Camphor is a surprising remedy for eliminating many common household pests. There is a folk remedy that recommends using camphor and mothballs (also called naphthalene balls) to repel house flies. Simply infuse camphor and mothballs in a gallon of water by steeping the ingredients in water overnight. On the next day, filter out the mothballs and camphor out and fill up a clean spray bottle with the liquid. Spray this solution near trash cans, kitchen countertops, and house plants. The strong scent will repel the bugs away and keep houseflies out of your home.
The question on everyone’s minds (or at least on the minds of those folks battling bed bugs) is whether camphor balls kill bed bugs and how to use camphor oil to get rid of bed bugs. Let us find out.
What is camphor?
Camphor or cinnamomum camphora is a translucent or cloudy white substance obtained from trees native to China. It has a strong scent that makes it a beneficial ingredient in perfumes and soaps. In many Eastern countries, camphor is burnt in rooms to purify the air. Many cultures also use camphor during auspicious occasions. When placed in drawers and boxes, camphor repels moths and flies and when burnt in rooms, it eliminates mosquitoes and cleans, deodorizes, and freshens up the air. Camphor is obtained from the wood of a tree called the camphor laurel. It is obtained by distilling the wood and collecting the cloudy white substance that collects on the sides of large vats. It is then formed into pellets or distilled as oil and sold in bottles.
Is camphor toxic?
Camphor is toxic when ingested. The FDA states that 500 mg of camphor can cause serious toxicity in a child. In an 11% solution, this amount would be approximately equal to 4.6 ml. However, camphor is not toxic when burnt in the air or when used as a spray. In fact, camphor is a safe, eco-friendly, and environmentally safe way of getting rid of many household bugs like mosquitoes, chiggers, gnats, fruit flies, bed bugs, ants, roaches, book worms, silverfish, and other annoying pests that destroy property and harm pets and humans.
Can you use camphor oil to get rid of bed bugs?
Camphor oil can be used for repelling bed bugs. However, you must not apply camphor oil to the skin. Camphor oil can be absorbed by the skin where it can cause an allergic reaction as well as blood toxicity. Overdosing on camphor oil can cause nausea, vomiting, and even convulsions and palpitations. In order to use the camphor oil to repel bed bugs, you can add it to some rubbing alcohol or water and spray it around the bed. However, this is not an efficient way of getting rid of bed bugs using camphor.
How to use camphor to get rid of bed bugs
Sprinkling camphor powder in beds and boxspring
Follow the instructions given below to get rid of bed bugs using camphor powder:
- Vacuum the house thoroughly. This step is necessary to remove all of the visible bed bugs, their fecal matter, as well as their eggs and larvae and to prepare the rooms for the camphor treatment.
- De-clutter the area you will treat. This step will ensure that the bed bugs do not have hiding places to hide in once you sprinkle the camphor all around.
- Buy camphor pellets. You can readily get them in medical stores or grocery stores. Alternatively, you can buy camphor balls online.
- Crush these camphor pellets or camphor balls using a mortar pestle. You will need several camphor balls depending upon the number of rooms you want to treat.
- Liberally sprinkle crushed camphor powder all around the bed, in the box springs, and around the furniture.
- It is best to keep pets and kids away from the rooms that are being treated.
- Avoid sleeping in the rooms. Inhaling camphor vapors is not toxic, but it can irritate the lungs and its strong scent can be annoying to some people.
- Vacuum the house the next day.
- You will have to repeat the treatment every week until all of the bed bugs are destroyed.
Placing camphor balls in the closet to repel bed bugs
This is a fantastic remedy to repel bed bugs from the closet and cabinet drawers.
- Place camphor balls, tobacco leaves, whole cloves, and other strongly scented spices and herbs in a drawer next to your clothes.
- The strong scent will repel all kinds of bugs.
- You must ‘re-strengthen’ this camphor remedy every 3-4 months to keep it effective.
Using camphor in rugs and carpets
- Mix together equal quantities of pulverized borax, crushed camphor balls, and saltpeter (or potassium nitrate). Sprinkle this mixture under rugs and carpets, beneath furniture, behind paintings and frames, in drawers and trunks, under the bedding and mattresses to repel all kinds of bugs.
- Begin at the top of the house paying special attention to nooks and corners. Sprinkle a large quantity of this harmless powder inside cracks and crevices. End at the bottom of the house and soon you will be freed from the torment of bed bugs. The operation must be repeated every few weeks.
How to make non-toxic bed bug repellent using camphor
You can make your own bed bug repellent for the skin by using this safe and non-toxic recipe:
- Warm-up 2-3 tsp of coconut oil in a hot water bath.
- Add a pellet or two of camphor in the melted oil.
- Allow the camphor balls or pellets to steep in the oil overnight.
- Apply this fragrant coconut – camphor oil all over your legs, arms, and other exposed body parts to prevent bed bugs from biting you while sleeping.
- This oil is safe and non-toxic as it contains very little camphor. However, you must not use this remedy on a baby’s skin. Adults may safely apply this natural bed bug repellent on the skin to prevent bed bug bites.
Camphor does repel bed bugs but this is not the only method of bed bug management to rely upon. You must use an integrated pest management program, especially when you are battling a large infestation. Camphor oil can be toxic if ingested and it does get absorbed through the skin. So avoid using the oil on the body. You may use crushed camphor around the bed and box springs but make sure your pets won’t lick this powder.