Written by

David Floyd

David Floyd

Reviewed by

Brett Ehlert

Brett Ehlert

Using Tea Tree Oil For Bed Bugs – Does It Work?

Have you ever searched for ways to get rid of bed bugs at home? Google may have provided you with a long list of solutions, including the use of tea tree oil. Bed bugs can be a nuisance and a nightmare, but hiring a professional exterminator can be expensive. This is why many people turn to home remedies. Among the most popular is tea tree oil, which is known for repelling and killing bugs. However, does tea tree oil really work against bed bugs? The answer is yes, but only when in direct contact.

With my twenty years of pest control experience, I’ve always heard about the effectiveness of tea tree oil for bed bugs and other insects, but now is time to put it to the test!

What Is Tea Tree Oil?

The tea tree oil is an extract from an Australian plant known as the Melaleuca Alternifolia plant. Tea Tree oil has also worked against other household pests like mosquitoes, lice, cockroaches, and ants. Tea tree oil has several advantages, which are:

  • It’s comprised of hundreds of components and features an exciting camphor smell.
  • Though toxic when consumed, the oil has strong antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral qualities. 
  • It also helps to treat acne and insect bites.
  • Scientists are researching to determine whether the tree is an effective antimicrobial treatment. 
  • It’s a natural insect repellent.

Why Bed Bugs Are Such An Issue

Governments nearly eradicated bed bugs in developed countries, but they bounced back more populous than they ever were! What’s worse, today’s bed bugs are highly resistant to insecticides. Spraying them feels like a rain shower for them. 

They hide in the tiniest spaces, which reduces the effectiveness of many DIY remedies. The first question you will ask yourself after discovering an infestation in your home is, what is the best home remedy? 

There will also be some reasons you will want to handle the situation on your own and find a solution yourself. One reason is the cost of hiring a professional exterminator, and the other one is the dangerous and toxic chemicals that will change the scent of your home and remain for days. 

Does Tea Tree Oil Kill Bed Bugs?

Yes, tea tree oil has some insecticidal effects. However, it only works through direct contact. In high volume concentrates help eliminate bed bugs and destroy their eggs/larvae. 

Tea tree oil kills bedb ugs by soaking into their exoskeleton. Just like other insects, bed bugs don’t breathe using lungs. Instead of lungs, they have ducts leading to their exoskeleton. If the exoskeleton is blocked, it will lead to suffocation and the ultimate death of these evil creatures.

As much as the tea tree oil is effective, it only works when sprayed directly on the insect. The oil will kill every bed bug in its path, but it’s not entirely effective in eradicating all the bed bugs to turn your home bug-free. 

Bed bugs tend to hide in cracks along your walls, bed frame, and other furniture in your house. You’ll never be able to locate every single bed bug in your house and spray it. Although tea tree oil can kill these annoying bloodsuckers, it will not liberate your home entirely. 

Does Tea Tree Oil Repel Bed Bugs?

The essential oil is equipped with a powerful scent that scares bed bugs out of their hiding places. Other oils with the same effect include clove, peppermint, lavender, thyme, eucalyptus, and cinnamon. Although bed bugs don’t like it, it isn’t going to be your ultimate solution.

Even though the tree oil has some antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, the scent is unpleasant for insects. At least you and the bed bugs can agree that the smell is not appealing at all. But the bugs also don’t like lavender. Mixing tea tree oil with lavender, another essential oil that smells nicer, will help bring a more positive mood.

Make a concentrate of 50% oil and 50%, and apply it to your mattress. It will help keep bed bugs at bay and prevent those oops bites when trying to catch some sleep. Some can be painful enough to wake you up. That being said, most people won’t appreciate the smell, so I really wouldn’t recommend this DIY treatment. 

Scientific Proof that Tea Tree Oil Has An Effect On Bed Bugs

RSP journal found that tea tree oil can kill some insecticides, though not as effective as commercial insecticides. It concluded that to get rid of the entire infestation in your home, every bed bug must be killed since these insects from hell breed quite fast. 

Another study publishes in the journal, Insects, reviewed the EcoRaider spray, which contains tea tree oil and other essential oils. They found out that the spray was as effective as the commercial contact pesticides. 

Similar to using vinegar on bed bugs, they do have some positive impacts, but commercial treatments are going to be more effective.

Does Tea Tree Oil Effect Diminish When You Dilute It?

We have recommended above that you mix 50% of tea tree oil with 50% water in a container. Otherwise, it may have a severe impact on your health. Mix the concentrate with water in a spray bottle. You might be wondering, oil and water don’t bond. How can I make it possible?

Liquid dish soap works as a priest on the altar officiating a marriage. It’s an excellent choice to help oil and water mix. The alternatives are glycerine and alcohol. Make your choice. Do you want the bed bugs to die cleaned up or intoxicated?

Any Other Ways of Killing Bed Bugs?

Besides tea tree oil, some DIY solutions are popular to kill these tiny beings. In fact, you are likely to have the equipment needed to try these options. 

  1. Use a Vacuum Cleaner

Bed bugs are so disunited. They don’t live in hives or colonies like other insects. Therefore, eliminating these crooks is as easy as sucking them up, with your vacuum cleaner, of course. Vacuum your mattress, cracks on the walls. Keep the bag or canister somewhere safe to prevent escapes. 

  • Lavender and peppermint 

Lavender and peppermint are effective repellants, just like tea tree oil. The only difference is that these oils have pleasant smells. Dilute them and spray them on the affected areas. 

  • Freezing

Freezing kills bugs too, but it’s more time-consuming than the other options above. Freeze your garments or sheets below zero degrees Fahrenheit, and trust me, bed bugs are not Eskimos. They’ll freeze to death. 

Final Thoughts on Tea Tree Oil For Bed Bugs:

If any of these methods don’t work out, you’ll have no other alternative than to contact the experts. After addressing the issue, you will want to prevent another infestation. Use protective mattress covers, eliminate bed bug’s hiding spots by reducing clutter, and be careful when bringing objects to your home. That’s how you potentially invite these tiny disrespectful invaders to your home. 

David Floyd:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. David is Quality Pro certified and is a certified Structural Pest Control Operator in the state of North Carolina, and the owner of NCPestControlExperts pest control company.