Will Boric Acid Kill Bed Bugs? – What Other Methods Can You Use To Eliminate The Problem?

Last Updated on July 27, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

Yes, boric acid can kill bed bugs by dehydrating them and damaging their exoskeletons. However, it is not the most effective method for eliminating an infestation, and professional pest control is recommended for thorough eradication. Use boric acid with caution, keeping it away from children and pets due to its toxicity.

Can Boric Acid Kill Bed Bugs?

Yes, boric acid can kill bed bugs. When they come into contact with boric acid, it adheres to their bodies and acts as a desiccant, dehydrating and ultimately killing them. However, while it may be effective for some bed bugs, it may not eliminate the entire infestation. Professional pest control is recommended for more comprehensive eradication. Additionally, it’s crucial to use boric acid with caution and follow safety guidelines, as it can be toxic if ingested or inhaled.

What Is Boric Acid?

Boric acid is a chemical that, when added to other pesticides, becomes a powerful pest killer. This chemical is usually included in liquid baits, granules, and also liquid gels. For boric acid to work, the bedbugs or other pests need to be attracted to the bait and ingest it. 

Boric acid will only act as poison for bugs when mixed with baits such as proteins or sugar. These baits make the pests eat the boric acid hence dying. But, since it is almost impossible to have bed bugs eat anything but blood, it is of no use. Instead, you can use the chemical on cockroaches or ants. 

How Can You Use Boric Acid For Bed Bugs?

Boric acid cannot be used to effectively kill bed bugs, as earlier mentioned, but you can mix it with other pesticides and methods. You can try the following ways of using boric acid on these bugs; 

  • Place some boric acid powder around your bed’s legs to deter bed bugs. While this powder may kill a few or no bed bugs, they will not like the experience of carrying it on their legs. 
  • Dissolve some boric acid in warm water to make a solution and spray the carpet and mattress. Doing this will help create a layer of boric acid that will suffocate the bed bugs. You will then vacuum the treated surfaces to remove the unconscious or dead creatures. 
  • Spray the acid solution in and around any furniture that you suspect might be infested with bed bugs. You can use a steam cleaner or a regular vacuum to finish the bed bugs. 

Which Are The Safe Home Remedies For Killing Bed Bugs?

Although boric acid does not effectively kill bed bugs, there are other safe remedies to use. They include;

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a powder derived from the fossil remains of small aquatic organisms. It is a chemical-free substance that is effective for various pests, including bed bugs. This product kills pests by dehydrating them since it has properties that absorb oils and fats from the organisms. You can apply this powder around the infested area and then vacuum the dead bugs away. 

Although this substance may take a long (about ten days) before killing the bugs, it has a high success rate of more than 90%. You can also easily sprinkle it in crevices and cracks that could otherwise be difficult to get to. 

Before using this powder, it is advisable to wash your bedding in very hot water and thoroughly vacuum your home. You will then have to wear a mask when ready to sprinkle the powder since inhaling it could damage your lungs. Vacuum the powder after a few days and then repeat the procedure to ensure that you remove all the bugs, including the recently hatched ones. You can then follow the process for two weeks after a few days. 

Vacuum Cleaning

Besides cleaning your linens, fabrics, and mattress covers in hot water, you need to vacuum everything to help get rid of bed bug infestation. Vacuum all furniture, carpets, soft furnishings, mattresses, and box springs, as well as curtains. Bed bugs can hide anywhere, even in upholstered furniture and obscure places. You should vacuum all your rooms at least once per week and dispose of the vacuum bag to rid your home of the notorious creatures. 

Use Of Steam

Sometimes the bed bug infestation may not be eradicated by vacuuming. Some items cannot also withstand high temperatures for washing. In this case, you may use high heat to steam clean your entire place. Using this method helps kill both bed bugs and their eggs since none can endure the steam. 

According to scientists, bed bugs will die when exposed to high temperatures above 1400F. Steam cleaning also helps penetrate hard-to-reach areas such as corners, crevices, and tiny cracks. You can either purchase a small handheld steam cleaner with a strong vapor flow or hire the services of a professional cleaner to do the steam cleaning on your behalf. 

This device produces fog-like steam that helps to exterminate bed bugs instantly. It is preferable to use dry and not wet steam to avoid destroying your fabrics and soft furnishings. Dry steam is ideal for use on all furniture, mattresses, bedding, flooring, and cracks. 

Using Ginger, Cayenne Pepper, And Oregano Spray

A mixture of spicy cayenne and ginger combined with the strong smell of essential oregano oil is very potent in bed bug eradication. You will require one teaspoon of grated ginger, one teaspoon of cayenne pepper, one teaspoon of oregano essential oil, and one cup of water to prepare the homemade remedy. Follow the steps below;

  • Place some water in a pan on the stove, then add the grated ginger, oregano oil, and cayenne pepper. 
  • Leave the mixture to boil for at least seven minutes
  • Filter the solution and place it into a spray bottle, then spray around any bed bug-infested areas. Be sure to spray all rooms that are likely to have bugs, mattresses, as well as bed frames. You can repeat the procedure for a few days until the problem goes.

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda kills bed bugs by dehydrating them. You can apply a light layer of the powder in all infested areas around the home, the walls, doorways, and corners. Leave the baking soda to sit for a whole week, then use a vacuum cleaner to remove it. 

Peppermint Oil/Lavender Spray

While the floral aroma of lavender is associated with relaxation, calm, and soap, it can be used effectively to eradicate bed bugs. The lavender essential oil has been used to protect linens and clothes from insects such as moths for many centuries. Since it contains some insect-repelling properties, lavender oil makes an effective natural spray for eliminating bed bugs.

When peppermint and lavender oils are combined, they effectively kill insects. Lavender oil can kill both the eggs and larvae as well as repel the bed bugs. On the other hand, peppermint oil has strong repelling power, especially when used on exposed body parts. You can make this natural pesticide by filling a spray bottle with water, then adding about fifteen drops each of peppermint oil and lavender oil. 

Shake properly for the substances to mix, then spray every area of your home that is infested. You can repeat the process each day until all bed bugs are gone. 

Tee Tree Oil

Tee tree oil is known for its antifungal, antibiotic, antiseptic, and antiviral properties. It is not only excellent for inhibiting bacterial and viral infections, but it is also effective in killing insects and bed bugs due to its anti-parasitic properties. To use tee tree oil, you need to put about 20 drops of its pure form in a spray bottle and add water. Use the dilute oil to spray all infested areas such as mattresses, curtains, cabinets, walls, cushions, and all soft materials. 

Be sure to wash all the fabrics and linens in very hot water before spraying. You can repeat the process once every week until the problem is over. 

Use Of Black Walnut Tea

Black walnut tea also has antibacterial, insecticidal, antifungal, and repellent properties, which help eradicate bed bugs. Rather than dispose of your used black walnut tea bags, you can place them in strategic places in your home. Place the tea bags in corners, nooks, on your mattresses and beddings, and other infested areas. Doing this will help to eliminate both the bed bugs and their eggs.

Peppermint Leaves

Peppermint leaf oil provides a strong bug-repellent action that can help to get rid of bed bugs. You can crush enough dry mint leaves and spread them around infested areas. You will need to vacuum up the leaves once they lose their potency and replace them with new ones until the problem is gone. You may need to repeat the process once every week. 

Difference Between Boric Acid and Borax

Boric AcidBorax
Chemical Formula: H3BO3Chemical Formula: Na2B4O7·10H2O
Composition: It is a weak acidComposition: It is a salt of boric acid and sodium
1. Insecticide and Pest Control1. Household cleaner and laundry booster
2. Antiseptic and medicinal purposes2. Fire retardant
3. Eyewash and skincare product3. Fertilizer for plants
4. Flame retardant for certain materials4. Flux for welding
Toxicity: Can be toxic if ingested or inhaledToxicity: Low toxicity but can cause skin and eye irritation
Availability: Usually sold in powder or granular formAvailability: Typically sold as a white powder or crystals


While boric acid effectively eliminates various pests such as ants and roaches, its success rate in killing bed bugs is very low. For boric acid to be effective in killing bed bugs, they need to ingest it. But, since bed bugs feed on human blood, getting them to ingest boric acid may be quite challenging. 

Even if you use bait like with other pests, it is difficult for the bugs to eat them. So instead of wasting resources and time trying to kill bed bugs with boric acid, you can use other techniques mentioned above to get rid of the menace once and for all.