Pest Resources

Does Boric Acid Kill Bed Bugs?


Bed bugs – they might be tiny, but they can be a real nuisance. If you’ve ever had bed bug infestations, you know just how difficult they are to treat.

If you ask people how to kill bed bugs, you will probably receive a long list of answers, including the use of Boric acid works to kill bed bugs.

But does boric acid really kill bed bugs, or is this just a myth?

What Is Boric Acid dust?

Boric acid is a weak acid crystalline derived from Borax. Boric acid is used as an antiseptic and for the production and manufacture of heat-resistant glass and enamels. See also boracic. Boric acid contains hydrogen, boron, and oxygen.

Boric acid occurs naturally in areas with volcanic activity and comes in the form of crystals or powder. Boric acid dust is known to have certain antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It has proven to be a helpful tool not only for medical purposes but also for pest extermination. But can boric acid dust kill bed bugs?

Does Boric Acid Kill Bed Bugs?

Boric acid is a relatively low-cost item at around $45. Boric acid powders are available in various sizes. Boric acid dust is the most common Boric acid treatment that kills other urban pests when it is used as bait for a pest infestation and is a preferable chemical candidate for them.

Since boric acid does a great job killing a long list of insects, it is natural to assume that Boric acid treatments will kill the common bed bug too. However, this is not precisely the case.

There are two ways of using Boric acid to kill insects, and that is to deliver Boric acid via contact with the white powder or ingestion.

Boric acid is mixed with sugary food as bait, and when other pests like german cockroaches eat boric acid, it destroys the digestive system.

It might be an effective bed bug control if bed bugs ingest the bed bug bait, but it would be extremely hard to make them do that.

Bed bugs feed on human blood with their piercing, sucking mouthparts, so the only way to make bed bug baits for controlling bed bugs would be to mix boric acid with some rabbit blood. If you ask us, there are much easier and less gory ways to kill bed bugs.

Are there any health risks associated with Boric acid?

Boric acid does not have any great dangers to humans. However, extreme exposure to Boric acid can cause nausea and vomiting in people who may be allergic to Boric acid. You must ensure you prevent ingestion by kids and pets.

The research found Boric acid must be ingested by bed bugs

North Carolina State University, on a bed bug baiting system, found that external boric acid exposure on fed bugs does not have a significant effect on bed bugs. However, Boric acid did have an effect on common German cockroaches and did not trigger resistance; exactly how Boric acid does its job stays a mystery.

It was found Bed bugs possess mechanisms that prevent boric acid from being absorbed.

Bed bugs were injected with one percent Boric acid in a single blood meal. The Boric acid ingestion killed them within four days.



How to use Boric acid to kill other insects

Mix one teaspoon of Boric acid with a cup of sugar. Add water to form a paste and apply in infested areas. You can use Boric acid for ants, beetles, and cockroaches. Boric acid damages their nervous system, digestive and exoskeleton.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Without Boric Acid

So if boric acid doesn’t kill bed bugs, what does fight bed bugs? Luckily, there are a number of other effective bed bug interventions that can cause bed bug mortality. Both naturally and with other chemicals. Keep in mind, however, that managing bed bugs is among the most difficult pests to get rid of, so arm yourself with patience. 

Step 1: Find All bed bug Infested Areas

Since bedbugs are such small household pests, 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 box springs, and other furniture or under the mattress tag.

Remember to check other areas in your home, not just the bed. To make this process easier, you can use a flashlight and a magnifying glass or call professional exterminators.

Step 2: Getting a Bed bug Infestation Under Control

Now that you know where the bed bugs are hiding, it’s time to exterminate the bed bugs. 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 finished, 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! Launder all the clothes, bed sheet, 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 also.

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 not be washed, we have some bad news – the only way to make sure you avoid re-infestation is to throw those pieces away or use a steam cleaner. 

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 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 eliminate them. If you’d like to avoid using chemicals, Heat treatment is highly effective and will expose all the infested items and areas to high temperatures, be it by washing bedding, leaving outside in the sun or in a hot car, or using a steamer or iron.

However, keep in mind that these methods will take a while to work (at least a couple of months), i.e., until all the remaining bedbugs and their eggs die.

Pest management professionals use heat treatments; it involves your property being heated to over 120 F and works without chemical pesticides.

Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is a powder that occurs naturally. Its surface is made up of crystals which will damage an insects exoskeleton when they walk over it. Diatomaceous earth will kill bed bugs when it is sprinkled on areas of bedbug infestations.

Baking soda is a common treatment for bed bugs and works in a similar way to Diatomaceous earth by causing dehydration when the bed bugs walk over it. Sprinkle Baking soda on carpets and around the bed frame, box spring, and baseboards.

Rubbing alcohol is used by some to kill bed bugs. However, it is highly flammable and should be used with extreme caution.

If you’d instead get it over with quickly and return to your daily routine, here are some things you can use:

  • Pyrethrins and pyrethroids – are the most common insecticides against bed bugs. They control pest infestations fast and aren’t toxic to mammals and people, but bugs can eventually develop a resistance to them. 

  • 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, they have a drying effect on a bed bug’s body, and they are effective in killing bedbugs. What’s more, they’re impossible to develop resistance to.

  • Plant oil products – if you want to eliminate 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 decide on, 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 the bed bugs have gone, it’s time to take some preventative measures and avoid similar infestations in the future. In short:



  • Don’t clutter your home with stuff you don’t really use, recycle any old magazines, cardboard boxes, and newspapers to prevent bed bugs.

  • Use bed bug interceptors to catch bed bugs before they climb up your furniture.

  • Wash clothing, clean floors, and vacuum carpets and curtains regularly.

  • Tighten electrical outlets, glue loose wallpaper, and seal all other crevices.

  • Check used furniture for bed bugs before bringing it inside the home.

  • If you are staying in a hotel, check the room carefully before you unpack. Bed bugs are very good at hitchhiking and will crawl onto your clothing and luggage and come home with you.

  • Purchase a mattress encasement to protect the mattress against bed bugs.

Do bed bugs transmit disease?

No, bed bugs are, thankfully, not known to transmit diseases.

Save Your Boric Acid for Other Purposes

Have you already bought boric acid and just found out that Boric acid won’t solve your bedbug problem?

Don’t worry; Boric acid is still very effective against many other insects, including termites, fire ants, flea larvae, silverfish, and especially German cockroaches.

And as far as your bed bug infestation goes, we hope you can successfully eliminate 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. 

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