The bed bugs we’ve encountered these days in our homes are descendants of parasites that have been around since the beginning of humanity.
Originally coming from caves, bed bugs have traveled a long way and have now become a common pest in most homes all around the globe.
Along with the increasing number of chemical-based pesticides, naturally-derived solutions such as neem oil have become popular for controlling bed bugs.
Its effectiveness has been proven time and time again, and a larger population of homeowners depend on it as an alternative solution for treating areas infested with bed bugs.
In fact, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has approved the use of neem oil as an indoor bio-pesticide.
For gardeners, neem oil is deemed as an effective natural pesticide. Gardening enthusiasts swear by it and have been using it to target various pests.
It helps deter ones that are naturally attracted to plants, such as aphids, thrips, mealybugs, and many others.
What’s the Effectivity Rate of Neem Oil Against Bed Bugs?
Neem oil has antibacterial and insect-repellant properties. This means that despite being a homemade solution, it can be used as an effective bed bug larvicide and repellent.
A light coating of neem oil on the infested surfaces can help disrupt the bugs’ reproductive cycle and drive them away from the area.
In general, neem oil works by suffocating the bed bugs and breaking down their exoskeletons, killing them. Additionally, it also disrupts their digestive system, while it damages the delicate lining of their breathing tubes, preventing them from feeding and eventually causing death.
Considering that the EPA has officially registered neem oil as a bio-pesticide, this means that the way neem oil acts and the way it kills bed bugs has met all the required standards in terms of effectiveness and safety.
This solution doesn’t just apply to residential applications, but it has also been approved for commercial applications as well.
Additionally, studies were conducted showing that pest control solutions containing cold-pressed neem oil have achieved EPA approval rates, with the ability to kill not just adult bed bugs but also nymphs and their eggs.
How Long Does It Take for Neem Oil to Kill Bed Bugs?
Although effective, neem oil doesn’t work as instantly as we wanted. On average, it takes about 3-4 days before the oil takes effect and kills the majority of bugs, bed bugs included. However, there are some cases where it may take up to 7 days for the oils to take effect.
Since this is a naturally occurring substance, it takes quite some time for the chemical compounds of neem oil to make its way through the bed bug’s system, thus killing it.
How to Use Neem Oil to Kill Bed Bugs?
One of the best things about the use of neem oil is that it’s relatively safe for humans and the environment as well. It doesn’t leave any toxic residue when used in soils, making it a safe solution for your home.
If you’ve decided to try neem oil yourself, make sure that you grab a bottle of cold-pressed neem oil. Read the label. Neem oils are extracted in various ways.
Some of them contain additives or emulsifiers that can be harmful if ingested. Cold-pressed neem oil, on the other hand, is pure and the safest option to use against bed bugs.
With one gallon of water, mix 2 ounces of cold-pressed neem oil. You may use this as a standalone treatment or for better results, and you may also add any mild detergent or soap to help the mixture stick better.
It’s important to create a mixture that you’ll only use. Creating large batches in advance will only lead to the oil losing its potency over time.
Additionally, neem oil immediately breaks down when mixed with water. Unlike other oils that won’t mix with water, neem oil does, so mixing it with water can help make applications easier.
Once you’ve prepared your mixture, use a spray bottle and use it on areas where bed bugs may be lingering.
Think of it this way – if you see a small crack or tiny opening and a credit card can fit through that opening, then a bed bug would be able to fit in as well. Use this as your reference and spray the neem oil on affected areas.
For best results, two applications of neem oil solution works best. If you have time, you may also do this on the succeeding days.
Since it takes quite some time for the oil’s compounds to work against bed bugs, having multiple applications can help increase the effectiveness of the treatment.
Is It Safe to Spray Neem Oil on Mattresses?
This is a common concern amongst various homeowners as there’s a belief that oils can damage baseboards, especially wooden ones, and even may stain mattresses. However, when diluted properly (see above for proper dilution guidelines), neem oil will not damage or stain any surface, including mattresses.
Since the EPA has approved the use of neem oil indoors, you won’t have to worry much about any potential damage or staining. However, similar to all the other products we’ll use on any of our furniture or mattresses, it’s wise to perform a simple patch or spray test.
What does this mean? Look for an inconspicuous area of your mattress or furniture and spray a small amount of the neem oil mixture.
Usually, you’ll immediately see any staining that may be present. If you don’t see any, then it’s safe to spray the neem oil on your mattress, and repeat the process In other areas and use it as necessarily needed.
For bedsheets, pillowcases, and even curtains that may have been infested with bed bugs, you may mix a small amount of neem oil with your laundry detergent. A few drops will usually suffice. You may adjust whenever necessary.
Being the one and only naturally occurring ingredient that’s EPA-approved, neem oil has been proven to be effective to use as an alternative bed bug control treatment.
Alternatively used instead of chemicals and even pesticides, neem oil works best when used in combination with other treatments.
If there’s one thing you should know about neem oil, always remember that, unlike chemical-based bed bug control sprays, neem oil doesn’t take effect immediately.
It takes days, about 3 days at least, for the oils compounds to work. If you’re looking for a solution that immediately kills bed bugs, this might not be for you. However, if you don’t mind waiting for about 3-7 days, and you don’t mind performing a second application, then this method is worth a shot.