How to use Tea Tree Oil for Bed Bugs [COMPLETE Tutorial]

tea tree oil to get rid of bed bugs

In this article, we will answer the question: How to use tea tree oil for bed bugs?

Bed bugs are persistent and bothersome pests that can cause discomfort and frustration. Dealing with a bed bug infestation can be challenging, but natural remedies like tea tree oil offer a potential solution. Tea tree oil, derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, has gained popularity for its potential insecticidal and repellent properties.

In this article, we will explore the use of tea tree oil as a natural alternative for controlling bed bugs. Discover how tea tree essential oil works, its benefits, and how to effectively incorporate it into your pest treatment regimen. Say goodbye to these unwelcome visitors and embrace a more natural approach to pest control with tea tree oil.


What is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil, or melaleuca oil, is an essential oil obtained from the tea tree plant (Melaleuca alternifolia). The tea tree plant is native to Australia, and its oil has been used for centuries by indigenous Australians for its medicinal properties.

Tea tree essential oil has a strong, distinct aroma and numerous therapeutic benefits. It contains various compounds, including terpinen-4-ol, which is the primary active ingredient responsible for its antimicrobial and insecticidal properties.

Due to its antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil is often used in personal care products, such as soaps, shampoos, and creams, to help treat various skin conditions, including acne, fungal infections, and dandruff. It also has properties that can reduce inflammation and act as an antiseptic.

In the context of bed bug control, tea tree essential oil is sometimes suggested as a natural alternative to chemical pesticides. It is believed to have insecticidal properties that can help eliminate them when applied directly to infested areas or surfaces.

However, it’s important to note that while tea tree oil has shown promise in certain studies as an insecticidal agent, its effectiveness against them may vary, and it may not be sufficient as a standalone solution for severe infestations.


What are Bed Bugs?

They are small, parasitic insects. They belong to the Cimicidae family. The most common species that infest human dwellings is known as Cimex lectularius. These insects feed on the blood of humans and animals, mostly during the night.

They cause problems due to their biting, which leads to skin irritation and sleep disruption. Bed bug infestations are difficult to eradicate, can have psychological effects, spread easily, and result in financial burdens. Fast action is crucial to prevent their spread and minimize their impact on well-being.


What are common Bed Bugs signs?

Signs of a bed bug infestation include:

  • Bites: Itchy, red bites on the skin.
  • Blood stains: Small blood stains on bedding.
  • Dark Spots: Rust-colored spots from bug fecal matter.
  • Odor: Sweet, musty smell in infested areas.
  • Exoskeletons: Shed skins left behind by bed bugs.
  • Live Bugs: Presence of live bugs in hiding spots.
  • Egg Casings: Small, white or cream-colored egg casings. (source)


How does a Bed Bugs bite look?

Please note that their bites can vary in appearance from person to person.

Here’s a description of how their bites may look:

  • Red, itchy marks on the skin.
  • Bites often occur in clusters or lines.
  • The affected area may become swollen.
  • In some cases, blisters may develop. (source)


Can Tea Tree Oil kill Bed Bugs?

Tea tree oil has shown some insecticidal properties and may have the potential to kill bed bugs. The main active compound in tea tree oil, terpinen-4-ol, is believed to have a toxic effect on them.
When applied directly to bed bugs or their habitats, tea tree essential oil may interfere with their cellular function and cause damage to their exoskeleton. It can disrupt their nervous system and lead to their death.


Can Tea Tree Oil repel or deter Bed Bugs?

Tea tree essential oil has been suggested as a natural repellent for bed bugs due to its strong scent and potential insecticidal properties. They have a strong attraction to carbon dioxide and body heat, which are the primary factors that guide them to their hosts. Tea tree oil’s scent may not be potent enough to completely repel them or prevent them from feeding if they are in close proximity to a host.

If you are looking for an alternative natural remedy to repel bed bugs, you should also check peppermint oil. To learn more, we recommend checking our article on Peppermint Oil and Bed Bugs.


Is Tea Tree Oil a safe natural alternative to chemical pesticides for Bed Bugs?

Tea tree oil is considered a natural alternative to chemical pesticides for bed bug control. It comes from the leaves of the tea tree plant and is safe when used properly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Can Tea Tree Oil prevent Bed Bugs?

Tea tree oil is not commonly used as a preventive measure against bed bugs. Its effectiveness for this purpose has not been extensively studied. Instead, focus on proactive measures such as regular inspection, cleanliness, vigilance during travel, heat treatment and physical barriers.


How to use Tea Tree Oil for Bed Bugs

When using tea tree oil for bed bugs, here are some steps to consider:

  • Dilute the oil: Mix 10-20 drops of tea tree essential oil with 1 cup of water or a carrier oil like coconut or almond oil (or even olive oil for example) to create a diluted solution.
  • Prepare a spray: Transfer the diluted tea tree oil mixture into a spray bottle. Ensure you mix it well by shaking the bottle.
  • Apply to infested areas: Directly spray the diluted tea tree oil onto suspected or visible areas where they may be present, such as mattress seams, cracks, crevices, and baseboards. Avoid spraying directly on bedding or areas that come into contact with the skin.
  • Repeat as needed: For better results, reapply the solution every few days or as necessary. Consistency is important in addressing bed bug infestations.
  • Combine with other treatments: To enhance effectiveness, consider using tea tree oil alongside other proven pest control methods like thorough cleaning, vacuuming, steaming, and consulting professional pest control services.
  • Safety precautions: Remember to follow safety guidelines, including using appropriate concentrations, avoiding direct contact with undiluted tea tree essential oil on the skin, and keeping it out of reach of children and pets.


How to Make Tea Tree Oil Spray for Bed Bugs

Here are the steps to create a Tea Tree Oil Spray for Bed Bugs:

  • Dilute Tea Tree Oil: Create a tea tree oil spray by combining 10-20 drops of tea tree essential oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle.
  • Adding other essential oils: You can also consider adding other essential oils effective against bed bugs, like Clove Oil, Lavender Oil, or Lemongrass Oil, to enhance the efficacy of the mixture. The concentration of these oils can also be adjusted based on personal preferences.


Do not forget to shake the bottle to ensure proper mixing.


How long does Tea Tree Oil remain active for Bed Bugs after application?

Tea tree oil does not have a long-lasting residual effect against bed bugs. Its effectiveness typically diminishes once the oil has dried.

They are resilient pests that can quickly move to untreated areas or reinfest the treated areas, rendering the residual activity of tea tree oil minimal. Ideally you should spray for bed bugs every day with Tea Tree essential Oil.


Can I put Tea Tree Oil on Bed Bug bites?

While tea tree essential oil has soothing properties, we do not recommend you to apply tea tree oil directly to bed bug bites without dilution. Undiluted tea tree oil can be irritating to the skin and may cause further discomfort or allergic reactions.


Can Tea Tree Oil be combined with other essential oils?

Yes, tea tree oil can be used in combination with other essential oils, including those known for their potential effectiveness against bed bugs. Combining essential oils can enhance their overall insecticidal and repellent properties.

Some essential oils that are commonly used in combination with tea tree oil for bed bug treatment include:

  • Lavender oil: Known for its pleasant scent and potential insect-repellent properties.
  • Peppermint oil: Believed to have insecticidal effects and may help deter them.
  • Eucalyptus oil: Known for its strong scent and potential repellent properties against insects.
  • Lemongrass oil: Known for its strong aroma and potential insecticidal properties.
  • Geranium oil: Often used as a natural insect repellent and may have some effect against bed bugs.
  • Clove oil: Contains a compound called eugenol, which has insecticidal properties.
  • Thyme oil: Has shown insecticidal properties and may help deter them.


To find out the best essential oil for bed bugs, check our Essential Oils for Bed Bugs Consumer Guide 


Does the quality or purity of Tea Tree Oil affect its efficacy against Bed Bugs?

Yes, the quality and purity of tea tree oil can impact its efficacy against bed bugs. Here’s how:

  • Concentration of active compounds: Higher-quality tea tree essential oil contains higher concentrations of active compounds. Such as terpinen-4-ol, which contributes to its efficacy against bed bugs.
  • Contaminants: Poor-quality or impure tea tree oil may contain contaminants that can diminish its effectiveness.
  • Source and production methods: Tea tree oil from reputable sources and produced using quality extraction methods is generally more reliable and effective.


To maximize efficacy, choose high-quality tea tree oil from trusted brands or suppliers, free from contaminants, and produced using reputable methods.


Will Bed Bugs develop resistance to Tea Tree Oil over time?

There is currently limited scientific evidence to suggest that they can develop resistance specifically to tea tree oil. However, it’s important to note that bed bugs have shown the ability to develop resistance to various insecticides over time, including synthetic chemicals.


Is Tea Tree Oil safe for Bed Bug treatment on bedding, mattresses, and furniture?

While tea tree essential oil is generally safe for topical use, we do not recommend you to directly apply tea tree oil on bedding, mattresses, or furniture to treat bed bug infestations. Here’s why:

  • Stain and damage risk: Tea tree oil can leave stains and potentially damage certain materials, including fabrics, upholstery, and finishes found on furniture or mattresses. Applying undiluted tea tree oil directly on these surfaces can cause discoloration or harm the integrity of the materials.
  • Inhalation and skin sensitivity: Undiluted tea tree oil has a strong scent that can be overpowering and potentially irritating to some individuals when applied directly to bedding or mattresses. It is best to dilute tea tree oil properly before use and avoid prolonged exposure or direct contact with the skin.


Lavender Oil vs Tea Tree Oil for Bed Bugs

Both lavender oil and tea tree oil have been discussed as potential natural remedies for these insects, but it’s important to understand their differences and effectiveness:

  • Lavender Oil: Lavender oil has a pleasant scent and potential calming properties. While it may have some insect-repellent properties against certain insects, its effectiveness specifically against them is limited. Lavender oil is not a primary choice for bed bug control due to the resilient nature of these pests.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree essential oil, on the other hand, has potential insecticidal properties. And it has been studied for its effectiveness against various pests. It contains compounds that have pesticidal effects and can potentially kill these insects upon contact.


To learn more about using lavender oil to get rid of bed bugs. Please see our article on Lavender oil and Bed bugs.


Other DIY treatment to get rid of Bed Bugs?

Here are some additional DIY treatments for bed bugs:

  • Thorough cleaning: Vacuum and clean infested areas, including mattresses, furniture, cracks, and crevices. Dispose of the vacuum bag or empty the canister in a sealed bag outside your home to prevent reinfestation.
  • Steam treatment: Use a steam cleaner with high heat to treat mattresses, furniture, baseboards, and other potential hiding spots for bed bugs. The heat can kill them and their eggs.
  • Washing and drying: Launder infested bedding, linens, clothing, and fabric items in hot water (at least 120°F or 50°C) and dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes to eliminate them.
  • Encase mattresses and box springs: Place special bed bug-proof encasements on mattresses and box springs to trap and isolate these insects, preventing them from feeding and harboring in those areas.
  • Diatomaceous earth: Apply food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) to cracks, crevices, and other hiding spots. DE is a fine powder that damages the exoskeleton of bed bugs, leading to their dehydration and eventual death. Use caution when handling DE and follow safety instructions.
  • Freezing items: Extreme cold can kill bed bugs. If possible, place infested items in sealed plastic bags and leave them in a freezer set to 0°F (-18°C) or below for a few days.



In this article, we answered the question: How to use tea tree oil for bed bugs?
Tea tree essential oil shows promise as a natural remedy for combating bed bug infestations. While it may not be a standalone solution, when used in combination with other effective methods, tea tree oil can play a role in managing these pesky pests.

Its potential insecticidal and repellent properties make it a worthy consideration for those seeking natural alternatives to chemical pesticides. Embrace the power of tea tree oil as part of a comprehensive approach to pest control and reclaim your peace of mind in a more natural and eco-friendly way.