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There are so many natural bedbug sprays on the market that it can be overwhelming trying to pick one. You’re looking for a quick and effective solution, but you also want to make sure it’s safe to use around your home, children, and pets.
So, in this post, we’re going to examine the different natural sprays to determine which is the best bedbug spray for you to buy.
Most natural bedbug sprays are made from essential oils like peppermint, rosemary, cedar oil, citronella. These essential oils have pest-killing abilities if used in high concentrations.
These natural sprays also typically contain some detergents (yep, things like soap and washing-up liquid).
These ingredients are considered safe to use around the house and environmentally friendly as they’re derived from plants or other natural substances. Plus, most of us fragrance our homes already with essential oils (they’re in everything from perfumes to scented candles) and most of us (I hope) already use soaps and detergents. So, we’re pretty confident that these “chemicals” are pretty safe to use since we’re ok with putting them on our skin already.
What’s different in each brand of bedbug spray is the concentration of essential oils and detergents or other chemicals and also exactly which essential oil or detergent is used. Each bed bug spray has its own formulation, which they claim to be more effective at controlling and getting rid of bed bugs than their competitors.
In general, some essential oils are likely to be more effective at killing bed bugs than others and the higher the concentration, the better they’ll be at killing off bed bugs and other pests. There are other non-active ingredients in the sprays, and it’s possible that they actually make one spray more effective at getting rid of bed bugs than another as well.
As I already pointed out, it’s a nightmare trying to figure out which non-toxic bed bug spray is the best. In fact, if you’re looking on Amazon, you’ll see that most of the brands have both good and bad reviews. Some reviewers say the spray works miracles and killed all the bed bugs immediately whereas other reviewers say the product is a scam and doesn’t work in the least.
According to Amazon.com, the best seller in the “Pest Control Foggers” category is the Eco Defense Bed Bug Killer. And if you look through the 1500 reviews that they have, you’ll find reviews describing the spray as “AMAZING” and “Bed Bug Killer for real.” But you’ll also find plenty of reviews stating the product had “no effect on bedbugs” or “does not work.” One negative review even described it as “water in a bottle!”
So, how are you supposed to pick which one to buy?
In 2014, the Department of Entomology from Rutgers University in New Jersey conducted a study of nine essential oil-based products and two detergents. This study was published in Entomological Society of America’s Journal.
They tested these 11 natural or less-toxic bedbug sprays against 2 conventional insecticides. All 13 products tested were freely available on the market to purchase.
Here are the 13 brands they tested:
The experiment tested the 13 brands on two different strains of bed bugs. Just like viruses, bed bugs have different strains, and some bed bug strains could be resistant to some of the ingredients in the sprays. They measured how many of the live bed bugs were killed by each spray.
They then also tested the efficacy of the bed bug sprays on bed bug eggs. And if you’ve read any of our other articles before (like this one on all the different methods you can use to kill bed bugs), then you’ll know that we really rant about the importance of making sure bed bug eggs and nymphs are killed in addition to live bed bugs that you can see. That way, new bed bugs won’t be born to haunt you again.
What the researchers found was really quite shocking…
“Most of the evaluated natural insecticides failed to cause high mortality (i.e., 80%) to bed bugs as a direct spray.”
What that means is that most of the natural bed bug spray brands out on the market do not kill even 80% of your bed bugs even when the spray is sprayed directly onto the bed bugs. So those sprays will have practically zero impact on killing the bed bugs you didn’t even spot under your bed or in your mattress.
Not so fast…
The researchers did find 2 natural products that were fairly effective at killing bed bugs although not as effective as the conventional insecticides.
The study stated that:
“EcoRaider and Bed Bug Patrol showed promise as a direct spray for controlling mobile stages of bed bugs.”
In fact, the study found that EcoRaider was more effective at killing bed bug eggs than even one of the conventional insecticides.
And what’s even better is that EcoRaider was effective up to 14 days later. The dry residue from the spray on fabric still had bed bug killing power.
The study found that conventional insecticide is faster at killing bedbugs than the natural bed bug sprays. And the natural bed bug sprays didn’t repel bed bugs if people are close by. So spraying them on your bed sheets and then going to bed on those sheets may still get your some bed bug bites during the night.
And you may have to use more natural bed bug spray than it tells you on the bottle to see even the same effectiveness as that found in the study.
One last point – some natural bed bug sprays (like the Stop Bugging Me! All Natural Safe Spray) killed less than 20% of bed bugs that the spray was used directly on. So, the lesson is definitely that not all natural bedbug sprays are created equal!
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