Imagine this… you’re exhausted and in need of a decent night’s sleep.
You go to bed and get that perfect night of rest.
You wake up relaxed, refreshed and ready to dominate the new day.
Sound too good to be true?
This could be because you’re up all night worrying about bed bugs.
Far too often, bed bug problems are overlooked as a serious problem. They get compared to pests like spiders or mosquitoes, with the misconception that they go away on their own.
But, here’s the deal…
Whether you have brown marks across your bedding, red welts all over your body, or you’ve actually seen the little pests yourself…
Bed bugs can be a real nightmare.
They are especially a problem when left unchecked for an extended period of time.
In this guide we will discover some of the most popular and effective means to eradicate your bed bug problem.
One of which is the bed bug trap.
Do Bed Bug Traps Really Work?
Yes, bed bug traps do actually work.
However, bed bug traps are likely not the only line of defense against your problem.
If you aren’t sure if you have a bed bug infestation or not, a bed bug trap can answer that question for you.
These traps are an effective way to capture several bed bugs at once.
So, they are the perfect tool to monitor the situation effectively.
Benefits of Bed Bug Traps
- Using a trap will reduce the number of bugs and, therefore, the number of bites.
- Bed bug traps do not use pesticides to kill.
- Plastic traps can be used again and again so you will always have a trap available.
- You can use bed bug traps to monitor your bedding to avoid serious infestations.
Disadvantages of Bed Bug Traps
- Most bed bug traps do not catch bugs that come from your mattress. They focus on those that crawl on the floor.
- Bed bug traps that use glue or other adhesives will have to be replaced regularly.
- If the problem is serious…traps will NOT stop an infestation from spreading.
What is the Best Bed Bug Trap?
The best bed bug trap varies from case to case.
The best ones typically accomplish 2 things:
- They lure bed bugs out of their hiding place using heat or CO2.
- They either kill or immobilize bed bugs once exposed.
A recent study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology highlighted the effectiveness of these traps.
The study focused on the 2 main types of bed bugs:
- The Common Bed bug (Cimex lectularius)
- The Tropical Bed Bug (Cimex hemipterus)
They found that because tropical bed bugs secrete a sticky substance to help them climb, they can actually climb out of many common bed bug traps.
You’re probably wondering…
how do we recognize the difference between different types of bed bugs?
The bad news is… You can’t.
These 2 types of bed bugs are practically indistinguishable to the naked eye.
After all, bed bugs are already so tiny to begin with.
To make matters worse…
Although tropical bed bugs were originally introduced in more tropical locations throughout the U.S. such as Florida, they have since moved further inland.
For these reasons, it is important to try out a multiple traps at once.
Again, traps won’t be the only tool you use to eradicate the bed bugs, but using different traps helps determine the best solution.
(Through trial and error)
How Do You Draw Bed Bugs Out of Hiding?
Bed bug traps don’t persist through to the mattress and box spring…
(where bed bugs hang around)
So you will have to draw them out of hiding for the traps to work.
You are probably wondering… where do bed bugs hide besides the bed?
Bed bugs are tiny and flat, so they can hide almost anywhere.
The most common hiding places include:
- Inside the mattress and box spring.
- In or around the bed frame.
- In or around furniture.
- Carpet and curtains.
- Holes, cracks, and other dark crevices nearby.
Bed bugs come out of these places and bite you during sleep because they are attracted to your body heat.
According to Laboratory Medicine, bed bugs are naturally drawn to warmer places and places that emit CO2.
They are also attracted to human pheromones.
This makes certain remedies such as:
- Tea tree oil
- or Diatomaceous earth
largely ineffective products if you cannot reach bed bugs in their hiding places.
To draw them out of hiding, you need to take advantage of their desire for heat or CO2.
Here’s the thing… many traps and lures will actually have both features built right into them.
They will have a lure that warms up or emits CO2 that draws them towards the trap, and they will have an effective mechanism to keep them stuck.
Some people have even tried CO2 fumigation to eliminate their problem.
This does a few things…
For one, it improves the mobility of the bed bugs.
However, it also lures them towards a potentially dangerous environment and cuts off their supply of oxygen.
The Journal of Medical Entomology found that concentrations of CO2 greater than 30% could kill ALL bed bugs in an environment within 24 hours.
Although the bed bug traps won’t provide that high of a CO2 concentration, they will use CO2 or some other means to draw them out.
Then you can determine how serious the problem is and whether CO2 fumigation or some other means is an appropriate next step to killing bed bugs permanently.
Bed Bug Traps That Work
These traps are essentially serving as monitors.
So they can be placed in various locations around your bed to see where bed bugs are coming from.
Whether you make a trap yourself or buy one from the store…
You should follow these guidelines:
- Place the traps in areas where bed bugs crawl across such as near the bed frame, on a nearby windowsill, or close to holes in the wall.
- Set the trap and let it sit. Bed bugs are most active at night so you may have to wait 24 hours to check for results.
- If you are using a trap with adhesives, make sure you do check it regularly to ensure that the adhesive is still strong enough.
(Adhesives generally need to be replaced every 2 – 3 days.)
How to Use Bed Bug Traps
How to properly set the trap will depend on the type of trap that you buy.
The most popular bed bug traps include:
Bed Bug Interceptor Traps
Bed bug interceptor traps capture bed bugs before they get to you.
They are typically placed near the foot of your bed to capture the bed bugs coming from around the room.
These are plastic traps with an outer and inner wall that keeps bed bugs hostage but does not kill them.
These are the types of traps that are less effective on tropical bed bugs since they can easily climb back out.
Luckily the common bed bug cannot.
Lure (Pheromone) Traps
These traps are very similar to the interceptor traps, with 1 key difference.
These ‘Lure’ traps actively attract bed bugs towards them by emitting pheromones.
Bed bugs are naturally attracted to human pheromones and will confuse the scents ultimately leaving them trapped inside.
Some of these traps also come with an adhesive on the inside to keep bed bugs secured.
This makes for a more effective trap on tropical bed bugs.
How to Make a Trap For Bed Bugs
If you don’t have the time to run to the store and search for bed bug traps…
The good news is that you can make some yourself.
The below video provides concrete instructions on how to build your bed bug trap.
This is the perfect solution when you want a budget friendly solution to pest control.
But you’re probably wondering… do DIY bed bug traps work?
Yes.. if done correctly.
You can make a DIY bed bug trap if you have any of the following:
- Sugar and yeast
DIY Bed Bug Traps
Although they may not be as effective as professional bed bug traps, DIY traps can be a cheap and quick way to mitigate a bed bug infestation and identify the difference between insect species.
Sugar and Yeast
Remember, bed bugs are naturally attracted to CO2 among other things.
Combining sugar and yeast will produce low levels of CO2 emissions that can lure the bed bugs towards an interceptor trap.
First you need an interceptor trap. You can use one from the store or make one yourself.
Here’s how to make an interceptor trap:
1. Use a plate, bowl, or cup – turned over, the item must have a rim around the flat bottom which would be the center of the item.
2. Make sure that the bed bugs can crawl up the item
3. Line the rim with talcum powder or adhesives so that they cannot get back out once they cross the rim.
Once your trap is done…
In a large bowl or bucket combine 1.5 pounds of sugar, 1/3 pound of yeast, and 6 pints of warm water.
Mix the contents of the bowl for a few minutes. For the next 6-8 hours, the bucket will produce low levels of CO2 that will lure bed bugs towards it.
Place the bucket on top of one or more traps that will capture the bugs before they can climb all the way into the bucket.
Glue traps are pretty self explanatory. Bed bugs walk over the glue and get stuck.
The glue is placed in a thin sheet of paper or a napkin and placed in the same place as other traps.
The idea is that if bed bugs are crawling to get to your bed, they will have to crawl over the glue and get stuck.
Glue traps can be an easy means of detection if you suspect an infestation.
But, if the problem is serious, then glue traps may fill up quickly.
Plus, the glue will eventually dry out, so it is important to check them regularly.
Tape traps work similarly to glue traps. The adhesive is meant to capture the bed bugs as they approach your bed.
Tape traps are slightly less effective.
Bed bugs have an innate capacity to find the quickest way to their destination and will likely turn around if they encounter an obstacle such as tape.
Though tape can be placed in more nuanced locations such as along the bed frame or up the legs of the bed.
Where to Buy Bed Bug Traps
Nowadays, bed bug traps are easy to find online or at several in-store locations.
Any hardware store works.
With only a few clicks, you can sort through hundreds of traps online through various sellers or on Amazon.
Alternatively, you can check with Terminix, Orkin, or your local termite or pest control business.
They may offer solutions themselves or point you in the right direction.