Do Mothballs Really Kill Bed Bugs? With bed bug infestations on the rise, it’s no surprise that countless DIY remedies have emerged. One popular and highly debated solution involves using mothballs to kill these pesky intruders.

But do they really work, or is this just another myth perpetuated by desperate homeowners? In this blog post, we’ll set the record straight about mothballs and their effectiveness against bed bugs while providing proven methods for controlling these unwelcome guests.

Understanding Mothballs & Their Effectiveness Against Bed Bugs

Mothballs contain ingredients like naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, which are meant to repel insects but have shown no evidence of effectively killing or deterring bed bugs, according to scientific research.

Ingredients In Mothballs

Mothballs, a common sight in many households, are primarily composed of two active ingredients – naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene (PDCB). These chemicals come in small, solid balls that slowly release vapors over time. The primary purpose of mothballs is to protect clothing and other stored materials from damage caused by moths and other fabric-consuming pests.

However, while mothballs may be effective against certain insects like clothes moths and carpet beetles, they fall significantly short when it comes to treating bed bug infestations. Naphthalene and PDCB do not have the same impact on bed bugs as they do on other pests; in fact, studies show that even after a week’s exposure to mothball fumes, the majority of bed bugs remain unaffected. Unfortunately for those dealing with these pesky invaders, relying solely on mothballs as a treatment method will likely lead to disappointment rather than success.

How They Repel Insects

Mothballs contain naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, which are chemicals that release fumes to repel insects. However, these fumes are not effective against bed bugs. In fact, studies have shown that mothballs fail in killing bed bugs within a week of exposure. While they may work for other pests like moths and silverfish, it is best to avoid using mothballs as a remedy for bed bug infestations.

Instead of relying on ineffective methods like mothballs, it is important to use proven measures for controlling bed bugs such as heat treatments or professional extermination services. These can effectively eliminate bed bugs at all stages of their life cycle and prevent re-infestation. It’s also essential to properly inspect used furniture and clothing before bringing them into your home and regularly clean and declutter your living space to keep the infestation under control.

Scientific Evidence Against Mothballs As A Bed Bug Repellent

Despite their reputation as insect repellent, scientific evidence shows that mothballs are ineffective against bed bugs. This is because the active ingredients in mothballs, such as naphthalene or PDCB (paradichlorobenzene), work by releasing a gas that repels insects. However, bed bugs have been shown to be resistant to these chemicals and can survive exposure for up to a week.

In fact, using mothballs to kill bed bugs can even be dangerous as they emit toxic fumes that may harm humans and pets. Furthermore, due to their limited effectiveness, relying solely on mothballs for bed bug control can lead to further infestation and prolong treatment time.

Therefore, it is important to opt for effective bed bug control methods such as heat treatments or professional extermination rather than resorting to ineffective remedies like mothballs. By following proper prevention measures and seeking timely treatment options, you can effectively eliminate bed bugs from your home without putting yourself or others at risk.

Limitations & Potential Risks

While mothballs are marketed as insect repellents, they have limitations when it comes to bed bugs. Mothballs release a toxic gas that repels insects by suffocating them, but this method is only effective in closed and airtight spaces. Bed bugs can easily escape from areas where mothballs are placed since they can move through cracks and crevices. Additionally, using mothballs for bed bug control poses potential health risks, especially when used excessively or improperly.

Using ineffective remedies like mothballs may worsen your bed bug problem and expose you to harmful chemicals. Therefore, it’s essential to seek professional help or use effective DIY methods approved by experts instead of relying on unreliable myths surrounding bed bug control. Remember that early detection and treatment are crucial in preventing a full-blown infestation; therefore, do not hesitate to take necessary measures once you suspect an infestation.

White naphthalene balls in hand

Effective Bed Bug Control Methods

Effective bed bug control methods include heat treatments, vacuuming, steam cleaning, the use of pesticides and insecticides, and professional extermination. Read on to learn more about these methods and which ones are best for your situation.

Heat Treatments

Heat treatments are a highly effective method for eliminating bed bugs. This technique involves raising the temperature in a room or area to levels that are lethal to bed bugs, usually around 120°F. The heat penetrates everything from furniture and walls to bedding and clothing, killing all stages of bed bug development including eggs, which are normally resistant to most insecticides.

Professional exterminators often use heat treatments as part of their bed bug control methods because they have been proven to be effective. However, it’s possible for homeowners to perform heat treatments themselves using equipment like heaters or steamers designed specifically for this purpose. It’s important to note that improper use of such equipment can be dangerous and potentially cause fire hazards, so make sure you follow instructions carefully when attempting a DIY approach.

In conclusion, heat treatments should definitely be considered as one option when dealing with a bed bug infestation. It is an environmentally safe alternative pesticide-free treatment exclusively used by pest management professionals dedicated to eradicating these blood-sucking insects.

Vacuuming & Steam Cleaning

When it comes to bed bug control, regular vacuuming, and steam cleaning are two effective methods that can help eliminate these pesky bugs from your home. Bed bugs tend to hide in cracks and crevices, so using a powerful vacuum with strong suction can help remove them from hard-to-reach areas. Be sure to empty the vacuum bag or container outside of your home after each use to prevent any surviving bed bugs from re-infesting your space.

Steam cleaning is also an effective way to kill bed bugs by exposing them to high temperatures they cannot survive. Using a steamer on mattresses, furniture, and other infested items can penetrate deep into their hiding places and eradicate them for good. It’s important to note that while these methods are helpful in treating minor infestations, larger infestations may require professional extermination services for complete eradication.

Use Of Pesticides & Insecticides

Pesticides and insecticides are common options for dealing with bed bug infestations. Pyrethroids, a type of pesticide, are widely used in treating bed bugs as they paralyze the nervous system of insects upon contact. However, some bed bugs have developed resistance to pyrethroids, making them less effective. Insecticides containing neonicotinoids or desiccants can also be effective in killing bed bugs by disrupting their nervous system or drying out their bodies.

It’s important to note that pesticides and insecticides should only be used according to label instructions and with caution as they contain chemicals that can harm humans and pets if not handled properly. It’s best to seek advice from a pest control professional before using any chemical treatment on your own.

In addition to using pesticides and insecticides, it’s essential to use other methods like vacuuming, steam cleaning, heat treatments, or seeking professional extermination services. Combining different strategies is often more effective in controlling the infestation than relying solely on one method.

Bed Bugs Do’s And Don’ts

Do: Take early action and seek professional help if necessary. Properly dispose of infested items and regularly clean and declutter your home.

Don’t: Rely on ineffective remedies like mothballs, kerosene, vinegar, or baking soda to eliminate bed bugs as they have not been proven effective in bed bug control.

Dos: Early Detection & Treatment, Proper Disposal Of Infested Items

Early detection and treatment are crucial in preventing a bed bug infestation from spreading. Regularly inspect your bedding, mattress, and furniture for signs of bed bugs like blood spots or shed exoskeletons. If you suspect an infestation, seek professional help as soon as possible to prevent the problem from escalating.

Proper disposal of infested items is also important in controlling bed bug outbreaks. Seal any item that has been exposed to bed bugs in plastic bags before disposing of them to reduce the risk of spreading the pests. Items that cannot be salvaged should be destroyed or taken outside immediately. Remember not to donate or give away any items without properly treating them first.

Remember these dos when dealing with bed bugs: early detection can save you a lot of trouble and money down the road, while proper disposal will keep you from unknowingly sharing these pests with others who may not even know what they’re getting into!

Don’ts: Use Of Ineffective Remedies Like Mothballs

While it may be tempting to try DIY remedies like using mothballs to get rid of bed bugs, it is important to understand that this method simply does not work. Mothballs contain naphthalene or PDCB (paradichlorobenzene), which are designed to repel moths and other insects but have no effect on bed bugs. In fact, scientific evidence has shown that mothballs fail in killing bed bugs even after a week.

Instead of relying on ineffective remedies like mothballs, it is essential to use proven methods for bed bug control. This includes heat treatments, vacuuming and steam cleaning, use of pesticides and insecticides, and professional extermination services. By avoiding ineffective remedies like mothballs and opting for effective solutions instead, you can successfully eliminate your bed bug infestation without wasting time or money on failed attempts.

Tips To Prevent Bed Bugs

To prevent bed bugs, it’s important to properly inspect used furniture and clothing, seal cracks and crevices in walls and floors, use bed bug-proof mattress covers, regularly clean your home and avoid bringing infested items into your house. Keep reading for more effective ways to control bed bugs!

Properly Inspect Used Furniture & Clothing

One of the most common ways that bed bugs enter your home is through used furniture and clothing. To prevent this, it’s important to properly inspect any second-hand items before bringing them into your home. Start by thoroughly examining the item for any signs of bed bug activity, like reddish-brown stains or small black dots (fecal matter). Use a flashlight to check inside nooks and crannies where bed bugs like to hide.

If you’re buying used clothing, wash everything in hot water and dry it on high heat for at least 30 minutes. This will kill any bed bugs or eggs that may be hiding in the fabric. For larger items like furniture, consider treating them with a pesticide or using a professional extermination service before bringing them inside your home. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to avoiding a bed bug infestation!

Seal Cracks & Crevices In Walls And Floors

Sealing cracks and crevices in walls and floors is a crucial step in preventing bed bugs from infiltrating your home. Bed bugs can fit into spaces as small as the width of a credit card, so it’s important to seal up any potential entry points they could use to get inside. Use caulking or weatherstripping around windows, doors, and baseboards to keep bed bugs out.

Remember that bed bugs can also climb up walls and enter through electrical outlets or light switches. Consider installing special covers designed to prevent bed bug infestations on these items. Sealing off any potential hiding spots for bed bugs will significantly reduce their ability to invade your home and make it easier for you to detect their presence if they do manage to get inside.

Use Of Bed Bug-proof Mattress Covers & Encasements

One of the most effective ways to prevent bed bugs from infesting your mattress is by using bed bug-proof mattress covers and encasements. These protective coverings are made out of specially designed materials that are impenetrable to bed bugs. They function as a barrier between you and the pesky insects, keeping them from breeding, feeding, or hiding inside your mattress.

Bed bug-proof covers work in two ways: first, they trap any existing bed bugs inside the cover making it impossible for them to escape or feed on you; secondly, they keep new ones from crawling onto your mattress altogether. Reports indicate that well-made encasements can ensure up to 95% effectiveness against even highly resistant strains of bed bugs.

When shopping for a good quality mattress cover or encasement, check that it specifies “bed bug proof” rather than just “bed bug resistant.” Do make sure they have zippers with small teeth – this ensures that no gaps exist through which bedbugs can crawl into your bedding. With proper use and care (following instructions carefully), these durable covers can last upwards of 2 years before needing replacement.

Regularly Clean & Declutter Your Home

Regularly cleaning and decluttering your home is one of the most important steps for preventing bed bugs from infesting your living space. Bed bugs love to hide in cluttered areas such as piles of clothes or books, so it’s crucial to keep everything neat and organized. Start by thoroughly vacuuming carpets and upholstery, paying close attention to crevices where bed bugs like to lurk. Make sure you dispose of the vacuum bag outside your home immediately afterward.

Another way to stay ahead of a potential bed bug infestation is by regularly washing all linens, including sheets, pillowcases, and blankets in hot water. Heat kills bed bugs at all stages of their life cycle – eggs, nymphs, and adults – so it’s an effective way to eliminate any hidden pests that may be lurking in your bedding. Additionally, inspect second-hand furniture before bringing it into your home since this can be another route through which bedbugs enter a domestic area.

Finally maintaining good housekeeping practices after treating a recent infestation will help prevent its recurrence. Following professional treatment options like heat treatments or insecticide use, there are still some residual adults that would try establishing new places for breeding until they finally die out eventually over time. It’s therefore essential not only to treat but also to ensure you follow high hygiene standards with regular inspections just to make sure that these small insects do not establish themselves again.

By taking these simple steps regularly; you’ll be doing your part in keeping bed bugs at bay!


Don’t fall for the myth that mothballs can kill bed bugs. Despite popular belief, these tiny balls of naphthalene or PDCB won’t do a thing to eliminate these pesky insects.

So, ditch the DIY treatments and opt for effective bed bug control methods like heat treatment, vacuuming, and professional extermination. Remember to be diligent with prevention tips such as regularly cleaning and decluttering your home, inspecting used furniture and clothing properly, and sealing cracks in walls and floors. Don’t waste any more time on ineffective remedies – say goodbye to bed bugs once and for all!