Bed bugs are never a welcome dweller to have in your living spaces, especially in your bedroom. These elusive critters can hide even in the tiniest crevices and can quickly cause a nasty infestation when left alone. Luckily there are ways you can use neem oil for bed bugs. But there are also certain things you need to think about when considering using neem oil if you are met with the unpleasant presence of these bugs.
What is Neem Oil?
Neem oil is extracted from the leaves and seeds of the neem tree. As a naturally-occuring pesticide, it is a popular ingredient in most pesticide recipes as well as in commercial insecticides and pesticides. Certain components in neem oil can also be found in cosmetic products, cleaning chemicals, soaps, shampoos, and the likes.
Neem oil has been used for hundreds of years to repel and kill pests and keep them from destroying crops and bugs on plants.
Cold-pressed neem oil, on the other hand, is neem oil that is extracted from neem seeds in a process called cold extraction. This process preserves and yields the most azadirachtin – the active compound that gives neem oil its potent insect repellent properties.
Does Neem Oil Kill Bed Bugs?
As a widely used natural insect and bug repellant, it’s no wonder neem oil is also used to keep away and kill bed bugs. Neem oil kills mature bed bugs, their larvae, and eggs upon contact. They are very effective in keeping away these bugs from the exposed parts of your body when you sleep at night.
Check for bed bugs
Before anything, check for signs of their presence in living spaces. While they are named “bed bugs,” they can hide and can be practically anywhere in indoor spaces, they are only named so because they are usually more swarmed in bedrooms and bed frames or mattresses where they can easily crawl out and feed from humans when we settle down to sleep.
The usual signs of the early presence of bed bugs are:
- Bloody or reddish-rust stains on curtains, bed sheets, pillow cases
- Bed bug droppings
- An overwhelming musty, rusty smell
- Egg shells and skin sheddings
Once you spot these signs, remove beddings, curtains, and pillow cases immediately and wash them with hot water and dry them to the maximum settings on the dryer.
If you’re out to stay at a hotel or lodging, ask to transfer rooms or have your accommodations be arranged somewhere else.
Advanced infestations are fairly easy to identify because these icky bugs would visibly be everywhere and crawling out and about and the signs of their presence would just be very prominent.
How To Use Neem Oil Against Bed Bugs
There are several ways to repel bed bugs from biting you. Preparing a neem oil spray solution or lotion can be handy especially when you’re traveling and would need to stay in a hotel or lodging which you might not know could be infested with bed bugs.
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As a spray
You can use pure neem oil to spray corners and crevices where bed bugs can hide with pure neem oil or with a neem oil solution of at least 4 oz of water and soap. This can also be used to spray on bedsheets, curtains, carpets, bed frames, shelves, and furniture.
If you want to use the spray on you, especially on your exposed skin the pesky bugs away from you when you sleep, simply mix a teaspoon of carrier oil for every drop of neem oil with water. You can spray this on your clothes, shoes, as well as your luggage and car.
Of course, don’t forget to do a patch test first to see if you have any allergic reactions to neem oil. Once you see any type of adverse reactions, discontinue from using immediately.
As a lotion
When used as a lotion, neem oil can be very effective to keep these bugs off you. You can mix a few drops of neem oil to lotions with mild scents.
You can also make a neem oil lotion by combining the same ratio of carrier oil and neem oil as the spray. This is also very helpful in soothing and treating the itch and pain if you do end up getting bitten by a bed bug.
Using Neem Leaves
Crushing neem leaves and leaving them to dry around the infested spaces is another way to utilize another part of the neem tree in dealing with bed bugs. Once they dry up, simply swap them out for freshly crushed ones.
Can You Use Neem Oil For Exterminating a Bed Bug Infestation?
Full-on bed bug infestations are very challenging to handle. While neem oil is effective at killing bed bugs and its eggs on contact and controlling the early signs of infestation, they are not very effective in handling advanced infestations.
Bed bugs are very resilient creatures. They can go on for months without feeding, and they can grow a sizable population in a short amount of time. Methods that use neem oil are great to repel them from getting to you and biting you, but that isn’t really getting rid of them as they continue to infest your spaces.
Other Methods To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
There are also several ways on how to get rid of bed bugs naturally. A very popular alternative solution in keeping the infestation at bay is by using pesticide-grade diatomaceous earth (DE). DE is a fine desiccant and is applied to dust around the infested spaces. It works by clinging to the nasty creatures and dehydrating them.
You can also look into stronger, natural pesticides/insecticides, and methods that involve heat since bed bugs cannot survive high temperatures.
However, your best bet is probably going to be calling an exterminator to handle the situation for you.
While neem oil can be used to repel and kill bed bugs on contact, it is not the best method to get rid of them when you have an advanced bed bug infestation. You stand a better chance at looking at other solutions than just relying on neem oil to get rid of bed bugs once and for all.