How Effective Is Tea Tree Oil For Getting Rid Of Bed Bugs?

If you’ve taken a trip recently, or perhaps hosted guests in your home, and realized that somewhere, somehow, bed bugs invited themselves along for the stay as well, you’re probably in search for a remedy that works quickly. 

Lucky for you, we’re going to let you in on a natural pest control technique that will help you solve your bed bug issues quick, fast, and in a hurry (more importantly, before the issue grows larger!).

What is this miracle cure, you might ask? The answer; tea tree oil. 

In this article, you will learn the advantages of using tea tree in your household. Additionally, we will also teach you how to use it to keep those pesky bed bugs away. 

How Worried Should You Be About Bed Bugs?

Honestly, bed bugs are some of the worst pests that I’ve ever encountered. They are tiny, extremely good at hiding, and remaining undetected, and of course, even better at sucking blood. Furthermore, bed bugs are known to transmit several diseases through their bites, which is really scary (even if you aren’t the paranoid type). 

Bed bugs have a small tube-like part called “proboscis” that allows them to drink small  amounts of your blood practically undetected. And, one of the worst aspects in my opinion; these pests are most active during the night and early morning (basically when you are sleeping). 

The real issue lies in their bite. In fact, many people have even experienced severe reactions to bed bug bites. Here are some of the more serious symptoms that you should be aware of:

  • Blisters
  • Fever
  • Swollen tongue
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • difficulty breathing

What Exactly Is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil originally came from the Melaleuca alternifolia’s leaves, which is found exclusively in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Cultures around the world  use it as a traditional medicine to treat cough, colds, and skin disease.

Today, tea tree oil is widely available in every market worldwide. Several manufacturers offer 100% undiluted or “neat” oil that can kill viruses, fungi, and bacteria. Some people use it as a household cleaner and an insect repellent, too. 

If you are trying to look for an effective home remedy to kill those bed bugs on the internet, you will likely come across the tea tree oil. 

The Advantages Of Tea Tree Oil Against Bed Bugs

  • It can be used as an alternative to chemical repellent in protecting gardens and pets against insects.
  • It can be used to remove your pet’s ticks.
  • It can cure Athlete’s foot and toenail fungus.
  • It can fight acne.
  • It is an effective natural deodorant.
  • It can boost wound healing.
  • It is an all-purpose cleaner.

How Exactly Does Tea Tree Oil Work Against Bed Bugs?

Scientists from the Portuguese Journal RSP have examined tea tree oil in order to find out if it is a useful industrial insecticide. They divided some mosquitoes into several groups. One group is sprayed with water, two groups are sprayed with a BTI (industrial larvicide) with different concentrations, and the other three groups are sprayed with tea tree with different concentrations. 

After the procedure, the scientists found zero percent mortality in water, 100 percent mortality in industrial larvicide, and 78 percent mortality in tea tree oil. The result is impressive enough for since the insects are only exposed to this oil for 24 hours. If they have sprayed continuously, a 100 percent mortality rate can be achieved. 

A group of researchers in the Journal of Medical and Veterinary Entomology have examined the oil against crabwood (also known as andiroba).

The researchers gathered two different species of fly to test both products. Afterward, they separated the species into groups. One group is sprayed with 1 percent concentration, and the other group is sprayed with a 5 percent concentration.  

Afterward, the researchers have found that tea tree oil is the most effective. It killed 100% of species inside the group using the 5 percent concentration. 

In that case, researchers brought their study in the real world. They spray tea tree oils on Holstein cows to reduce the flies around it. After 24 hours, the insects around the cows decreased by 60 percent. Therefore, they concluded that tea tree oil is an effective way to repel any insect.

Why Do You Have to Use Tea Tree Oil for Bed Bugs?

Here are some of the notable reasons why tea tree oil is perfect for your bed bugs problem.

  • You might like its aroma. 
  • It is not harmful to your respiratory health compared to chemical insecticides in the market.
  • It is as effective as a chemical insecticide.

What Are The Cautions In Using Tea Tree Oil?

There are several benefits of using tea tree oil. However, some side effects can occur if you have misused it. Always remember that this oil is toxic, and it is not ideal for taking internally. Additionally, always make sure to follow all the safety guidelines. 

Keep in mind that you must know how to dilute it properly before applying it to your skin or mattresses. You are not allowed to put too much concentrated oil since it can be harmful if you inhale it for long periods.

Also, people with sensitive skin and asthma might experience irritation in having contact with this substance. It is also not safe for your pets if you sprayed too much. Studies have shown that 400 pets suffer tremors and other nervous system problems after they received 0.1 to 85 mL of concentrated oil, both orally and topically.

When Should You Avoid Tea Tree Oil?

Using tea tree oil when you have skin irritations like eczema might worsen your situation. People who have asthma should also avoid this product since inhaling the oil can worsen their symptoms.

You are not allowed to use this oil if you:

  • are pregnant
  • are breastfeeding
  • take prescription medications (antibiotics or maintenance)
  • have an underlying health condition

Steps For Eliminating Bed Bugs With Tea Tree Oil

Studies have shown that cows treated with particular essence oil have 61% fewer insects around compared to those cows who aren’t. Moreover, test-tube research has also demonstrated that this oil has a useful ability to repel mosquitoes compared to DEET. Therefore, if this oil worked with several insects, it is sure to work for your bed bugs, too!

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use this oil to eliminate bed bugs.

Before applying a few dabs of oil on to your mattresses, make sure that it is safe for you and the people around you.  

Step 1 – Test The Tea Tree Oil On your SKin

Place one to two drops of diluted oil in your forearm. It is the best area for testing since you cannot rub it easily. After applying, cover the area with a bandage and allow it to dry. If you feel any irritation or burn feeling, remove the bandage and wash your forearm thoroughly. 

If you noticed that you do not feel any irritation, it means that this oil is fine for your skin. However, keep in mind that higher concentrations might harm your skin. You can only use between 1%-5% concentrated oil, and you have to dilute it. 

Step 2 – Mix A Tea Tree OilSpray Solution

Like we said above, you should always stay on 1 percent to 5 percent concentrated oil. That said, If you notice that your bed bugs are sturdier, you can add another 5% of concentrated oil. Do not apply this oil alone. It can cause allergies and skin irritations.

However, keep in mind that mixing tea tree oil with water cannot work much. You can instead combine it with almond oil, citronella, crabwood, or neem oil.

Step 3 – Clean Your Home

We don’t want to sound like your mom, but our first tip is to get rid of all the mess in your room before starting with the real procedure. Bed bugs can stay in dark areas. It means that they are commonly hidden in or under:

  • furniture
  • picture frames
  • closets
  • curtains
  • under carpets
  • stuff toys and clothes

When you clean your room, you can manage to get those bed bugs exposed. If you notice that your stuff has bed bugs on or in it, do not move it on to another room. You have to put it in a bag and get rid of it. If you can laundry it, take it to your washing machine. Clean everything inside your room to make sure that all bed bugs around are found.

Step 4 – Carefully Inspect Furniture and Clothing

The next thing that you should do is to make sure that no bed bugs are hiding between those cracks and furniture. You must pull out and check your drawers, bed frames, and baseboards since they also like to hide in these areas.

Step 5 – Dismantle Your Bed To The Frame And Spray Everything

This step is a complicated process, but you have to do it to make sure that no bed bug will remain on your bed. Spray at any hidden crevices thoroughly since bed bugs usually lay their eggs here. Leave it outside and cover it with plastic so the oil can work more effectively.

The next day, double-check your bed. Look at every space. If you are still uncertain, you can go with another spray session.

Step 6 – Follow Up 

After you finished all the steps, it’s time to put your bed and furniture back to its rightful places. Spray some oil thoroughly to ensure that there’s no surviving bed bugs left. If you’ve successfully eradicated the issue, you’re now done. If not, simply repeat the above steps.

Final Thoughts

A proper tea tree oil mixture can effectively remedy bed bug infestations (of a reasonably small size). That said, If you are dealing with a more severe infestation of the little blood suckers, seek professional help immediately. While tea tree oil is a real and effective pest control method, it is not an end-all for larger scale issues.

Jordan Quinn Farkas
Jordan Quinn Farkas
Jordan is a full-time writer from his home in Southeast Europe. An avid outdoors-man and backpacker, he has gathered a plethora of tips and tricks for dealing with all sorts of pests.

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