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Can You Use Mothballs for Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs make people desperate. 

So, anyone who has them will be looking for anything that could potentially get rid of them. 

Unfortunately, though, you can not use mothballs for bed bugs. Mothballs do not repel or kill bed bugs, even if you put them right where the bed bug colony lives. Moth flakes also do not affect bed bugs. 

Will Mothballs Do Anything to Bed Bugs?

Close-up photo of mothballs on a sackcloth.

In short, mothballs and moth flakes will not affect bed bugs in any way. 

These products do not repel, harm, or kill bed bugs. 

Even if you place the mothballs directly where the bed bug colony lives, they will not be bothered by them at all. 

Also, mothballs are poisonous because they contain either naphthalene or PDCB, making them dangerous to leave around your home. 

Mothballs could also potentially choke children if they put them in their mouths. 

Thus, using mothballs for your bed bug infestation is not a good idea. 

Other Popular Bed Bug Solutions That Don’t Work 

Since bed bugs have been a problem for centuries, people have come up with all kinds of ways to get rid of them. 

However, many of these remedies do little or nothing to repel or kill bed bugs. 


People have used kerosene to get rid of bed bugs for more than a century, but it would be best to leave this practice in the past. 

I mean, yes, kerosene will kill bed bugs. 

But, there are lots of downsides to treating a bed bug infestation with kerosene. 

For one, kerosene is pretty toxic and can lead to plenty of adverse health effects in humans. 

Additionally, kerosene is a flammable liquid that could easily cause a fire in your home. 

Kerosene also has a pungent smell similar to diesel fuel, which will quickly stink up your whole house, and you’ll have a hard time getting rid of it. 

Furthermore, because kerosene is such a harsh chemical, the bed bugs will run from it, spreading the colony to new places in your home. 

Boric Acid 

Boric acid is a popular bug killer, and it works well on cockroaches, termites, ants, and fleas. 

But, boric acid won’t kill bed bugs. 

Basically, boric acid kills insects when they eat it. 

And bed bugs will die if they consume boric acid, but the problem is that they won’t do so. 

Bed bugs only eat human blood, so it will be impossible for you to get them to consume the boric acid. 

Plus, boric acid can harm people. 

Therefore, you don’t want it in your house unless you must use it. 

Bug Bombs 

Bug bombs will do very little to kill bed bugs. 

Bug bombs work by spraying a poisonous mist that settles on surfaces in a room. 

Then, when the bugs walk over these surfaces, they die. 

But, bug bombs don’t really work on bed bugs because bed bugs stay hidden, usually inside or underneath mattresses. 

Thus, bug bombs won’t do much to eradicate bed bugs because most of the bed bugs won’t touch the mist. 

Hair Dryers

When people hear that heat kills bed bugs, they start wondering if a hair dryer will do the trick. 

Well, unfortunately, it is practically impossible to kill bed bugs with a hair dryer

Although hair dryers do get hot enough to kill bed bugs, you would need to leave the hair dryer on the insects for about 20-30 minutes to kill them. 

And since the bed bugs will run as soon as they feel the heat, you’ll be lucky to kill even one with a hair dryer. 

Throwing Out the Mattress 

Since bed bugs primarily live in mattresses, many people think they can just throw out their infested mattress, and their problem will disappear. 

However, trashing your mattress won’t do much to solve your issue and can even worsen it. 

One of the reasons just throwing out your mattress won’t get rid of the insects is that bed bugs don’t only live in the mattress. 

If you find bed bugs in your mattress, there are almost certainly parts of the colony in your baseboards, walls, bed frame, and other parts of the room. 

So, as soon as you bring a new mattress in, they will begin to infest it. 

Additionally, moving a mattress isn’t as simple as taking some clothes out of the room. 

Thus, when you pick up your mattress and boxspring and move them through your house, it is pretty much guaranteed that the bugs will fall off and swarm other parts of your home. 

What Are the Best Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

A bottle of anti-bed bug spray in the bedroom.

There are three proven methods to eliminate bed bugs, and many people have to use all of them to get rid of their problem. 

1) Wash and Dry Infected Items

Did you know that both the washing machine and dryer kill bed bugs when you set them to the highest heat setting?

Well, they totally do, and washing and drying infested bedding and clothes can really help get rid of bed bugs. 

However, remember that this method will not work by itself, so you will need to pair it with one or both of the other options below. 

2) Use Insecticides With Pyrethrins or Pyrethroids 

Pyrethrins and pyrethroids are the two chemicals that do the best job of getting rid of bed bugs. 

Insecticides with these chemicals kill bed bugs by damaging their nervous systems so that they can no longer move and quickly die. 

But, you should be aware that some bed bugs have built up a tolerance to these chemicals, meaning they may not be as effective on them. 

3) Have a Heat Treatment Done

Performing a heat treatment is one of the best ways to kill bed bugs. 

These treatments work by heating the entire house to 118°F (48°C) or above for at least an hour, which will cause the bed bugs to dry out and die. 

The problem with this treatment, though, is that only professionals should attempt it because they have the equipment to ensure every inch of the house gets to the correct temperature. 


In conclusion, mothballs and moth flakes do nothing to bed bugs. 

Instead, you should use treatments that definitely work to ensure you don’t waste any time or money.