Does bug spray work on bedbugs?

Can you use bug spray on bed bugs?

A lot of people have standard insect repellent spray in their closet or garage for keeping mosquitos at bay. If you realize that you have a bed bug problem, it is all too easy to reach for some bug spray in your panic and desperation – but is it going to work?

Do bed bugs hate bug spray?

While some DEET-based insect sprays have also been reported to be repellent to bed bugs, the general feedback is that most insect repellent sprays don’t really work that well. Besides, spraying for bed bugs can make it worse, if you drive the bedbugs further into hiding rather than taking care of them up-front.

Insect repellent sprays are only designed for the specific pests listed on the product label. If bed bugs are not labelled, the spray is not going to have any significant effect on them. Furthermore, most of these repellents do just that – repel. They are not going to kill bedbugs, which is what you really want.

off bug spray for bedbugs
Spraying a circle around your bed with an insect repellent such as OFF is not going to keep bed bugs away.

It’s also worth mentioning that using products that are designed for outdoor use when you are indoors can be unsafe (and that using a product in a manner contrary to the manufacturers’ instructions may actually be breaking the law!) Insect repellents that you might spray onto your body during a hike may be too strong to spray indoors, where the wind cannot effectively dissipate the spray. You want to try to avoid inhaling these chemicals wherever possible.

What can you put on your skin to repel bed bugs?

The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) specifically mentions that “Currently there are no insect repellents registered for use against bed bugs that can be applied to human skin.” Generally speaking, most sprays are not that effective on bed bugs in general. Powders that you can apply to the areas where bedbugs traverse are usually a better option, because they will remain effective even after a spray-on treatment would have dried.

Our favorites are:

  • CimeXa Insecticide Dust kills pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs, as well as being effective against fleas, ticks, lice, cockroaches, ants, firebrats, silverfish and spiders.
  • Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary rock (a crushed up sediment of fossilized algae) that has a desiccating effect on most crawling insects with an exoskeleton.

You can read a comparison of the two here.

bug spray for bedbugs

Some people think about using mosquito repellent or DEET sprays to try and prevent bed bug bites, particularly when they are getting ready for bed. Mosquito repellents don’t work well against bedbugs. They are specifically designed for mosquitos and the other insects mentioned on the product labeling. And they do not kill any insects that well – even DEET – they only repel them. If you want to keep bedbugs out of your bed, you are better off using bedbug bed post interceptors, which isolate your bed from the floor.

Thank you for reading about using OFF insect repellent for bedbugs! Please refer to all manufacturer instructions and warnings when using a bed bug control product. This website is an independent resource. This site receives compensation from the Amazon Affiliates program, which allows us to run this site at no cost to you. Your purchase price and this review are NOT affected. This website receives NO compensation directly from the manufacturers of any product. We do not necessarily endorse any bed bug products that may appear on the 3rd party ads on this site, which will be clearly marked as such. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies or omissions, or any new information that has been released since the time of publication, or your actions taken as a result of any of these things. Content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for consulting with a professional. If you have any doubts about your ability to safely utilize any of these pest control methods, please consult a professional bed bug exterminator before attempting them. You can find a trusted local exterminator online. Read more about us here.

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