Mothballs have a deep history of being used for pest management and prevention. As their name suggests, they are widely used to prevent damage from moths such as clothes moths. They are small balls of chemical pesticide and deodorant, which people have also claimed to help with snakes, bats, rodents, silverfish, and bed bugs.
Many of these claims fall into the category of myth or old wives tale because mothballs have not been able to effectively treat much beyond moths and some mold due to their composition.
The common myth says that the unappealing smell from the chemicals used in mothballs will kill and repel bed bugs. However, mothballs can only partially protect an area where they are placed so they will not kill all bed bugs during an infestation. This is because their effect cannot permeate or reach all areas that a bed bug can hide. Additionally, the noxious or harmful odors are likely to disperse the bed bugs and push them to other areas in your room or other rooms altogether. This dispersion will allow for bed bugs to thrive in new areas as the infant nymph bed bugs and the unhatched eggs remain to spread the infestation.
The bed bugs disperse because of the same reason that mothballs can treat moth infestations. They are made up of harmful chemicals and most mothballs will contain either naphthalene or PDCB (paradichlorobenzene). You should also know that the active chemicals have changed over the years as the US Department of Health and Human Services has found different types of mothballs to be carcinogenic. As such, the current chemicals in mothballs are considered as poisons and the mothballs are considered a choking hazard for small children.
You should not try to treat bed bugs with mothballs because it’s ineffective and possibly harmful. There are safe methods that a pest professional can recommend and you should consult with them to find your most cost-effective method.
If you’d like to meet with our team today to learn about effective bed bug removal methods, give our office a call at (615) 257-0255 and schedule a consultation today.