Do Mosquito Repellents Work for Bed Bugs?

The truth about deet usage on bed bugs

Some research shows that the active ingredient in mosquito repellent has a repellent effect on bedbugs. The active ingredient in mosquito repellent is DEET, it is a synthetic chemical, and it has some important rules from the manufacturers about its safe usage. If the question is whether DEET prevents bedbugs from feeding on you, then the answer is very likely - no.

Bedbugs do not like DEET, and the research shows that they will avoid traveling over a surface that has DEET. Nothing in the research supports that the DEET will stop a hungry bug from crossing a DEET covered surface to feed

- Myth or Remedy
Using DEET will not prevent hungry bedbugs from feeding; it may reduce the attacks for a small period of time while the DEET is fresh but the evidence suggests that it breaks down quickly and loses the repellent effect as it changes. More important, the repellent effect was not shown to stop a hungry bedbug from feeding.

When consumers use an insect repellent, they do so with the expectation of protection. They want to come home from fishing with no bites as opposed to having fewer than expected. DEET does not shield users from bedbugs; hungry bugs will feed, and they will spread into new areas. 

- How Does DEET Work
There is no certainty, but some indirect species are blinded or disoriented by the presence of DEET. The effect on bedbugs seems less clear; researchers say that the bugs seem to prefer not to contact a DEET covered surface. The DEET surface does not stop them, and it does not prevent crossing the area. The bedbugs clearly prefer to take a path across an untreated surface.

- How Do Bedbugs Work?
Bedbugs smell the carbon dioxide in human breath and follow it to the source. Bedbugs are marvels; if we could make them do something that we wanted, then they would be a great asset. Because they just want to drink our blood, they are a great menace. They reproduce abundantly, can hide in the tiniest spaces, travel at will, and once established are very hard to remove.

Bedbugs pick out the rich and poor dwellings; they are truly equal opportunity pests. They do not like the standard bug repellents like DEET and the other DDT type repellents; they do not stop because of them. You would have to spray each one directly to kill them with standard bug sprays. 

The Solution-
The over-the-counter chemicals in bug sprays will not likely remove an infestation. The remarkable bed bug has developed resistance over the past 40 years. The bug sprays at the local hardware will not kill bedbugs anymore than an oil(spearmint, eucalyptus, or hairspray). You may cause the bedbugs to migrate to other areas beyond the bed or sleeping areas. If you have an infestation, you should call a professional. They can use a heat treatment to kill the adults, larvae, and eggs.