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Does alcohol kill bed bugs?

A bed bug infestation can easily turn your home from a sweet comfortable sanctuary into a place of misery. Unfortunately, Bed Bugs are increasingly becoming resistant to common pesticides. Consequently, their number has dramatically grown in the previous years to scary levels.

Your best bet when it comes to maintaining a home free of bed bugs is by early prevention. Now, there are numerous ways of eliminating or keeping bed bugs at bay. Most of them are commercially available pesticides that you can buy at your local drugstore. However, most of them are filled with harmful chemicals that may wreck havoc on your overall health. Additionally, using these chemicals means that you have to stay out from your house for extended hours waiting for the re-entry period to elapse.

For this reason, scientist and homeowners have investigated and developed more friendly methods of getting rid of bugs. One of these methods is the use rubbing Alcohol, Isopropyl or ethanol. There are many alcohol containing sprays on the market that are designed to control bed bugs for good. But the most immediate question right now is, does alcohol kill bed bugs?

Using 91% alcohol as well as 70% Isopropyl alcohol-based sprays has been shown to effectively get rid of serious bed bug infestations. While the above two can effectively do the trick, entomologists recommend the use of higher concentrations of Isopropyl alcohol when dealing with bed bugs.

As far as the safety of using alcohol-based sprays is concerned, you need to take into account the flammability of these sprays. Alcohol-based sprays are very flammable and whenever used, owners of the house should always be informed. In addition, alcohol can be highly abrasive on fabrics and surfaces, so you may want to be a little careful when dealing with it.

Why is alcohol effective in killing bed bugs?

There are many reasons while Alcohol works in getting rid of bed bugs. It has several modes of action that take advantage of the vulnerabilities of the bugs’ bodies. So if you are still wondering, does alcohol kill bed bugs? And how does that happen? Read on. Below are some of the reasons why alcohol will work on getting rid of these nasty crawlers.

a. Bed bugs have a sensitive skin

One of the things you should understand is that bed bugs might seem tough but they actually have a very sensitive skin. This is why they often die almost immediately after exposure to alcohol. The alcohol, however, needs to be in very high concentrations and sprayed directly on the bugs. Low alcohol concentration below 70% will require repeated applications for several days to create significant damage on their skins.

bed bug on sheets
Bed Bug

b. Alcohol can burn the organs of a bed bug

Alcohol is quite dangerous to most organs of the bed bug. When it gets in contact with the internal organs, it scorches them and messes up with the general physiology of their body. It also destabilizes the pH of the bug causing disruption in fluid flow. For this reasons, you can easily kill bed bugs by exposing them to a fair amount of alcohol. This also makes alcohol the safest method to kill bed bugs without damaging the environment.

c. Alcohol is toxic to the bed bugs’ eggs

The power of multiplication of bed bugs lies in their ability to lay hundreds of eggs at a time. Alcohol is a toxic compound to bed bugs’ eggs and therefore learning how to use alcohol to attack the eggs can help you prevent the multiplication of these pesky bugs. By attacking the eggs before they even hatch, you can completely eradicate bed bugs in your home.

How to use alcohol to in controlling bed bugs

Being a natural and safe product, there are many ways through which you can use alcohol to get rid of bed bugs. If you haven’t noticed yet, you interact with alcohol in your household every day. It’s all in our toiletries, makeup, detergents, disinfectants and so on. So this means that you can rest assured of your health and safety when using alcohol as a homemade insecticide. So how do you use alcohol in the control of bed bugs? Three main ways, i.e.

a. As an alcohol spray

The simplest way to use alcohol as a bed bug insecticide is by making an alcohol-based spray. If you have high infestations, dilute 90% of alcohol in a handheld spray can and spray around the infected areas and on infected items. In affected rooms, for instance, your bedroom, remove all your beddings and set them aside within your bedroom. Spray the solution on the entire frame of your bed, targeting mostly the joints and crevices. Do the same with all your clothing cabinets and makeup cabinets, and finally finish with a fine mist covering the entire mattress, emphasizing on the sides and corners.

You will require repeated applications each week for 3 to 4 weeks, each time targeting the hiding spots and monitoring their occurrences. Directly spray on the eggs that can sometimes be easily spotted in the joints of furniture items and wall crevices. For preventative measures, apply 70% of the spray in their potential hiding places once I per month.

b. Clean your beddings with alcohol

This is more of a preventive measure than a curative method. Ideally, washing your beddings more frequently with a strong detergent can help kill any eggs that may be hiding on them. Adding alcohol in your washing solution can further help you kill the eggs and repel the adult bed bugs away from your bed. If you think your clothes might be infested too, you can occasionally add a few drops in your washing solution when doing your laundry. Just be careful with the fabrics that are sensitive to alcohol.

c. Rub alcohol on your items

If spraying or washing your beddings with alcohol doesn’t work for you, or if you just need a little extra precaution, rubbing your items with alcohol is another way to go. You can easily make your own 70% rubbing alcohol at home or go for the commercially available versions. The good thing with the commercial rubbing alcohol is that it comes with essential oils which make it last longer on the items. So you can rub alcohol in furniture, beddings, clothing, décor, carpets and so on to repel the bugs away from your house.

Conclusion

So, does alcohol kill bed bugs? From the above literature, yes it does. However, if you are not sure about formulating your own homemade sprays, it might be a good idea to go for the commercially available options in the market. Like many natural and safe pesticides, it can be quite hard to control serious bed bug infestations with just one application. In which case, you might want to make several applications over time to increase the effectiveness. It’s also a good idea to start the application as soon as you notice any sign of a single bug or egg within your living space.

Finally, I must mention that alcohol might be a bit slow to act in the event of an overwhelming bed bug infestation. In this case, call in the help of a professional pest exterminator. You can go ahead and request if they have organic pesticides which are much safer and just as effective.

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