When it comes to killing bedbugs (Cimex lectularius), all manner of oils can be effective; however, the problem lies in the fact that it kills bed bugs, the oil must come in contact with them. Natural oils, including cedar oil, do not leave a residue that will continue killing the pests after the application.
Does this mean that cedarwood oil is useless against bed bugs? Far from it. In this article, we will discuss various strategies for killing and repelling bed bugs. We will also share some good ideas for using cedar oil to keep them away. Read on to learn more.
Why Do We Suddenly Have A Problem With Bed Bugs?
Up until the last 10 years or so, bedbugs were considered to have been eradicated in the United States. This was due in great part to the use of the pesticide DDT, a powerful chemical with strong residual effects. When applied, it killed off all adult bed bugs and remained effective for months to continue killing emerging bedbugs.
Unfortunately, this powerful chemical proved to be hazardous to human health and detrimental to wildlife. It got into the water supply and the soil and wrought havoc. For these reasons, it was banned for use in the US in 1972.
Since that time, the wildlife populations that were decimated by the use of this powerful pesticide have made a comeback. Unfortunately, so have bedbugs. These tiny, blood-sucking pests are rugged and can stow away in all types of soft textiles with the greatest of ease. This makes them successful globe-trotters, traveling along with people to and from every part of the world.
What Can We Do About Bedbugs?
There are still some chemical pesticides, such as permethrin, that are effective against bed bugs without being excessively harmful to the environment or to people and pets. These types of pesticides do not have a very long residual effect, so they are not as effective at eradicating a bed bug infestation as DDT was.
If you have a heavy bedbug infestation, you might want to call a pest control company to treat with permethrin once, but you wouldn’t want to have it applied repeatedly. This would be costly and could be hazardous to your health.
Instead of subjecting your home to recurrent applications of pesticide, you might wish to simply develop an anti-bed bug lifestyle after initial treatment. This sort of strategy includes the regular use of essential oils such as cedar wood oil. It also involves taking a very stance in keeping your home scrupulously clean, and cedar-based products can be very valuable for that purpose.
What If You Don’t Want To Use Chemicals At All?
If you don’t want to begin with a single pesticide treatment, it is possible to do a thorough bedbug eradication treatment using a combination of cedar oil-based products and diatomaceous earth.
This natural way involves thorough vacuuming, dismantling of furniture, washing all textiles in very hot water with cedar-based detergents, spraying with a cedar-based insecticide, and distributing diatomaceous earth in places like behind wall sockets and baseboards. Diatomaceous earth does have some residual effect, but it must be replenished periodically.
This sort of treatment is something you can do yourself, or you might wish to engage the services of an all-natural pest control company that specializes in all-natural bedbug removal. [source]
No matter how you start your bedbug battle, be aware that it is likely to be an ongoing war for the foreseeable and unforeseeable future. If you miss just one gravid female bedbug the first time around, you’ll soon have a fresh reinfestation.
How Can You Prevent Reinfestation?
Diligence is the best way to prevent a second bedbug takeover. It’s important to also understand that no pesticide (synthetic or natural) lasts forever. You must reapply cedar oil, diatomaceous earth, or permethrin regularly to achieve lasting results. You must also develop a lifestyle that discourages bedbugs. This is where cedar products can really be helpful.
Take a holistic approach by diligently and consistently combining killing and repelling. Use personal care and home cleaning products that contain cedar. While it may not have a residual killing effect, it does have a residual repelling effect. [source]
Here are a few things you can do to repel bedbugs and other insect pests:
- Surround the foundation of your home with cedar chips.
- Add cedar essential oil to your personal care products.
- Use cedar-containing laundry and cleaning products.
You can purchase specialized products that are made for killing and repelling bedbugs and other pests, and/or you can create your own products by combining cedar oil with natural carriers such as:
- Natural Oils
Companies That Offer Good Choices In Ready-Made Products
#1 – Cedarcide Insect Repellent
Cedarcide is a company based in Texas that offers a variety of native cedar-based household products that are said to be environmentally friendly, safe to use, and effective. Cedarcide products are made from naturally sourced alternatives.[source]
While not specifically targeted toward bedbugs, these Cedarcide original products promise to effectively kill and repel a variety of insects and pests including:
- Bed bugs
Their products are available directly from the company or from Amazon.
#2 – Cedar-Al
Cedar-Al is another company that has been producing cedar-based products since 1985. This company uses the oil mother nature provides from the Northwestern Red Cedar (Thuja plicata), which is believed to be the most effective in killing and repelling insect pests. Their products are available only from the company. [source]
DIY Cedarwood Oil For Bed Bugs Products
You may also wish to try your hand at creating your ow h this active ingredient, you can create several handy products. Here are a few simple recipes:
Surface Bed Bug Spray
In a spray bottle, combine 50% white vinegar with 50% filtered water. Add 6 drops per ounce of cedar essential oil. This is a mild spray you can use to clean hard surfaces and freshen textiles, such as upholstery and mattresses.
Diatomaceous Earth Insect Repellent Stations
Combine diatomaceous earth and water to form a stiff paste. Mix in cedar oil at a rate of a dozen drops per ounce of paste. Spoon the paste into jar lids and place in out-of-the-way areas where bedbugs (and other pests) may tend to hide.
This repellent will work against a variety of insect pests while adding a fresh cedar scent to your home. Recharge your repellent stations once a month by adding a few drops of water and cedar oil.
Cedarwood Essential Oil Insect Repellent
Start with a 50/50 combination of witch hazel and filtered water. Mix in 6 drops of essential oil per ounce of liquid. You can use cedar oil alone if you wish, or you can substitute other types of oil for part of the cedar oil. Some other essential oils that work well as insect repellent include:
- Peppermint oil
- Lavender essential oil
- Neem Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
This essential oil blend repellent is excellent for spraying on clothing, pajamas, and bedding. You can use it on your skin, but be sure to do a patch test first to make certain you are not sensitive to any of the oils you are using. [source]
Be advised that cedar oil may tingle a bit, and oils such as clove oil may burn. Proceed with caution if using this on your skin. If you do use the oil on your skin and it seems a bit drying, you can add half a teaspoonful of vegetable glycerin for each cup of liquid.
You can “cedarize” your personal care products by seeking out cedar-based, natural shampoos, soap, body oils, and so on. Alternately, you can simply add cedar oil to your existing products at a rate of 6 drops per ounce.
If using this option, it’s best to just mix up as much as you plan to use at the moment. For example, if you mix up a whole bottle of cedar oil shampoo in advance, the ingredients in the shampoo may break down the oil and diminish its effectiveness.
Establish An Anti-Bedbug Lifestyle
Once you have thoroughly treated your home for bedbugs, adopt a lifestyle that will discourage them and prevent another takeover. Be sure to:
- Sweep and mop frequently. Use a cedar-based floor cleaner to mop.
- Vacuum regularly. Sprinkle your carpet with an all-natural insecticides like diatomaceous earth an hour or so before vacuuming. This will help kill off any existing insect pests and prevent them from being able to get a toe-hold in future.
- Wipe down surfaces with a cedar-based surface cleaner.
- Dust and clean wood furniture with cedar oil.
- Put cedar balls or lavender balls in your dresser drawers and closets.
- Change your bedding at least weekly. Strip your bed, vacuum your mattress, and spray it with a cedar-based fabric freshener.
- Turn your mattress at least once a month.
- Wash all your linens and towels in HOT water with a cedar-based cleaner added to the wash.
- Dry your linens and towels on the highest possible setting.
- Follow these laundry guidelines to wash your pets’ bedding at least once a week. [source]
Keep Your Home Clean
Remember that bedbugs can hide anywhere, so don’t let clutter pile up. Clean your home thoroughly at least seasonally. This means that you must:
- Move everything.
- Remove cushions from upholstered furniture.
- Vacuum thoroughly
- Use your hair dryer to blow dry the seams of furnishings and mattresses to kill off any hidden pests or eggs.
- Re-apply diatomaceous earth in out-of-the-way places such as behind wall sockets, mattress encasements and baseboards along with assorted cracks and crevices.
- Launder your drapes.
- Steam clean your carpets with a cedar solution.
Take A Holistic Approach
Like roaches, fleas ticks, mosquitoes, and lots of other pests, bedbugs appear to be here to stay. For this reason, it is a lot smarter to simply develop a lifestyle that will empower you to minimize them and repel them rather than attempting (in vain) to eradicate them.
Without the use of very dangerous chemicals, it really is not possible to do away with bedbugs completely, forever. Luckily, bedbugs are just pests. They do not spread disease, but they are extraordinarily annoying and disgusting, so you will certainly want to keep them away.
Cedar oil is an excellent product to use in this endeavor. It works against bedbugs in six effective ways.
- Causes osmotic dehydration, which leads to death.
- De-acidifies pests’ bodily fluids.
- It encapsulates and emulsifies bodily fats.
- It irritates the respiratory system and interferes with breathing.
- Interferes with pheromones that regulate vital functions such as metabolism, feeding, reproduction, and basic movement.
- It dissolves bedbugs’ protective covering (on contact) at all life stages.
What If I’m Allergic To Cedar Oil?
Fortunately, a holistic approach that involves consistent, aggressive cleaning is half the battle. When you add cedar oil to your cleaning and personal care routines and develop a proactive, anti-bedbug lifestyle, you can manage and repel the pests successfully, but what if you cannot use cedar oil?
Some people are allergic to cedar oil, and it’s worth noting that it can cause respiratory distress for people and animals. Cats and birds may be especially sensitive to it, and you should never use cedar shavings as bedding for small, caged animals because they can be overwhelmed by the fumes.
Luckily, many other essential oils are also quite effective in combating and repelling pests. Experiment with any of the oils listed in the repellent recipe above to find the combination that works best for you. When you use cedar oil and/or other pest repelling essential oils in combination with the lifestyle habits suggested here, you can expect repeated victories in your battle with bedbugs.