There are few things worse in life than having to deal with an infestation of bed bugs.
They can quickly destroy your sanity over just a few days, leaving you itchy, exhausted, and desperately seeking out the very quickest way to get rid of them. They’re simply a nightmare.
While there are plenty of chemical approaches out there, you’ll be forgiven for not wanting to blitz your bed with powder and liquid treatments, but then what other alternatives are out there?
The answer: lots.
There are a range of natural predators out there to bed bugs, so if you’ve already got some of these, or you want to introduce them into your household, they’re always an option.
Granted, you’re not going to want all of these in your home, but this is just a post of hard facts, so you know what options you have. Then, if you do see a natural predator in your home and you’re trying to win a war on bed bugs, you may want to think twice about getting rid of them.
It’s all about coming together to face the common enemy. Unfortunately, if you’re hoping your domesticated pet, either your cat or your dog, is going to be able to clean them up for you, you’re going to be left disappointed, but they’re not entirely useless.
Let’s jump straight into it to give you everything you need to know to let you decide for yourself.
Cats and Dogs Don’t Do the Job
As I said above, it would be amazing if cats, dogs, and other domesticated pets were able to assist in the war on bed bugs, but this simply isn’t the case. There are pretty much no species of cats or dogs that have bed bugs as part of their food chain, so don’t expect them even to show an infestation any attention.
Bed bugs are far too small to be worth their time. However, they aren’t entirely useless.
Dogs can be very helpful in locating a bed bug infestation in the first place, and simply out of interest they’ll be drawn to the movement and activity that an infestation can cause. That being said, they won’t help much further than this, which means you’ll need to be looking for another solution.
Friendly Spiders in Your Home
Some of us hate having spiders in our homes and are terrified of them, while others don’t seem to mind. Personally, I don’t mind them. If I see one sitting on a web in the corner of a room, I’ll mainly leave them be. If there’s a big one that moves in after the fields have been harvested, then yes, I’ll move him out with a jar and paper.
However, even if you’re scared of them, having spiders in your home can be beneficial.
This is because spiders are known to be solitary creatures that eat most household pests – flies, moths, insects, other spiders, and bed bugs included. Most house spiders, of course depending on where you are in the world, aren’t poisonous and won’t harm humans, nor will they bite or cause damage.
One species of spider, in particular, the Thanatus Flavidus, are exceptionally well equipped for hunting bed bugs and will leave you and other humans well alone. Long story short, if you have a few spiders in your home, don’t be in such a rush to get rid of them because they may have more of a positive effect than a negative one.
The Most Common Enemy – Cockroaches
Yes, having cockroaches in your home is not the nicest thing in the world (it’s actually one of the worst), and as soon as you see one, you’re probably looking out for the quickest way to get rid of them. But hold up.
While cockroaches tend to settle in places where there’s food, such as kitchens and pantries, you can still use them against bed bugs since they’re a natural predator.
While you’re not going to want to keep them around for long and you’re probably going to want to call pest control, if you move your mattress or sheets to near where you’ve seen cockroaches, you could use them to clear the infestation.
Cockroaches do tend to only live and breed in dirty places, such as sewers and drainpipes, basically wherever they find garbage and food to eat. If you have cockroaches, this is a clear indicator that you need to clean your home. If you have lots of bed bugs, this could be another reason why they’re moving in.
All in all, you don’t want cockroaches in your home because they bring disease and they can contaminate everything, especially your food. You’re going to want to get rid of them just as fast as you want to get rid of your bed bugs, so if you’ve got both; do yourself a favor and call pest control ASAP.
Creepy Crawly Centipedes
Do you know those creepy looking bugs with hundreds of legs that walk in a wave-like motion? Another bed bug enemy. Yup, centipedes may look creepy and like they’re from another world, but they’re actually very common in the US and in hotter parts of the world and are actually classed as arthropods, not insects like some of the other predators on this list.
Unlike other insects that may leave debris or webs throughout your home confessing their existence within your property, centipedes leave nothing, and you’re only going to know about them if you see them out and about looking for dinner. Talk about a clean house guest.
Obviously, you’re probably not going to want an infestation of centipedes in your home alongside the bed bugs, but centipedes should keep them under control. Be warned, nevertheless. Centipedes have also known to be dangerous and can have poisonous bites, so be careful around them.
If you have them, you’re probably going to want to get rid of these and the bed bugs together.
Ants – The Lesser of Two Evils?
I’m not a fan of bed bugs, and I’m not a fan of ants; both are as bad as each other.
However, ants are a natural predator of bed bugs, so I’m going to have to put them on this list. Then again, just like cockroaches, if you have both in your home, then you’re probably going to want to call in pest control.
There are lots of species of ants out there, but the main enemy against bed bugs is the Pharaoh ant species. These are light-yellow and brown ants that make them easy to recognize against your typical black ants. Be careful with these ants though because their reproductive rate is unparalleled.
Once a few Pharaoh ants are in your home, it’s very difficult to get them out again, and if you leave them unattended, they could be everywhere in no time at all, and you’ll be dealing with an infestation beyond anything you can imagine. These ants are also known for contaminating food and spreading health conditions like dysentery and salmonella, so you should aim to clear them as quickly as possible.
Argentine ants, imported European fire ants, and tropical fire ants are also known to eat bed bugs, although having these in your home will greatly depend on where you live. For example, tropical fire ants were only native to Australia, although human trade and migration mean they can be found in South America and other typically hot regions.
Dusty Dust Mites to the Rescue
Common house mites, also known as dust mites, are natural-born enemies to bed bugs, and the two have waged household wars on each other as long as time itself. Mites tend to inhabit similar areas to bed bugs, typically in sheets and duvets, and there’s lots of proof that mites feed off them.
Mites that feast on bed bugs tend to be the subclass Acari, and there’s not really much you can do to get rid of them. Every single home in the world, no matter how clean you try to be, will have dust mites of some kind, so you’ll just have to accept they’re there and helping.
Get Yourself a Gecko
Geckoes make fantastic pets if you’re willing to put the work in, but if you’re living with bed bugs, letting your gecko run rampant on them for a few hours could be ideal. Unlike the other natural predators we’ve been talking about, this is one you may actually want in your home by choice.
Geckoes are lizards that are known for eating all kinds of bugs, but they do have special living conditions. With a specific habitat necessary, which includes things like getting a tank with a light, special dressing on the floor, and maintaining the right temperature, you can’t just pick your gecko up and move it around wherever you like.
An Honourable Mention – Scorpions
Some of the other mentions you may be interested in come in the form of scorpions (here’s what attracts them to your home), specifically two types of scorpions known as wind scorpions and pseudoscorpions. Pseudoscorpions are actually known as ‘false scorpions’ and belong to the arachnid family, and there are over 3,000 species of them alone!
To summarize, yes, bed bugs have a ton of natural predators out there whom you could use to try and tackle an infestation in your home, but you’re probably not going to want these predators hanging around for too long.
My advice is to either call in a professional pest control service or get yourself some bed bug treatments online or in a pet and animal control store. The quicker you tackle an infestation, the easier it will be. So don’t hang around and let the bug situation escalate and get out of control.