Turpentine can kill bed bugs on contact because it contains rosin which can cause severe irritation and burns on insects. It also releases a sharp irritating odor that can repel bed bugs. Turpentine or paint thinner can also be mixed with paraffin when killing bugs.
Mix 10 ounces of turpentine with 5 ounces of paraffin. Then pour it in a spray bottle and douse it on the infested areas to kill bed bugs and their eggs. However, never use this if you plan to sleep in the same room. The fumes are toxic to humans and should never be inhaled overnight.
Do not use turpentine where you sleep because it produces a harmful gas if inhaled in large quantities. This can also affect your pets and should never be prayed in or around their bedding. This should only be used when the room is not in use for some time, (possibly 1 week or more).
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Will turpentine kill bed bug eggs?
Turpentine can burn and stop bed bug eggs from developing. Spray a combination of turpentine and paraffin in the ratio of 2:1 respectively. Drenched eggs covered with the turpentine solution will never hatch.
The female will also relocate in case they do not die and this will stop their spread. Avoid spraying turpentine for bed bugs at a distance since it will repel them. Meaning that they will simply move to other areas and this may worsen the situation.
Female bed bug eggs lay eggs where they know the young ones will have easy access to food. This is always done on beds, mattresses, and seats where there are high human activities. Eggs can also be laid on clothes if the bedroom is untidy.
Note that turpentine can remove the color from most clothes and should therefore be used with care. Generally, do not spray it on bed bug-infested clothes. It also has a smell that may remain in your wardrobes for months before it comes off.
How to get rid of bed bugs with turpentine
Since turpentine (paint thinner) evaporates fast, it should be used with precision. Simply spray it on the infested areas and give it time. If the bed bugs are well covered in it, they will drop dead after some time. It takes 5-10 minutes for turpentine to kill a single bed bug.
Turpentine repels bed bugs instantly because if they inhale it, the gas irritates and causes a burning sensation in them. This makes it an effective and efficient way to get rid of a serious infestation. It will also deter those that managed to hide.
If you have to use it in the bedroom, be specific to the infested area and use it in small amounts. Leave the window open throughout the day. Never use it at night around your sleeping area because those fumes can have a serious effect on you.
It has been observed that regular turpentine is stronger against bed bugs when compared to odorless ones. While low-odor paint thinner can also kill bugs, it will not repel them as fast as the regular ones with high odor.
The repelling effect can be a disadvantage. Bugs may run to different locations before they die and this can easily increase the infestations. Be careful not to use turpentine randomly. Identify the bug-infested area and drench them in it so that they are all eliminated.
Inspiration on how we used it
Actually, this article is inspired by a situation where a friend called in the rural areas of Georgia. She had a serious bed bug infestation but never wanted to destroy the house. It was all she had to remember her late grandparents.
Rural parts of Georgia in the United States of America are among the high bed bug infestation areas. So when we got to the area, there was limited access to pest control services. Lucky enough, there was plenty of turpentine and paraffin around.
We combined 1 liter of turpentine with 1/2 paraffin and prayed it on the highly infested areas. After 1 hour, we noticed most of the bugs dropping dead and the multiplication rate was also reduced significantly.
The house was not in use for a period of 1 month. The application procedure was done once a week. To our surprise, all the bed bugs were dead by the time we were done with the exercise. This was one of the biggest infestations we had ever witnessed but it was all under control.
Is it safe to use paint thinner for bed bugs?
Be warned that turpentine paint thinner can cause severe irritation and breathing problems if you remain exposed to it for a long time. If you plan you use it continuously, ensure the room is not used for at least 7 days. However, this duration should be longer depending on the quantities sprayed.
Remember that paint thinner is also grouped under flammable liquids and should never be used around active flames. Those who smoke around it should also be careful because turpentine can ignite at 30°C and this makes it a hazard. It can even burst into flames if exposed to 250°C or more.
It is therefore good to use it in a well-ventilated area where the windows can be opened for maximum ventilation. When using turpentine for bed bugs, move as close as possible to the target before spraying it in small but precise quantities.
Bed bugs live in wooden structures since they provide lots of cracks that they can hide in. However, never soak any bug-infested wood in turpentine while using it at home. Get a spray bottle and only use it in the necessary places. Turpentine can dissolve paint and finishing on wood thus leaving it with a faded effect.