Does Cornstarch kill Bed bugs?

cornstarch to get rid of bed bugs

Featured in the ingredient list of many recipes, cornstarch (also called cornflour) is a staple in many pantries. But what is cornstarch? It is a very fine white flour made from corn seeds, so different from wheat flour, which is more commonly used.


Does CornStarch Kill Bed Bugs ?

Cornstarch does not kill bed bugs on contact. Its particles are not abrasive enough to cut through bed bugs’ skeleton.

Cornstarch is a desiccant so it could have a drying effect on those bloodsuckers  and their eggs, and be potentially harmful to them. However you should not rely on Cornstarch or Maize Starch to get rid of those pests. Especially if the infestation is large and spreaded in multiple rooms in your home. It also is not the best to use cornstarch or corn flour in sleeping rooms, as the dust could be inhaled and could generate respiratory issues.

There is one way to use cornstarch when fighting those critters. It is to suffocate the bugs inside a vacuum bag. Indeed vacuuming is an efficient way to reduce bed bug population. Sometimes those bloodsuckers can survive within the bag, or canister of a vacuum. Placing cornstarch or flour inside the bag of the vacuum will help to suffocate bed bugs residing inside it. If you want to learn more about DIY treatment from pantries, you could have a look at our article about Flour and Bed bugs.


Can you use Cornstarch in DIY Bed bug traps ?

There are some DIY traps to kill bed bugs that you can find on the internet involving Boric acid and cornstarch. Boric acid is deadly to any insect that ingest this fine powder. In those traps, Boris Acid is mixed with cornstarch. The principle is simple : Cornstarch should attract bed bugs. While Boric Acid will kill them when they ingest it. This trap will not work as bed bugs feed only on blood. They will not eat the corn starch.

Also some people could recommend adding cornstarch inside the bowl of a DIY interceptor cup to make it more slippery. This is a mistake as this could make it more slick and could have the opposite effect. Best is to add Talcum powder in the DIY interceptor cup to prevent bed bugs from climbing it back.


Cornstarch vs Diatomaceous earth for bed bugs

If you want a powder that you could use in your DIY treatment against bed bugs, we would recommend you Diatomaceous earth (DE). Indeed, unlike Cornstarch, there are scientific studies and Pest control experts confirming explicitly that Diatomaceous earth is deadly to bed bugs. 

Diatomaceous earth is composed of silica and which is easily reduced to a white powder. Its composition is usually 80-90% silica and the rest are minerals. The powder is used in many industrial processes and also as an insecticide against bed bugs. This over-the-counter natural insecticide powder is very popular in do-it-yourself bed bug treatments.

Diatomite contains sharp particles that will stick to the bed bug’s shell and cause them to die within a few days of dehydration. DE is an economical and chemical-free way of getting rid of bed bugs by yourself.

If you want to discover the best Diatomaceous earth available in the market, you should have a look at our Bed bugs Powders Buying Guide.


Can you use Cornstarch to treat bed bug bites ?

Dilute cornstarch (1 teaspoon) and menthol toothpaste (7cm) in a little less than 3 ounces of milk. Then apply the mixture to the bed bugs bite, the menthol contained in the toothpaste and the milk will soothe the itching and the cornstarch will help heal the wound from the bite.



Cornstarch does not kill bed bugs. It can only help as we saw in this article :

  •   Suffocating bed bugs residing inside a vacuum bag
  •   Help soothe and heal bed bug bites


If you want to get rid of bed bugs with a chemical-free and economical powder. We advise you to pick Diatomaceous Earth