The Secret Weapon That'll Make Bed Bugs A Thing Of The Past

The bed bug is a significant pest that has gained quite a bit of attention in recent years. That's in large part because this pest is becoming a more serious problem in the United States, thanks in part to increased international travel and the insects developing a higher resistance to certain types of pesticides, like DDT, which makes it harder to eliminate and control them. However, there are options you can use to control bed bugs with some effectiveness, including the use of citronella oil and candles. These pests are known to often become repulsed at the scent of citronella, driving them away from any areas where candles or products containing this substance are in use.

Finding the best way to get rid of bed bugs is important, as these insects are particularly loathsome. Even though these bugs are not known to carry or spread disease, they feed on the blood of people while we sleep. The bite can create itchy welts, which are annoying and can lead to a secondary infection on the skin. Even worse is the potential for anxiety and fear when you know you have a problem with bed bugs. Some people experience sleeplessness, nightmares, and avoidance behaviors when they believe these insects are present in the bedroom.

Consequently, homeowners will want to do anything possible to eliminate the dangers these pests create. In addition to helping to repel bed bugs, citronella seems to help with combatting a mouse or rat infestation, as well as with repelling mosquitoes, so it is a good all-around choice for pest control.

How to deploy citronella oils and candles to try to repel bed bugs

If you don't mind the smell that citronella candles generate, you can try burning them in areas where you are most likely to see bed bugs. For example, you may want to use them at night in your bedroom when these pests are most active. The smell of the candles may convince these insects to remain in their hiding places rather than looking to feed.

If you would like to use citronella oil to try to repel these bed bugs, you can mix the oil with some water and place it in a spray bottle. Then, apply the mixture in areas where you believe the pests are present. Spray it liberally to generate a strong enough citronella odor to keep the bed bugs at bay.

When applying the spray with oil or using candles, it's important to concentrate the citronella smell in areas where you'd expect the bed bugs to be present. They hide all around a bed, including in seams of mattresses and box springs. If there are cracks in the frame, they may hide there, too. They hide underneath outlet covers, behind baseboards, and behind wall hangings, too. They are tiny with extremely flat bodies, so it's easy for them to hide in very narrow spaces.

Why citronella oil and candles seem to repel and control bed bugs

Studies from Rutgers University and Purdue University examined how essential oils affect pests like bed bugs. The universities chose to study essential oils because they are naturally derived products that are safer to use inside homes and around people and pets than what an exterminator may use. "Since bed bugs are found on beds and sofas, people want chemicals that are safe for humans. You cannot spray most of the currently available insecticides directly on your infested furniture," says Ameya Gondhalekar of Purdue University. The studies found that a few different naturally derived chemicals were effective at repelling and killing bed bugs, including citronella essential oil derived from lemongrass plants.

It's believed that the scent of the citronella interferes with the pheromones that bed bugs use to help them find hosts to feed on and to communicate with each other, causing them to remain in hiding. If you are using citronella oil to attempt to battle bed bugs, you may be able to kill them and destroy their eggs by spraying a highly concentrated citronella mixture directly onto them. It also appears to work as a fumigant, driving them away from areas where the oil is present.