But first, let’s start with the most common symptoms of bed but bites: (1)
- Itching on the skin. This can get pretty intense.
- Small red bumps. These tend to occur in lines or zigzags, and are usually on the legs or arms. Bed bug bites are normally flat or slightly raised in some areas. Furthermore, they don’t have a red ring around the center, which can occur with flea bites.
- Skin eruptions. These could ooze puss before healing occurs.
- Dryness and changes in pigment in the skin when the bites heal
Here are 5 natural treatments for bed bugs and bed bug bites:
1. Inspect Your Home and Clean Up ClutterWhile it’s a myth that bed bugs only live in dirty houses, it’s true that the more cluttered a space is, the more likely bed bugs are to survive. Clearing clutter from your home offers them fewer hiding places. (4) If you suspect you have bed bugs, try to locate them. Investigate your mattress, headboard, carpet, sheets and the area around your bed. Did you wake up itchy and you weren’t itchy when you went to bed? That’s an indication of bed bugs. Also, if you’ve recently purchased a new bed, carpet or furniture that was previously owned, you might have brought bed bugs into your house. (5)
How to tell if you have bed bugs:You might notice certain signs around their home that suggest bed bugs. These signs include:
- Blood stains on sheets or pillowcases or dark spots. These might be bed bug excrement.
- Small egg shells or shed skins
- An usual odor that is described as “musty” (6)
2. Thoroughly Wash Affected Surfaces and FabricsCall a professional service company that has experience with bed bugs. Preferably, find one that uses natural products. Ask about what kinds of insecticides they use, and if they have an organic, natural product option. If you choose to hire a company that only uses chemical treatments, be sure the product is safe to use on mattresses. It will later come into contact with your skin! (7) Now, you don’t necessarily need to throw out your mattress, couch, carpet and clothing. However, some people may choose to do so anyway. Truly, it is possible to completely remove bed bugs and their eggs. But this is best done with professional cleaning equipment.
Here’s what you can do to get rid of the infestation:
- Clothing or fabrics that might have come into contact with bed bugs or their eggs should be washed in a washing machine and dried on heat high for at least 30 minutes, both of which helps kill them. (8)
- Try adding essential oils, such as thyme and lemon, to your wash. Thyme is also great to use on bed bug-bitten skin! Add a few drops of thyme oil to your laundry, use it to wipe down surfaces, or add it to your bath water if you already have signs of bites. (9)
- To ensure the bugs don’t return, be sure to sheathe the clean mattress with a tightly-woven, zippered cover. Keep it on for at least a year to ensure any remaining bugs die and cannot escape to other surfaces.
3. Use Neem OilNeem oil is a natural pesticide, derived from seeds of the neem tree. The most active component of neem oil helps repel insects and pests due to its strong smell. It’s a safe and effective method to use against bed bugs both in private homes and commercial locations. For homes, use TER-TRU1, which contains 5.5 percent cold-pressed neem oil. For large spaces, you’ll want TER-CX1, which contains 22.0 percent cold-pressed neem oil. (10)
4. Apply Diatomaceous EarthAnother great natural product to kill bed bugs is diatomaceous earth, or DE. It’s made up of fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. It comes in the form of a white powder. DE contains silica, which cuts into the bug and dries them from the inside out. (11) Sprinkle DE powder in affected areas. You can rub the powder into fabrics and carpets with a brush or broom. Then, let the powder sit for about four to 12 hours before vacuuming. For best results, repeat this process once a week for a total of three to four weeks.
5. Help Stop Bed Bug Bite ItchingBefore implementing bed bug bites treatment, be sure to first clean the affected area. And truly, if you’re wondering how to get rid of bed bug bites, it starts by not itching them, as that can make symptoms worse.
Additionally, you can implement these natural treatments for bed bug bites:
- Patchouli oil has antiphlogistic properties. That means it has powerful abilities to sooth inflammation of the skin and speed up healing. (12) Administer several drops of patchouli oil into your hands and massage in the areas where you have bites. Don’t wash the oil off, instead let it soak into any inflamed area. Alternatively, you can soak in a warm bath with five to 10 drops.
- Help keep swelling down and soothe irritated skin with cool compress.
- Oatmeal baths can reduce itching, redness and dryness. (13)
- Tea tree essential oil can curb itching, help stave of redness and inflammation, and treat sensitive skin during the healing process. Combine with coconut oil and apply to affected areas twice daily. You might also try witch hazel, geranium, rose and lavender oils. All of those products are great for itchy skin. (14, 15)