Are Bedbugs Biting You? Treat Them Naturally
Are bedbugs biting you and your family? Are you bedbug free at the moment but worried that they will invade your home or apartment? Do you want to avoid poisons and try a natural way to get rid of these pests?
Don’t panic. You don’t need to bring in the dogs, like the housing authorities are considering in New York City. There are some other natural ways to help eliminate bedbugs. But first, know thy enemy.
Identifying the unwanted bedbugs
Bedbugs do not limit themselves to beds and bed clothes: they can be found in seats in theaters, under rugs, behind loose wallpaper and wall molding, and anywhere they can squeeze their tiny bodies. Adult bedbugs are about 3/16-inch long, mahogany or rusty red in color, and they look like a small lentil. Unfed bedbugs are flat, but when they have snacked on their victims, they become red and fat. Fortunately, they cannot fly.
The life cycle of bedbugs can be as long as 120 days, so there are plenty of opportunities for them to feed on their victims and reproduce. They leave their eggs in crevices, mattresses, and box springs, where they especially like to hide in the seams and under the buttons. The nymphs hatch in about 10 days and then they molt for a total of five times. Between each molt they seek food, which is when the bedbugs begin to bite.
Natural Bedbug Treatments
If you want a safe, nontoxic, and effective way to help get rid of bedbugs, then you might try diatomaceous earth. This fine powder is composed of ground-up, minute fossils of single-celled algae (diatoms). Although these tiny fossils have sharp edges, they harm insects only, not people or pets. When bedbugs crawl across the powder, they get cut and bleed to death.
To use diatomaceous earth, sprinkle it on the floor under and around beds or other furniture. Also place some of the powder under mattresses and other cushioned furniture. Diatomaceous earth may not kill all the bedbugs in your home, but if you are looking for a nontoxic approach, diatomaceous earth may be an option for you.
Another option is silica dust, which is often combined with the natural insecticide pyrethrum (from chrysanthemums). Natural silica can come from ordinary sand that is heated to a high temperature, and from diatomaceous earth.
Silica destroys the covering that protects bedbugs and other insects against water loss. The addition of pyrethrum stimulates the insects’ nervous systems, which makes them contact the silica dust more readily. It can be used like diatomaceous earth.
You might also try an aerosol product whose active ingredient is natural pyrethrum. When the spray contacts the bedbugs, it sticks to their bodies and kills them. An insecticidal soap based on potassium salts of natural fatty acids can also be effective. When the soap contacts the insects, it smothers and dehydrates them.
Depending on your bedbug situation, you may need to call in an exterminator. However, if you want to avoid toxic chemicals, you may want to treat those bedbugs naturally. Sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite!