Can I kill bedbugs with garlic?
Garlic is frequently touted as a natural insect killer or repellent, and garlic extracts and oils are often used to repel common garden pests. But will it work on bedbugs? Unfortunately, this home remedy is most likely ineffective.
Chemical compounds released by a crushed garlic clove repel bed bugs. The scent of allicin, the compound that is produced when garlic is crushed or chopped, is highly disagreeable to bedbugs, and will cause them to avoid that area. But, garlic, garlic powder, or garlic juice spray will not kill bedbugs.
“To date there is limited research showing effectiveness of garlic insecticides.”
–Clemson Cooperative Extension Home & Garden Information Center
There is an urban myth floating around that if you eat garlic, bedbugs will not bite you. This is definitely false. Bedbugs will have no problem feasting on your blood even if you ate an entire clove of garlic raw.
It’s probably not even a good idea to try to use garlic to repel bedbugs, because you will just end up moving them from one section of your house to another. Once the smell of the garlic dissipates, they will come right back – and they will have had time to reproduce. Unless you want your house to constantly smell like garlic… you are better off finding a better way to kill bedbugs yourself.
Conclusion: While the aroma of garlic in your home may be unpleasant for a bedbug, it’s also unpleasant for humans. The amount of garlic, garlic powder, garlic extract, or garlic juice spray that you would have to apply to actually repel an entire bedbug infestation would be enormous – and you would never get the smell out of your house. Crushing a few cloves near your bed or boiling some in water is probably not going to do that much for you at all. Furthermore, it’s not going to kill the bedbugs, so as soon as the smell goes away… the bedbugs are back! All in all, we judge this home remedy for bedbugs to be entirely ineffective.
Instead, read our article on how to kill bedbugs without an exterminator
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