What Do Bed Bugs Hate? – Top 10 Things Bed Bugs Don’t Like

What do bed bugs hate? We all know that bed bugs love blood and need it to survive, but what are some things they don’t like?

Since bed bugs are hard to eradicate with pyrethroid insecticides, it’s led scientists to look for new ways to control them. We know the fear of having these bloodsuckers is unbearable for most, but we are here to help. Learn about what repels bed bugs, what scents bed bugs hate, what kills bed bugs instantly, and more. 

Bed bugs need to live near a blood source; whether that’s a human or some other animal, they can’t survive without feasting on blood. These nocturnal creatures like to bite us while we are sleeping and cause psychological stress for everyone.

What Do Bed Bugs Hate?

Here are the top 11 things bed bugs hate and how you can use them to fight off an infestation. Remember that using essential oils is not an effective way to kill bed bugs on your own.

If you use them in a DIY fashion, you may worsen your bed bug issue by causing them to scatter and move into harder-to-find areas. However, during recent studies (Bed bugs, Cimex lectularius L., exhibiting metabolic and target site deltamethrin resistance are susceptible to plant essential oils), essential oils can actually make the use of Pyrethroids more effective. But leave it up to the professionals instead of experimenting on your own.

what do bed bugs hate

Blood Orange Oil 

In a 2017 study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, scientists tested 18 oils and found that blood orange oil had one of the most remarkable effects on mortality. One advantage to using essential oils when trying to control bed bugs is that the bed bugs do not currently have any resistance.

Regardless orange oil is one of the things bed bugs don’t like. Since blood orange oil can leave stains on anything you spray it on, you must be careful when using it to control bed bugs.

Cedarwood Oil

What do bed bugs hate? Cedarwood is on the list! The study we referenced above also determined that not all cedarwood oils are equal. When using cedarwood oil to control bed bugs, it’s essential to know if the particular strain of cedarwood you use is effective against bed bugs.

One of the active ingredients in EcoRaider (EcoVenger) is cedarwood, but the company does not disclose where they source it from. Furthermore, not all were effective when researchers tried various cedarwood oils.

Tea Tree Oil for Bed Bugs

Tea tree oil for bed bugs is not an effective killer if you want 100% mortality. However, the 2017 study “Toxicities of Selected Essential Oils, Silicone Oils, and Paraffin Oil against the Common Bed Bug” found that Tea Tree oil was just as effective as the Blue Malee eucalyptus. Actually, Tea Tree is even more effective than peppermint and Neem oil.

Bed Bug Mattress Encasement

What do bed bugs hate? Bed bugs hate not being able to bite you. With this in mind, you can use these covers if you have bed bugs; they seal them inside. If you use a bed bug mattress and box spring encasement on your beds, then you’ll prevent the bed bugs from biting you.

I recommend doing a round of treatment with a licensed bed bug specialist, then putting these on afterward. Furthermore, they are also an excellent tool for monitoring; they minimize hiding spots on the mattress and box spring and allow bed bug poop to show up easier.

Oregano Oil

Although oregano oil is not as good as blood orange oil or silicone oil, it still has some bed bug-killing power. Additionally, the main active ingredients in oregano oil are carvacrol and thymol, both natural pesticides.

Although oregano oil does have thymol, you will mainly find thymol as the active ingredient in the thyme plant. Since oregano oil is not as effective against bed bugs as other essential oils, it’s best to use it in conjunction with other methods of controlling bed bug infestations.

Silicone Oil

One thing bed bugs hate is silicone oil, which is lethal to bed bug harborage. Check out this study with all of the details here. Silicone oil is ranked high in its toxicity against bed bugs. Even though it’s odorless and colorless, it is effective as an alternative bed bug-killing option.

Since silicone oil is already in many products we use, like shampoos, creams, and cooking, it is being looked into as a safe alternative to pesticides. Silicone oil is more apt to kill bugs through suffocation.

what scents repel bed bugs, what do bed bugs hate

Peppermint Oil

There are numerous studies on bed bugs at universities worldwide, testing whether we can control bed bugs with essential oils. Additionally, peppermint oil is one of the scents that bed bugs hate.

In an ongoing study at Morehead University, the graduate students determined that bed bugs avoided a paper towel laced with peppermint oil. Remember that this method will cause bed bugs to disperse, so you will have a more challenging time eradicating them if you only use essential oils. In particular, the strong scent of peppermint causes bed bugs to not move toward it.

Hot Temperatures

Bed bugs cannot survive in temperatures above 120°F (45°C). You can use an enclosed heat box like a bed bug oven to heat things like shoes, books, and fabrics. These heat boxes allow you to kill bed bugs inside a closed chamber.

Placing everything in a high-heat dryer as often as possible is a great way to kill bed bugs. Another way to do it is to use a steamer for bed bugs. With steam, you can kill bed bugs and their eggs!

Thymol

Bed bugs hate the smell of thymol from the Thyme plant; this essential oil is unbearable. Purdue University did a study in 2021 that showed how certain essential oils like thymol could improve the lethality of pyrethroids like Deltamethrin. 

Some pyrethroids alone have almost no effect on killing bed bugs resistant to pesticides. However, the study demonstrated that essential oils improve the killing power of pesticides by synergistically working with them. Thymol, along with a licensed pest professional, is an effective method to consider when dealing with a bed bug infestation.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

DE consists of fossilized remains of microscopic shells that are sharp enough to penetrate the exoskeleton of insects like bed bugs and dehydrate them. This powder is proven to be very efficient in killing bed bugs. However, it’s not the most effective method for killing bed bugs since it is often not applied properly.

For diatomaceous earth powder to kill bed bugs, you must apply it with a puffer. It needs to be such a fine mist that it just looks like you didn’t dust for a week. Earth powder is unsafe for our lungs; you should only puff it into wall voids, cracks, and crevices.

Beware that most people who put out DE spread it all over their floors, beds, and couches. Doing this is a health hazard and unsafe for your respiratory system.

Vacuuming

Bed bugs don’t like to be vacuumed up. However, using a vacuum cleaner for bed bugs is a very effective method for controlling bed bug infestations. You can use a bagged vacuum machine or bagless to get rid of bed bugs in your home.

Sucking up and removing as many bed bugs as possible saves you money and reduces the number of pesticides needed to eradicate them.

Always use a HEPA filter; this will ensure that any bugs sucked up inside the vacuum cleaner are trapped in the filter and cannot escape. Vacuuming can remove live bed bugs as well as their eggs.

Final Thoughts for What Do Bed Bugs Hate?

You can now rest assured knowing that there are certain things bed bugs hate. From the scent of tea tree oil to the application of blood orange oil, in studies, these pests will do whatever it takes to avoid contact with any of these things. Just remember that essential oils can worsen your bed bug problem. So please take caution. Be sure to keep your home free of clutter and clean up regularly to monitor and look for signs of an infestation.

Everything in this article is for educational purposes only. Please consult with a licensed pest professional before doing any DIY insect control.