“Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite”.
My mom used to say that every night, and it used to scare the hell out of me.
Maybe that's why I’m paranoid about a bed bug infestation as an adult.
With good reason too. The fact is that, even on the best natural organic mattresses, bed bugs are a problem for 1 in 5 US households each year.
Fortunately, there is now a wide range of eco-friendly bed bug sprays, so you can keep your sleeping haven free of bed bugs AND toxic chemicals.
They Say: EcoRaider is a botanical-based insect neuron blocker that results in fast mortality target insects, but is safe for children and pets. EcoRaider only contains ingredients that are generally recognized as safe. According to Product Safety Lab testing, EcoRaider causes none to minimal skin irritation. EcoRaider can be used in sensitive environments such as schools, clinics, healthcare facilities, and public areas.
We Say: EcoRaider is one of only two bed bug sprays I use in our home whenever an outbreak of bed bugs occurs.
The active ingredients are non-toxic, and USDA Certified BioBased. The inert ingredients are generally recognized as safe.
It’s non-toxic, all-natural, pet safe, and child safe. It’s gentle on skin and safe to use wherever needed.
My one slight moan about this bed bug spray is the smell. The cedarwood fragrance is too strong for my liking. However, I always open all the windows when treating bed bugs, so this is not a significant issue.
Once applied, this bed bug spray has a residue effect of around two weeks. Giving you peace of mind that all bed beds and eggs will be eliminated in that timeframe.
EcoRaider recommends a three-step process when you first discover unwelcome guests in your bed.
Mrs. M takes a 2oz bottle of EcoRaider whenever we travel, so it's always there if we need it in our hotel room. She also likes to spay a towel to put in our cases when we leave for home…just in case there are unwanted stowaways.
EcoRaider has recently been rebranded to EcoVenger bed bug sprays, so you might receive the old branding or the new. Both products are identical, though.
They Say: Made using natural, organic, and non-toxic ingredients. No more worries of toxic fumes or dangerous chemicals coming in contact with you and your family. Our one-of-a-kind formula can be used on any water-safe surface, including upholstery, mattresses, bed linens, clothing, floors, walls, etc. Simply spray a light mist and watch as we leave nothing but a pleasant peppermint smell and destroyed bed bugs behind.
We Say: In my experience, EcoRaider kills bed bugs slightly quicker than Bed Bug Patrol, and the residue effect lasts for a day or two longer.
However, if I couldn't get my hands on EcoRaider, I would be more than happy to treat any bedroom in my home with Bed Bug Patrol. I also prefer the peppermint smell of Bed Bug Patrol compared to the overpowering cedarwood of EcoRaider.
Bed Bug Patrol bed bug killer is made in the U.S. and safe for use around children. It’s also pet friendly.
If you have a significant outbreak of bed bugs and need gallons or a small bottle to take on holiday, the Bed Bug Patrol Store has many different size options to suit your needs.
They Say: Unmatched control of bed bugs, even strains resistant to pyrethroids and neonicotinoids. Engineered silica for rapid and long-lasting control. Remains viable for up to 10 years when undisturbed. Low-toxicity. Green zone brand mineral-based active ingredient. Suitable for green service programs. Non-repellent, odorless, non-clumping, and non-staining. Destroys the waxy cuticle of insects resulting in rapid dehydration and death.
We Say: If you’d rather try a powder bed bug killer, this offering from Rockwell Labs is the best you can buy.
It’s not just bed bugs that need to fear this powder. This potent bed bug killer can also wipe out a wide range of critters, including:
It can be used as a dry powder, or mixed with water to form a paste.
I prefer a spray to deal with bed bugs. However, I always have some of this in the garage as it's great at keeping unwanted nasties out of outbuildings, etc.
Thanks to its ten-year effectiveness, it can be spread in hard-to-reach places to act as a decade-long barrier to all sorts of crawling, flying, jumping, and biting insects.
They Say: Great non-toxic way of catching rodents and insects. The glue-covered surface measures 4.5"X 6.5" (The whole trap is 5.25"X 7.75"). Can be used as flat or folded and placed where rodent or other target pests activities have been observed. Includes six peanut butter scented glue boards. Boards are scented.
We Say: These glue boards are a cheap and effective way to catch a wide range of insects and rodents without using any bed bug spray or powder.
In terms of bed bugs, they can act as a great early warning system. Fix some in discrete places around your bed frame, and you’ll know as soon as bed bugs are trying to move in.
They’re also great for stopping other insects (such as spiders) from potentially crawling over you at night.
Personally, I don't like using these for catching rodents and other bigger pests. There are more humane ways to do that.
The problem I have with this board is that it’s indiscriminate in what it attracts and sticks. But, it sure traps and kills bed bugs around bed frames effectively. Allowing you to sleep secure.
Outbreaks of bed bugs happen occasionally, and it’s often difficult to justify the cost of professional exterminators.
So, like many people. you may decide to save a few bucks and do it yourself.
However, before you strip off your bedding and reach for the insecticide, take a second to consider what you're about to spray around your bedroom.
There’s little point in spending your hard-earned money on eco-friendly bedroom products, including mattresses, wool comforters, bedding, cotton comforters, bamboo sheets, bed frames, etc., if you’re then going to spray them with toxic chemicals.
Besides, bed bugs are becoming resistant to insecticides, so eco-friendly options are not only better for your health, but they’re more effective at blitzing the bugs.
Look for bed bug products that effectively kill at all life stages (bed bug eggs, nymphs, and adult bed bugs). Some bed bug sprays kill other pests, such as fleas, ticks, ants, and cockroaches, etc.
Most products kill bed bugs immediately on contact. They also kill eggs to eradicate reproduction.
There are two main bed bug spray types:
You should try to get the most potent bed bug spray for your needs without any unnecessary additional chemicals.
A good ingredient to look for is pyrethroid compounds. A pyrethroid is an organic compound similar to the natural pyrethrins (produced by the flowers of Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium and C. coccineum).
In particular, three pyrethroid compounds (deltamethrin, permethrin, and alpha-cypermethrin) are used as insecticides. They’re suitable for use in the home because they’re considered non-toxic to humans (infants, children, and adults).
Try to go for bottles made from recycled and recyclable plastic.
Some bed bug sprays leave a chemical smell that usually disappears after a few hours.
Always use insecticides in a well-ventilated area.
This is a fancy name for how long the spray will continue to kill bed bugs after it has been applied.
You would initially think that the longer the residual effect, the better. However, do you really want the spray's active ingredient hanging around in your mattress for months (even if it is eco-friendly)?
A balance needs to be found between effectiveness and eco-friendliness.
If you have recurring infestations (or just like being prepared), buying in bulk helps reduce costs.
Even non-toxic bed bug sprays must be used properly to prevent potential accidents, ingestion, allergic reactions, etc. Always read the label carefully.
Extremes of temperature (both hot and cold) effectively kill bed bugs.
These treatments are usually difficult and expensive to administer as you typically need specialized equipment.
Wash all infested laundry on a hot wash (ideally with a steam cycle).
You can often treat infestations on small non-washable items (pillows, for example) by putting them in a bag and then in the freezer for a couple of weeks at a temperature of at least -13 Fahrenheit. Or even a tumble in a hot dryer
Portable steam machines are also an effective alternative to chemical products. They offer a completely natural solution.
Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) kills bed bugs and their eggs on contact. However, it’s flammable, so might not be the best option.
Bed bug interceptors are a great way of trapping bed bugs when they try to get on and off your bed.
One simple eco-friendly way to stay on top of the bed bug levels in your home is to thoroughly vacuum all carpets and soft furnishings regularly.
Bed bugs can sometimes be difficult to spot. Using a blacklight flashlight can often help find the critters hiding away in creases and crevices.
Using a mattress encasement system, or mattress protector, will lock the bed bug away from their food source (you!), and they’ll eventually die.
Bed bugs can live without food for up to a year, so this might be a slow process.
Even eco-friendly sprays should be used as sparingly as possible. Start using them at first sight of bed bugs, and stop as soon as you’re sure they’re all dead. Already read the label if you’re unsure about timings.
You can spray most bedding, bedframe, and mattresses for bed bugs. Double-check the label if you’re unsure what you should be spraying.
According to the Journal of Economic Entomology, most essential oils are pretty ineffective at killing bed bugs on their own. However, if you want to give essential oil a try, they found that blood orange oil was the most effective.
EcoLogic is not a brand I tested. However, looking at the ingredients and reviews, it’s formulated with lemongrass oil and cornmint oil to kill pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs and eggs. It’s safe for home use and around children/pets.
Eco Defense Bed Bug Killer is an excellent product that I would happily use in my home if EcoRaider and Bed Bug Patrol were unavailable. You can read more about it here.
It’s a myth that a bed bug infestation only happens in a dirty environment. As long as a food source (human blood) is available, bed bugs thrive in almost any environment.
It can be a distressing experience, and you simply want them gone as quickly as possible.
According to this report by Rutgers University, EcoRaider and Bed Bug Patrol are the two best natural bed bug sprays. Both produced high mortality rates after ten days.
This, combined with my own experiences, is why EcoRaider and Bed Bug Patrol are my two main recommendations. They’re simply the best bed bug sprays you can buy that use non-toxic ingredients.
However, I appreciate that they might not be suitable in all situations, so I've also included some alternative options.
All the recommendations in this article are effective enough to rid you of your bed bug problem when used correctly.
Natural bed bug sprays alone might not always be the answer to the problem. You may have to complement it with other products and techniques (washing at high temperatures, freezing, blacklight, encasement interceptors, etc.) to eliminate bed bugs entirely…and stop them from returning!
Where do you buy your bed bug spray? Have I missed your favorite bed bug spray brand? Have you found a recipe for a homemade natural bed bug spray that works?
Do you have any tried and tested hacks for dealing with a bed bug infestation? Drop me a line and let me know.