Will Turpentine Kill Bed Bugs?

Sometimes we find a bed bug outbreak in an area of our homes that are not frequently used. These pests don’t just live in beds that are used but also in storage and old furniture that hasn’t been thrown out or given away. Calling in professionals to fumigate these spots can be expensive and may not really be worth it if there are other alternatives available. 

Key Points:

  • Turpentine can be used to effectively kill bed bugs but is not ideal due to its toxicity.
  • Natural ingredients such as black pepper, peppermint oil, and cinnamon can also be used to repel pests, including bed bugs.
  • Careful application of paint thinner can provide a means for killing bed bug eggs, but ventilation and safety must be taken into account.

In the old days, turpentine was used as a way to get rid of insects via its strong scent and the toxicity of the oils that kill bed bugs on contact. Like most things that were once done, we have learned that there are dangers associated with using products for their unintended purposes, but that doesn’t mean the idea isn’t worth looking into.

Let’s find out if turpentine can kill bed bugs and if you should use it even if it does. 

Will Bed Bugs Die from Turpentine?

16 Oz 100% Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine

Turpentine will kill bed bugs and stop a serious infestation very quickly. Within 5-10 minutes, a bed bug that had direct contact with paint thinner will die. For bad bed bug infestations in locations that are currently unoccupied, this can be an excellent bed bug control method.

In areas where people or pets are currently staying there, turpentine can still kill bed bugs but could pose health risks to the other inhabitants, even in a well-ventilated area. 

Since it only takes minutes for turpentine to kill bed bugs, it may seem like using turpentine for bed bugs is a good option, but its toxicity, noxious odors, and the period of time it takes for the toxins to fade make it more complicated than how well it kills bugs. Even though they will die from direct contact with turpentine, the solution is not a lasting method of bed bug control. 

Can Paint Thinner Be used to Eliminate Bed Bugs Safely?

There are very few ways to use any combination of turpentine and other insecticides safely. Regular turpentine has a strong odor that repels pests and kills on contact but will lead to headaches, dizziness, and health issues if a person or animal is exposed to it for too long.

A spray of a turpentine solution should never be used at night time, and if you will spray it in a room, only stay inside for the shortest time possible. It is better to avoid turpentine for bed bugs and find a safer extermination method instead. 

Natural Bed Bug Removal Methods

Scents like black pepper, peppermint oil, and cinnamon can all be used to repel pests, including bed bugs. Often making an area of your home unpleasant and uninhabitable for bed bugs can lead them to move on to other areas.

If you can keep them out of your yard and home, then eliminating a large beg bug infestation will not be necessary. Even though tree resin oils like the ones in turpentine paint thinner have been used to kill pests since ancient times, check out some of the alternative bed bug removal methods below. 

Essential OilsCan repel and often kill bugs on contact, with most being safe for humans and pets after they dry or evaporate if used in high concentrationsDilute essential oils in water and apply with a sprayer to infested areas to kill bed bugs and spray likely bed bug areas to prevent infestations from occurring in the future 
TrapsBed bug traps are consistently improving, and while they may not wipe out all the bed bugs in your home, they can stop them from biting you while you sleep and, over time, make the problem much more manageable Most traps go around the legs of the bed and use a partially climbable surface that turns unclimbable to drop bed bugs into a solution that kills or traps them
BaitsSome scents can lead bed bugs away from your furniture and to a place where they can more easily be dealt with Place bait in places near where bed bugs are nesting but far enough away that the treatment will not occur where you sleep or spend your time, then use any method of extermination you desire to get rid of a majority of the infestation safely
Biological ControlIf applied correctly and ingested or absorbed by the bed bugs, either their life cycle development or their ability to eat will be disrupted, leading to colony collapse and the death of all bed bugs in range Sprinkle or spray the biological insecticide selected for your type of infestation and then allow the appropriate amount of time for the poison to work, followed by a swift clean-up to remove any eggs or unaffected bugs 

Can Paint Thinner Kill Bug Eggs?

It is possible for paint thinner to kill bed bug eggs and completely eradicate these pests at any life-cycle stage. It will take plenty of turpentine to permeate deep enough to soak and cover all the eggs, so the effectiveness of eggs in hard-to-reach areas is far less than surface eggs.

Wiping a surface suspected of bed bug infestation with a cloth covered in turpentine can kill some of the population, and the smell can lead even more to leave.

In order to soak the eggs, a spray solution should be applied, and direct contact should be made with accurate applications. Avoid spraying paint thinner all over a room and focus on the areas with the highest concentration of bed bug eggs.

Make sure to ventilate the room well and leave for a safe amount of time until the stench of fumes and associated nausea have subsided. 

How to Use Turpentine as an Insecticide?

Turpentine has oils needed to kill pests, including bed bugs, but applying it and maintaining an even coverage that will kill pests for a bit of time can be difficult. The ingredients in paint thinner are highly volatile, making them quick to evaporate and highly flammable.

Mixing turpentine with paraffin can help it work better as an insecticide. Adding other essential oils that can help with absorption and longer effects can also be incorporated. Make sure to dilute the solution until it is easy to spray, and make sure to use proper protective gear.

If you do this, then turpentine can kill bed bugs and their eggs anywhere it is safe to use.