Best Essential Oils to get rid of Bed Bugs

essential oils to get rid of bed bugs

In this article, we will answer the question: What are the best essential oils to get rid of bed bugs? Welcome to our article on bed bugs and essential oils. In this piece, we’ll explore the use of natural and aromatic oils to address these pesky critters.



They are small insects that can cause discomfort and frustration, and many people are seeking alternative solutions to deal with them.

Essential oils offer a natural approach that is becoming increasingly popular. We’ll get into the potential benefits, methods of use, and important considerations when using aromatic oils for bed bug control. So, let’s dive in and discover the aromatic world of essential oils in the battle against bed bugs.


What are Bed Bugs?

They are small insects that lack wings and survive by feeding on the blood of humans and animals. These nocturnal pests have a flat, oval-shaped body and typically appear reddish-brown in color. During the day, they hide in cracks, furniture, and bedding, emerging at night to feed on unsuspecting hosts.

Their bites can cause itchy, red welts, and infestations can quickly spread in homes, hotels, and other living spaces. They are resilient and can survive for extended periods without feeding, posing a challenge for eradication.


What are essential oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids derived from plants through various extraction methods. They are called “essential” because they capture the plant’s characteristic fragrance or essence, carrying its distinct aroma and beneficial properties. Essential oils are composed of volatile compounds that give them their unique scent and potential therapeutic benefits.

These aromatic oils are extracted from different parts of plants, including flowers, leaves, bark, stems, and roots. They have been used for various purposes, including aromatherapy, personal care products, natural remedies, and even household cleaning. Each herbal oil possesses its own distinct aroma and may offer different potential benefits depending on its chemical composition.


Benefits of essential oils to kill bed bugs

Essential oils offer several benefits when used to kill bed bugs:

  • Natural and Non-Toxic: Many essential oils are derived from plant extracts and are considered a natural alternative to chemical insecticides. They are generally safe to use around humans and pets when properly diluted and applied.
  • Bed Bug Repellent Properties: Certain herbal oils, such as lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and eucalyptus, have natural insect-repelling properties. The strong scents of these oils can deter them and discourage their presence.
  • Contact Killing Effect: Some essential oils have insecticidal properties that can directly kill bed bugs upon contact. For example, tea tree oil is known for its ability to disrupt the bed bugs’ nervous system and kill them.
  • Low Resistance Development: Unlike synthetic insecticides, they have shown limited resistance development to essential oils. This makes them a potentially effective option for controlling bed bug populations.
  • Versatility of Use: Essential oils can be used in various forms, including diluted sprays, direct application, steam treatments, sachets, or infused bedding. This versatility allows for targeted application to infested areas and helps in reaching hidden bed bug harborages.
  • Pleasant Aroma: Many essential oils have a pleasant aroma, which can help create a more pleasant living environment while addressing the bed bug problem.


Best Essential Oils to get rid of Bed Bugs

Several essential oils are commonly mentioned for their potential effectiveness in getting rid of bed bugs. While individual experiences may vary, the following essential oils are often recommended:

  • Lavender Oil: Lavender oil is known for its pleasant floral scent, which can repel them and disrupt their presence. Its calming properties can also help alleviate stress and promote better sleep.
  • Peppermint Oil: Peppermint oil has a strong, refreshing scent that they dislike. Its potent aroma can act as a deterrent and make the environment less appealing for them.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil contains terpenoids, which have insecticidal properties. It can disrupt their cell membranes and respiratory systems, leading to their demise.
  • Eucalyptus Oil: Eucalyptus oil has a distinct and invigorating scent that bed bugs find unpleasant. Its strong aroma can repel them and make the environment inhospitable for infestation.
  • Lemongrass Oil: Lemongrass oil has a citrusy and refreshing scent that they dislike. Its aroma can help repel them and deter their presence. (source)


Essential oils should be used with caution, following proper dilution guidelines and considering any potential allergies or sensitivities.


How do Essential Oils affect Bed Bugs?

Essential oils can affect bed bugs in several ways:

  • Repellent Properties: Many essential oils have strong, distinct scents that they find unpleasant. The aroma of essential oils can act as a repellent, making the environment less appealing for bed bugs and discouraging them from infesting an area.
  • Disruption of Nervous System: Some aromatic oils contain compounds that can disrupt the nervous system of bed bugs. These compounds may interfere with their neurotransmitters or receptors, leading to neurotoxic effects and potential paralysis or death of the pests.
  • Respiratory System Interference: Certain essential oils, when inhaled by bed bugs, can cause irritation to their respiratory system. This can lead to breathing difficulties, suffocation, or dehydration, ultimately affecting their survival.
  • Contact Toxicity: Direct contact with certain essential oils can have toxic effects on these insects. The compounds present in the oils can penetrate their exoskeleton, causing damage to their cells or organs and resulting in their demise.


How to Use Essential Oils for Bed Bugs

Now that we know the best essential oils to get rid of bed bugs, we should give instructions on how to use them for these insects.

Here are some ways to use essential oils for bed bugs:

  • Diluted Sprays: Mix essential oil with water in a spray bottle. Apply to infested areas regularly.
  • Direct Application: Apply diluted essential oil directly to infested spots using a cotton ball or cloth.
  • Steam Treatment: Add essential oil to a steam cleaner. Use on mattresses, upholstery, and carpets.
  • Sachets or Pouches: Fill fabric sachets with dried herbs or essential oil-soaked cotton balls. Place in drawers and closets.
  • Infused Bedding: Add essential oil to unscented laundry detergent when washing bedding.


If you’re interested in learning more about using essential oils for bed bugs, we invite you to explore our comprehensive Tutorial on Essential oils and Bed bugs.


Can Essential oil get rid of Bed Bugs Eggs?

While essential oils may have some effects on adult bed bugs and their nymphs. They are however not considered effective in directly eliminating bed bug eggs. Their eggs have a protective shell that can make them more resistant to the effects of essential oils and other treatments. To effectively control a bed bug infestation, it is important to target both the adult bed bugs and their eggs.


Are there specific essential oil blends that work well against Bed Bugs?

While individual essential oils can be effective against them, there are also specific essential oil blends that can enhance their potency. These blends often combine oils with known bed bug repellent properties to create a synergistic effect.

Here are some popular essential oil blends that work well against these pests:

  • Bed Bug Blend: A combination of essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil. These oils have strong repellent properties and can help deter them.
  • Bug Buster Blend: This blend typically includes essential oils like citronella, lemongrass, lavender, and geranium. This should repel various insects, including bed bugs.
  • Pest Repellent Blend: A blend of essential oils like cedarwood, lemongrass, peppermint, and lavender. This combination has insect-repelling properties and can help ward off bed bugs.


When using essential oil blends, it’s important to follow proper dilution ratios and safety guidelines. These blends can be added to diluted sprays, used for direct application, or incorporated into other methods mentioned earlier. Experimentation with different blends may be necessary to find the one that works best for your specific situation.


Can you combine Natural Remedies with vacuuming or steam treatments for Bed Bugs?

Yes, natural remedies for bed bug control, including essential oils, can be combined with other methods such as vacuuming and steam treatments. In fact, incorporating multiple techniques into an integrated pest management (IPM) approach can enhance the effectiveness of bed bug control. Here’s how you can combine these methods:

  • Vacuuming: Vacuuming is an important step in pest control as it helps to physically remove bed bugs, their eggs, and debris. Before applying natural remedies like essential oils, thoroughly vacuum infested areas, including mattresses, furniture, carpets, and cracks and crevices. Pay attention to seams, edges, and corners where they tend to hide.
  • Steam Treatments: Steam treatments can be an effective way to kill bed bugs and their eggs. After vacuuming, use a steam cleaner with appropriate attachments to treat infested areas such as mattresses, furniture, and carpets. The heat from the steam can help eliminate bed bugs, while the addition of natural remedies like essential oils to the water reservoir can enhance the treatment’s effectiveness.
  • Natural Remedies: After vacuuming and steam treatments, apply natural remedies like essential oils to the infested areas. Indeed, you will find previously in the article the list of the best essential oils to get rid of bed bugs. You can spray diluted herbal oil solutions or spray it directly to cracks, crevices, and other hiding spots. The scent and properties of the volatile oils can act as repellents or insecticides, helping to deter and eliminate them.


By combining these methods, you can target bed bugs from different angles, increasing success to get rid of these pests.


What is the success rate of using these Natural Remedies in eliminating Bed Bug infestations?

The success rate of using natural remedies in eliminating bed bug infestations can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the infestation, the specific natural remedy used, and the consistency and thoroughness of application.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Effectiveness: Natural remedies, such as essential oils, can have varying levels of effectiveness against bed bugs. While certain essential oils have properties that may repel or kill them, their impact may not be as potent as chemical insecticides.
  • Infestation Severity: Natural remedies may be more effective in controlling mild to moderate bed bug infestations. Severe infestations typically require a comprehensive approach that includes professional pest control intervention.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM): You should use natural remedies as part of an integrated pest management strategy that combines multiple control methods. This includes thorough cleaning, vacuuming, steaming, sealing cracks and crevices, and potentially using other bed bug control products or seeking professional assistance.
  • Consistency and Persistence: The consistent and persistent application of natural remedies is crucial for their effectiveness. Regular reapplication, thorough coverage of infested areas, and combining remedies with other control methods can improve the chances of success.


Can Natural Remedies alone eliminate Bed Bug infestations?

While natural remedies can help in managing and reducing bed bug populations, it is generally unlikely that they can completely eliminate a bed bug infestation on their own, especially in cases of moderate to severe infestations. Natural remedies, such as essential oils or other plant-based solutions, may have some repellent or insecticidal properties that can deter or kill these pests, but they are not typically as potent or fast-acting as chemical insecticides specifically formulated for bed bug control.

They are resilient pests that can hide in tiny cracks and crevices, making it challenging to reach and treat all infested areas effectively. Additionally, they can develop resistance to certain natural remedies over time, further reducing their efficacy. Therefore, a comprehensive approach that combines natural remedies with other bed bug control methods is often necessary for successful elimination.


How can you identify if you have a bed bug infestation?

Look out for these signs:

  • Small, itchy, red bumps on the skin (bed bug bites).
  • Presence of bed bugs or their shed skins, eggs, or fecal stains.
  • Blood stains on bedding.
  • Musty odor in heavily infested areas.
  • Dark spots or smears on surfaces.
  • Bed bug casings from their shedding.


What are the common hiding spots for bed bugs?

Common hiding spots for bed bugs include:

  • Mattresses, particularly in seams, tufts, and folds.
  • Upholstered furniture, such as couches and chairs.
  • Bedding, including seams and folds.
  • Cracks and crevices in walls, floors, and furniture.
  • Luggage and personal belongings.
  • Curtains and drapes.
  • Electronics and appliances.
  • Cluttered areas, such as piles of clothing or stored items.


When dealing with a potential bed bug infestation, thorough inspections of these hiding spots are essential to identify and address the problem effectively.


What potential health risks are associated with an infestation of bed bugs?

While bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases to humans, their presence can still have some health risks and implications.

Here are a few health concerns associated with bed bugs:

  • Skin Irritation: Bed bug bites can cause itching, redness, and swelling, similar to mosquito or flea bites. Some individuals may develop allergic reactions, leading to more severe skin reactions and discomfort.
  • Secondary Infections: Scratching the itchy bites can break the skin and create openings for bacteria to enter, potentially leading to secondary infections like impetigo or cellulitis.
  • Sleep Disturbance and Psychological Impact: Bed bug infestations can cause significant psychological distress, including anxiety, stress, and sleep disturbances. The constant fear of bites or having an infestation can disrupt sleep patterns and overall well-being.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some people may be allergic to bed bug saliva, resulting in allergic reactions ranging from mild symptoms to more severe responses.
  • Mental Health Impact: Living with an infestation can take a toll on mental health. The stress, embarrassment, and feelings of uncleanliness associated with bed bugs can lead to increased anxiety and emotional distress.


It’s important to note that the health risks associated with bed bugs can vary depending on an individual’s sensitivity to bites and overall health. If you are experiencing significant discomfort or concern about potential health risks, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional.


Is it possible to eliminate bed bugs by yourself, or should I seek professional assistance?

While it is possible to attempt to get rid of bed bugs on your own, you could also choose to seek professional help.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Difficulty of Treatment: They are notoriously difficult to eliminate due to their ability to hide in tiny cracks and crevices. In addition, they can build resistance to specific insecticides over time. Professional pest control technicians have the knowledge, experience, and access to specialized treatments to effectively target and eliminate bed bugs.
  • Extent of Infestation: DIY methods may work for small, localized infestations. However, if the infestation has spread to multiple rooms or areas, professional intervention is usually necessary to ensure complete eradication.
  • Safety Considerations: Some DIY treatments involve the use of insecticides, which require careful handling and application to minimize health risks to humans and pets. Pest control professionals are trained in the safe and proper use of these chemicals to protect your health and safety.
  • Monitoring and Follow-up: Professional pest control services typically include post-treatment monitoring to ensure that bed bugs have been successfully eliminated. They can also provide guidance on preventive measures to minimize the chances of future infestations.


How much time does it usually take to get rid of bed bugs?

The time required to eliminate a bed bug infestation can vary depending on several factors, including the extent of the infestation, the treatment methods used, and the effectiveness of the chosen approach. In general, it can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to completely eradicate these pests.

Regular monitoring and follow-up inspections are also important to ensure that the infestation has been successfully eliminated and to address any potential re-infestations promptly.



In this article, we answered the question: What are the best essential oils to get rid of bed bugs? Essential oils have emerged as a promising natural remedy for tackling bed bug infestations. Their aromatic properties and potential repellent effects make them an attractive option for those seeking alternative solutions.

While essential oils may not provide a foolproof solution on their own, they can be a valuable addition to an integrated pest management approach. With proper knowledge and careful application, essential oils offer a natural and aromatic ally in the ongoing battle against bed bugs.