are several tips you should follow. Regardless of the severity of your infestation, you should take precautions to prevent inhaling or coming in contact with diatomaceous earth. While this natural bed bug killer is generally recognized as safe, it can cause irritation if it comes in contact with your skin, eyes, or if inhaled. (Inhaling any dust is going to cause you to cough and certainly isn’t restricted to DE). Therefore, wear a face mask, gloves, and goggles whenever handling this product.
Tip #1 | Application Suggestions
The most important step when applying diatomaceous earth is to ensure it reaches all the places where bed bugs love to hide. This includes:
Around the borders of all rooms (even in rooms where bed bugs haven't been seen). Not every bed bug is on the mattress or hiding in the bed frame. Some bed bugs, especially recently-impregnated females, have a more reclusive nature and will retreat to baseboards around the room. Put a line of dust across your door frame and do your best not to disturb it.
Remove the covers of electrical sockets and pour the dust in the empty space (not in the electrical outlet itself, obviously, but the empty space in the wall around it). This is especially easy when dust applicators are used, such as the one that comes free with our crawling insect control dust.
Apply underneath all furniture and along with the interior spaces, such as the internal wood frame of sofas, beds, and chairs. Again, bed bugs are relatively fast for crawling insects. While you’ll find the bulk of them on your mattress, you need to be able to get the ones that are traveling for their meal.
Apply in every gap within your home. Think like a bed bug. Leave no area within your home untreated.
Tip #2 | Application Amount
Although there are many recommendations regarding the "exact" amount that should be used, as a general rule of thumb, apply a liberal dusting around the borders of rooms, at the base of furniture and along with the interior spaces of furniture and chairs; for example, along with the entire mattress box spring. While it's not possible to use too much diatomaceous earth, you also don't want to waste any.
Because diatomaceous earth is mechanical and not chemical, bed bugs don’t know to avoid it. They’ll walk right through it, and the dust will cling to them and start to dehydrate them. The idea is to use enough of it so that every bed bug comes into contact with it at some time or another in its journey. If the dust under the electrical cover doesn’t get it, the dust at the baseboard should. And if they somehow luck out enough to find gaps in both of those, the dust at the feet of the bed will get them. (Bed bug traps at each foot of the bed is another great option.)
Tip #3 | Reapplication of Diatomaceous Earth
Perhaps one of the biggest debates regarding the use of DE is whether or not you should vacuum and reapply. While some recommendations include vacuuming up the DE every few days and then reapplying, this is really at your own discretion. Diatomaceous earth isn’t organic, so it’s not going to spoil.
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend you leave the DE alone for three to five days. From here, you may vacuum it and reapply a second coat. Why vacuum it up at all?
First, you’ll want to vacuum up all the dead bug bugs that it has killed because you don’t want to be seeing the same bed bug bodies over and over and think that the infestation is worse than it is. It’s also just gross to see them!
Second, you should be vacuuming every few days anyway to get those bed bugs and eggs that are hiding in the carpet. Vacuuming is one of the most effective ways of dealing with bed bugs, so you need to keep it up. It’s not so much that you need to get rid of the DE; it’s that you’ll need to reapply because you’ve sucked so much up as you do your bed bug vacuuming. (As always, don’t forget to take your vacuum bag directly the outside trash can so that the bed bugs don’t crawl out through the hoses.)
Remember: as long as you experience bed bug symptoms or see physical evidence of bed bugs, you should keep applying the diatomaceous earth. Even after you think you have them all beat, put one final application of DE down. This, along with bed bug traps, will get any stragglers that could re-infest your home. This isn’t something you want to take lightly!
Tip #4 | Air Circulation and Diatomaceous Earth
In general, you want to keep air circulation at a minimum to prevent blowing away the DE. While a ceiling fan may not disturb the dust, pointing a box fan directly at its application areas will likely render this product ineffective. (A ceiling fan may actually be a good idea, as it can circulate the carbon dioxide you exhale and make it slightly harder for bed bugs to find you.) Try to keep strong airflow at a minimum until the bed bugs have been eliminated.
Tip #5 | Applying Diatomaceous Earth to Mattresses
While diatomaceous earth is most often used as a way to kill the bugs as they crawl along the floor, it can also be used to great effect on the mattress itself. Now you might think that that wouldn’t work; simply getting on and off a mattress, not to mention kids jumping up and down on it, will disturb the dust and make it less effective. That’s why we suggest the use of bed bug mattress covers. Bed bug mattress covers seal up the mattress so that the bed bugs inside can’t get to you and then starve to death. The smooth nature of the covers also makes it harder for the bed bugs to find a place to hide because it takes away their favorite hiding places, namely the seams and crevices of the mattress.
Before you encase the mattress in a sealed cover, sprinkle the DE dust throughout your entire mattress. Make sure to keep your mattress sealed for at least a month to ensure all living adult and nymph bed bugs are eradicated. It’s a great way to kill those nasty critters faster and more effectively.
Ready to Employ A Natural Solution For Bed Bugs?
At the Bed Bug Store, we’re all about all-natural bed bug treatments. From the physical removal of bed bugs with vacuums to washing them drown the drain of your washing machine, from non-toxic bed bugs, sprays to the use of diatomaceous earth, we’re there to provide you with the information — and bed bug eradication products — that work well and are safe for your family. Watch this video to get a great overview of the steps you can take to get rid of your bed bug problem once and for all!
Let us at Bed Bug Store assist you. All our products come with a 90-day 100% satisfaction guarantee. We have been relieving customers of their bed bugs for over 15 years. Our products are also 100% all-natural, chemical and pesticide-free. The smell you notice when using our solution, is the fresh scent of peppermint.