The battle against bed bugs is real. Whether you’re dealing with a small infestation or an all-out war, it can be hard to know which weapons to arm yourself with.
While some people turn to professional exterminators, others seek out DIY solutions that won’t break the bank.
While we strongly suggest going with professional services, there’s nothing wrong with doing a bit of DIY every once in a while – especially if it’s for a follow-up or preventative measure.
According to some entomologists (scientists who study bugs), vinegar has been used as a natural insect repellent for centuries and can be effective against bed bugs in some instances.
Vinegar is considered an acetic acid, which can disrupt the protective outer layer of a bed bug, causing them to die when exposed.
While this method is considered to be a safe alternative, it is not ideal to use it as a standalone treatment. Vinegar might kill the exposed bed bugs, but it is not effective at eliminating eggs or other hidden insects.
How Can Vinegar Affect Bed Bugs?
Finding out that you have bed bugs at home can be scary. You might want to get rid of them as soon as possible and turn to vinegar for help. So, does vinegar kill bed bugs in a practical manner? Let’s find out:
Vinegar has a low pH level, making it an acidic substance that can be toxic to most bugs. As mentioned earlier, it’s considered an acetic acid and can damage the protective outer layer of a bed bug, eventually killing it.
Its nervous system is disrupted – if you douse a bed bug in vinegar, it will die within minutes. However, this only works if the vinegar is able to come into contact with the bug.
That’s why it is essential that you spray or apply vinegar directly onto any visible bugs in order to be effective.
While this isn’t as effective as acidity, heat can also be used to kill bed bugs. Vinegar has a boiling point of around 200°F (93°C), making it an effective insecticide.
The steam released when heated will kill the bed bugs instantly, but it’s important to note that this only works if the heat can reach the pests directly.
If there are any egg sacs or hiding spots where the steam won’t be able to penetrate, then this method will not be effective.
Vinegar has a strong odor and taste. This makes it unappealing to many insects, including bed bugs. If you use vinegar as a preventative measure, the smell might be enough to keep the pests away.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Vinegar as a Standalone Treatment
Vinegar has long been known as a DIY cleaning solution and pest treatment, but it isn’t effective enough to be used as a standalone solution for bed bug infestations.
While vinegar is widely touted as a cure-all for household problems, there are certain issues where it falls short and shouldn’t be relied on as the only solution.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you shouldn’t use vinegar as a standalone bed bug treatment.
Vinegar Only Kills Adult Bed Bugs – Not Their Eggs
One of the main problems with using vinegar as a standalone treatment for bed bugs is that it will only kill live bed bugs, not their eggs.
A single female bed bug can lay up to 200 eggs in her lifetime, so unless you find every single egg sac (which is practically impossible) and spray each one with vinegar, it won’t do much good.
Vinegar Won’t Penetrate Deep Enough Into Furniture or Carpets
Another issue is that vinegar won’t penetrate deep enough into furniture, carpets, and other materials to kill bed bugs.
While it can be effective on surfaces that are easily accessible, such as walls, floors, or curtains, the acidic nature of vinegar isn’t able to reach the very depths of these materials, meaning that any bed bugs hiding in these places will remain unaffected.
Vinegar Is Not an All-Encompassing Solution
Finally, vinegar is not a comprehensive solution for controlling bed bug infestations. It won’t be able to eliminate the problem completely and prevent new bugs from entering your home.
If you’re dealing with a serious infestation, it’s best to contact a professional exterminator who can use more comprehensive measures to get rid of the pests.
For vinegar to become effective, bed bugs need to be doused with the solution. Spraying vinegar on a single bed bug may cause its demise, but practically and reasonably speaking, this isn’t a way to get rid of an entire infestation. Thus, vinegar should be used as part of a larger approach to eliminating bed bugs from your home.
That said, it can be useful if you’re looking for a natural and non-toxic method to get rid of these pests, but make sure you use it in conjunction with other more effective pest control methods.
As you can see from the above points, relying solely on vinegar for treating a bed bug infestation might help, but it won’t completely eradicate the problem. Ideally, vinegar should be used as part of an overall strategy for dealing with the issue.
To this end, it can play a useful role in controlling bed bugs, but it won’t be enough on its own. Always make sure to use other more effective methods, such as professional extermination services and chemical treatments, to ensure that all pests are eliminated.