Discovering that you have bed bugs is a hard issue to grapple with, but figuring out how to get rid of them can be even more difficult. The last thing you want is for bed bugs to stick around and keep biting you or your family at night, so you’ll want to get rid of them quickly. Searching for a way to do so may lead you to DIY and home remedies. One such remedy is spreading baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, in the areas where you think bed bugs have been. Unfortunately, the idea that baking soda will kill bed bugs is a myth.

How It (Supposedly) Works

There are three main reasons why DIYers suggest that baking soda is a deterrent for bed bugs.

It dries them out

  • The idea: Baking soda is highly absorptive, and it’s often used in conjunction with other cleaning products such as vinegar to scrub and thoroughly clean a surface. Given that it is known to easily absorb moisture, the idea behind this DIY technique is that it could suck up the fluids on a bed bug’s exoskeleton, dehydrating it and causing it to die.
  • The facts: Baking soda is definitely absorptive. However, it’s a solute that dissolves when it comes in contact with moisture. This means that it’s highly doubtful that it could absorb the moisture on a bed bug’s exoskeleton without dissolving and becoming useless.

It’s abrasive

  • The idea: Baking soda is a scouring agent for cleaning. DIY suggestions hold that because of its abrasiveness, baking soda is sharp enough to cut into a bed bug’s body and cause it enough injury that it dies. This is a similar line of thinking to using diatomaceous earth to kill an insect pest.
  • The facts: Baking soda is not abrasive enough to do much more than simply stick to the bed bug without causing much, if any, damage to its body.

Ingesting it is dangerous

  • The idea: Since it is an abrasive compound that absorbs moisture, the DIY goal is that a bed bug will not be able to digest it if it consumed it. Because of this, it would damage or rupture the bed bug’s internal organs and kill it.
  • The facts: Even if this were possible, a bed bug physically cannot (and would not) eat baking soda. Bed bugs feed on blood only, and their mouthparts are not big enough to even consume a grain of baking soda.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

The truth is that most home remedies will either not work to eradicate bed bugs or will not work thoroughly enough to completely get rid of them. Some suggest that washing bedding with high heat will kill them, as bed bugs hate high temperatures, but this will only get rid of bed bugs on your linens. It will not get rid of them at their source. Taking preventative measures to avoid bringing them home after traveling can also be helpful in keeping them away. But the only way to thoroughly end a bed bug infestation is to eradicate every single one of them professionally, or they will keep reproducing and biting.

Bed bugs are some of the hardiest insect pests that a homeowner can deal with. That’s why it’s always a good idea to contact the professionals first. Pest control technicians have access to and training in advanced methods that will get rid of your bed bugs at the source. We have over 75 years of experience doing this, so if you think you have a bed bug problem, give us a call today to schedule a free inspection!