Does Boric Acid Kill Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs – they might be tiny, but they can be a real nuisance. If you’ve ever had a bed bug problem, you know just how difficult they are to get rid of. If you ask around how to kill bed bugs, you will probably receive a long list of answers, including a chemical called boric acid. But does boric acid kill bed bugs or is this just a myth?
What Is Boric Acid?
Boric acid is a chemical compound containing hydrogen, boron, and oxygen. It occurs naturally in areas with volcanic activity and comes in the form of crystals or powder. Boric acid is known to have certain antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It has proven to be a useful tool not only for medical purposes but also for pest extermination. But can boric acid kill bed bugs?
Does Boric Acid Kill Bed Bugs?
Since boric acid does a great job fighting a long list of insects, it is natural to assume that it kills bed bugs, too. However, this is not exactly the case. It might be effective if bed bugs ingest it, but it would be extremely hard to make them do that. Bed bugs feed on human blood, so the only way to bait them would be to mix boric acid with some blood. If you ask us, there are much easier and less gory ways to kill bed bugs.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Without Boric Acid
So if boric acid doesn’t kill bed bugs, what does? Luckily, there are a number of ways you can get rid of this annoying insect, both naturally and with chemicals. Keep in mind, however, that bed bugs are among the most difficult pests to get rid of, so arm yourself with patience.
Step 1: Find All Infested Areas
Since bedbugs are so small, it is easy for them to hide in spots we don’t notice. Check all the crevices and folds, such as between the mattress and the bed frame, the underside of the bed frame, or under the mattress tag. Remember to cover other areas in your home, not just the bed. To make this process easier, you can use a flashlight and a magnifying glass, or simply call professional exterminators.
Step 2: Getting Things Under Control
Now that you know where they’re hiding, it’s time to exterminate the bedbugs. The first thing you should do is to vacuum – try to get into every single corner and crevice to vacuum as many bugs as possible. After you’re done, don’t forget to take out the vacuum bag and throw it away – you don’t want all those bed bugs coming back.
Step 3: Containing the Problem
It’s time for detailing! Wash all the clothes, linen, cushions, and other fabric where you found bedbugs at the highest temperature setting right away. Then put them in the dryer at the highest setting as well. Put items that can’t be washed in plastic bags and seal them tightly. Keep them in a warm to hot place for a few months. If you own furniture that can’t be washed, we have some bad news – the only way to make sure you avoid re-infestation is to throw those pieces away.
Aside from washing items, there will be some tasks around the home you’ll have to take care of, too. The goal is to seal up or get rid of any places bed bugs might hide from the insecticide. This includes crevices between wallpapers and walls, tears on leather furniture, electrical outlets, items left under the bed, and so on. Seal them up or throw them away, but make sure not to move anything from an infested room to an un-infested one.
Step 4: Pick Your Weapon
There are a number of ways you can get rid of bedbugs. If you’d like to avoid using chemicals, expose all the infested objects and areas to high temperatures, be it by washing, leaving outside in the sun or in a hot car, or using a steamer or iron. However, keep in mind that this method will take a while (at least a couple of months), i.e. until all the remaining bedbugs and their eggs die.
If you’d rather get it over with quickly and return to your daily routine, here are some things you can use:
- Pyrethrins and pyrethroids – the most common insecticides against bed bugs. They act fast and aren’t toxic to mammals and people, but bugs can develop resistance.
- Pyrrole – the go-to chemical if the previous two don’t work. It doesn’t kill instantly, so give it some time to work its magic.
- Desiccants – you may know them as silica gels, but they are effective in killing bedbugs. What’s more, they’re impossible to develop resistance to.
- Plant oil products – if you want to get rid of bed bugs fast but are too worried about using chemicals, this is the middle ground.
- Bug bombs – effective at killing bed bugs and a bunch of other insects. However, they don’t do too great of a job at getting into nooks and crannies.
Depending on the solution you choose, the application will be different, but one task is the same – in the following weeks, regularly check all the infested areas to make sure there aren’t any survivors.
Step 5: Keeping the Bed Bugs Out
Now that getting rid of bedbugs is over with, it’s time to take some preventative measures and avoid similar scenarios in the future. In short:
- Don’t clutter your home with stuff you don’t really use
- Use bed bug interceptors to catch bed bugs before they climb up your furniture
- Wash, clean, and vacuum carpets and curtains regularly
- Tighten electrical outlets, glue loose wallpaper, and seal all other crevices.
Save Your Boric Acid for Other Purposes
Have you already bought boric acid and just found out that it won’t solve your bedbug problem? Don’t worry, this chemical is still very effective against other insects, including termites, fire ants, flea larvae, silverfish, and especially cockroaches. And as far as your bedbugs go, we hope you can successfully get rid of them once and for all using our simple tips!
Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively.