How Bed Bug Traps

The Best Bed Bug Traps

While bed bugs can often be hard to spot, there are ways to fight back. Learn which bed bug traps work best and what to do once you’ve trapped them.

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that, if they enter your home, pose a definite threat to you and your family’s well-being. Worse,bed bugsare often extremely difficult—and expensive—to eliminate. However, while bed bugs are resistant to many commercial, over-the-counter pesticides, some can be contained (though not eradicated) using bed bug traps.

These DIY tips for trapping bed bugs can help you take immediate steps to intercept some of these insects and save you and your family some discomfort until a professional arrives.

Use interceptor cups on furniture that may be infested with bed bugs.

Unless they are feeding, bed bugs like to remain hidden from view. Unfortunately, bed bugs are attracted by the carbon dioxide you exhale while sleeping.

Interceptor cups are designed to trap bed bugs while they’re moving from their hiding places to their food source. The cups work on the principle that bed bugs can effectively move over rough or textured surfaces but are helpless to climb smooth surfaces. The cups consist of a smaller inner container and a larger outer container. Bed bugs are able to enter these traps (either from the infested bed or from their hiding places in walls, floors and other areas of the home) but are unable to escape them. By placing a trap under each bedpost (or each leg of an infested piece of furniture), you can effectively trap bed bugs while you and your family sleep.

You can find commercially manufactured traps at certain online retailers, but most have not been proven effective by reliable testing methods. You can also make your own interceptor trap using such common household materials as plastic food containers, masking tape and talcum powder (or car polish). The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) posted an instructional video on how to construct these traps here.

These interceptors are great tools for monitoring furniture you suspect may be infested and confirming if you have a bed bug problem that requires professional treatment. They will not catch bed bugs that are already present on the same side of the trap as the host, and the most common places to find bed bugs are on the headboard and mattresses.

Use a mattress encasement system.

A mattress encasement system is a vinyl or polyurethane-lined fabric cover for your mattress and box spring. The system is designed to trap any bed bugs that may already be living inside the bed and to effectively starve them. The encasement also creates an impermeable barrier against any bed bugs attempting to infest the bed. These systems are also used as monitoring tools, and you can more easily identify any bed bugs on the surface of the cover, which eliminates the seams and crevices that bed bugs like to hide in between feedings.

You can find mattress encasements at many major retailers, and some pest control services also sell their own systems. These systems can cost as little as $20 to $40 and as much as $500 to $600. Regardless of which system you choose, you should evaluate the following features of the cover itself to make sure that it will be effective.

The cover should be breathable, waterproof and comfortable to sleep on. Make sure that the cover is advertised as "bite-proof" and that the salesperson or product information can back up this claim with specific information about the materials used in the manufacture of the cover. Finally, make sure the cover’s zippers do not offer opportunities for bed bugs to enter or escape the encasement. Zippers that do not close fully (e.g., has a gap between the actual zipper and its "stop") or tightly (e.g., because the zipper "teeth" are too large) are definite warning signs. Look for zippers that can be locked in place once closed for extra protection.

If you have bed bugs in your home, you should call a professional. Bed bugs are difficult to control and are not a DIY pest. Consult with a professional pest management professional such as Terminix if you suspect bed bugs in your home.

Bed Bug Traps

Bed bugs have been making a big comeback over the past thirty years. Common throughout the world until the 1940s, they were nearly eradicated in developed countries with the introduction of effective pesticides. But with worldwide travel becoming increasingly common, a dramatic resurgence of bugs has occurred in even the most developed countries.

Over the years, these bugs have adapted to survive in almost every climate on earth. The most common species, however, is Cimex lectularius and is usually found in the world’s more moderate temperatures where it has become well adapted to human environments.

Five Stages of Development

Throughout its life, this bug will undergo five stages of development. At the conclusion of each stage, it will shed its exoskeleton and replace it with a new one. A recently hatched nymph, or baby, is a translucent, light brown color while adult coloration varies from brown to reddish-brown.

Adults are oval-shaped and exhibit a banded appearance across their abdomen. They can grow to approximately one quarter inch in length, often resembling an apple seed, and are frequently mistaken for carpet beetles and large lice.

How They Feed

They feed on warm-blooded animals, such as pets and humans, although they typically only feed on humans when other prey is unavailable. Even though they can live for up to five months without feeding (or one year in colder climates where their metabolism slows down), they normally try to eat once every five to ten days.

These nocturnal feeders begin by injecting their victims with a mixture of saliva that is capable of both anesthetizing the site and thinning the blood at the same time. The bug then inserts another small tube into the victim which it uses to draw blood. It will typically feed for three to five minutes before retreating to its hiding place where it will remain between feedings.

Have Bed Bug Problems?

Because they feed at night and use a mild local anesthetic to avoid disturbing their victim, the signs of an infestation frequently do not occur until it is too late and the victim has begun to exhibit visible symptoms.

While they are not known to transmit diseases, their bites can result in severe skin rashes, allergic reactions, and even cause anemia in children with prolonged exposure to an infestation.

Signs of Infestation

In addition to the visible symptoms on their victims, common indications of an infestation include blood smears and small fecal spots that the bugs have left behind on bedding.

Less noticeable signs include the remains of the small exoskeletons shed by the bugs and translucent, sticky eggs that are often laid between the seams of sheets and blankets. Another commonly reported indication of an infestation is a distinct smell that has often been compared to almonds, cilantro, or raspberries.

The Advantages of Using Live Traps

Due to the fact that these bugs are often mistaken for other insects, one of the first steps in treating an infestation is accurately identifying it. Capturing a bug can not only assist a doctor in diagnosing a reaction to the bites, but it may also prove useful when stating your case to a landlord, dormitory official, hotel representative, etc.

The use of bug traps is a quick and cost-effective technique that takes only minutes to set up and will hold the insect in place rather than allowing it to retreat back to its hiding place to die.

What Attracts These Pests

These bugs are attracted primarily to warmth and carbon dioxide, such as what our lungs emit when we exhale. This makes our beds, where we spend long hours breathing under warm blankets, the perfect hunting grounds for this bloodsucking parasite.

Once an ideal location is discovered, the bug emits pheromones to communicate to others that it has found a suitable feeding, nesting, and reproduction site. In other words, where there is one, there are usually many, many more.

Passive Traps

With this in mind, there are two types of traps. The first is referred to as a passive trap. Because they prefer to live near their hosts but not on them, passive traps attempt to catch them as they commute from their hiding places to the host where they will feed.

Since they can neither fly nor must jump great distances, bugs crawl to their intended victim, sometimes by climbing up a bed leg or bed post. Thus, catching them can be as simple as covering your bed’s legs in petroleum jelly, double-sided tape, or any such substance to which they will stick as they travel toward their victim.

Store-bought passive traps can be purchased as well for about $25 per set of four. These traps resemble two tiny bowls, one inside the other, into which an individual places the four legs of the bed. The idea is that bugs traveling to the bed will become trapped in the sticky outer bowl, while bugs that have already fed and are attempting to leave the bed will become trapped in the inner bowl.

Active Traps

While passive traps attempt to catch the bugs during their natural commute to and from their host, active traps attempt to lure their prey by emitting their own tiny amounts of carbon dioxide and heat. The bugs, attracted to the trap, crawl up a shallow, inclined surface.

Once inside the trap, the bugs fall into a deep pit with smooth sides that they are incapable of climbing to get out.

Although considerably more expensive than passive traps, these traps (ranging anywhere from $40 to $400) are considered to be more effective because they lure the insects as opposed to simply waiting for one to cross its path.

The Disadvantages of Using Live Traps

One of the primary disadvantages of using traps is that they may only prove truly effective in the case of relatively mild infestations. Even then, it may still be a matter of days before a substantial number of these bloodsucking bugs have been collected and there is no guarantee that they have been completely eliminated from the home.

Additionally, with passive traps it is important to consider that these insects might not necessarily travel from the floor to the host. In fact, they may choose to live much closer to the victim, residing instead in the nooks and crannies of the bedframe, mattress, box spring, or headboard.

In such a situation, it may be days before a bug travels over a passive trap and even if several are caught, there is still no guarantee that others do not inhabit the bed itself.

Disposing of Trapped Bugs

What also makes catching live bugs so problematic, regardless of what method is used, is killing them after they have been trapped. Freezing them is one popular method, but its effectiveness varies.

According to the University of Indiana’s Office of Environmental, Health, and Safety Management, in order for the freezing method to be effective, the bug must be exposed very quickly to extremely cold temperatures for a period of up to a month.

If the temperature is not cold enough, or if the insect is not exposed to it quickly and for a long enough duration, it will simply adapt, surviving for up to a year on its internal food reserves.

Don’t Rely on Traps Alone

Traps prove only truly effective in cases of mild infestations, when time is not a concern, or if the goal is to simply catch one or two for identification purposes.

It is often recommended, therefore, that traps be used in combination with other techniques. This will help to ensure complete elimination of both the parasite and its offspring.

Health and Safety Precautions When Using Live Traps

As with every elimination method, when using traps it is important to keep in mind some key health and safety precautions.

Whether you are employing homemade traps or store-bought traps, be sure to keep a close eye on curious pets and children. Ingestion of the sticky substance used to trap the bugs may be harmful, and when placed on the ground it is easily within reach.

Because the bugs will be alive when they are caught, be careful to dispose of them properly, making sure not to let pets or children play with any live specimens.

Alternatives to Live Traps

Vacuuming

Another simple and cheap method of catching live bugs is simply vacuuming them up. While this is an inexpensive and easy solution, it is not necessarily an effective means of eradicating them.

Because bugs typically only venture from their hiding places at night while the victim is sleeping, it is often difficult to catch one, let alone several, with a vacuum cleaner. Even if you are able to catch them, you now have to deal with a vacuum cleaner full of these bugs.

Furthermore, should the bugs escape the vacuum’s containment system, or if it is not properly disposed of, the infestation could easily occur again, possibly even spreading to different locations of the home.

Although setting traps and vacuuming up the bugs are relatively cost-effective, do-it-yourself methods of dealing with an infestation, complete eradication often requires the use of other methods as well.

Pesticides

One of the most common techniques employs the use of pesticides and insecticides. Unfortunately, however, it has been discovered that these bugs have actually begun developing a resistance to many of the ingredients used in pesticides and insecticides, sometimes rendering them ineffective.

Regardless, children should always be kept at a safe distance and a professional exterminator should be consulted prior to application.

Steam Treatment

Steam treatment is another popular method used to kill these offending bugs. Effective against even the eggs, steam can be used on almost any surface, including mattresses and other pieces of furniture. A simple steam cleaning machine usually produces enough warm steam to be effective.

However, this method only works if the steam actually comes into contact with the bug or its eggs. Therefore, it is recommended that when using this method, the steamer is moved slowly over the surface to which it is being applied to ensure contact with even the hard to reach bugs.

Preventing Future Infestations

Once they have been eliminated, it is important to take the steps necessary to prevent a future infestation. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, creating an environment that is not conducive to habitation is a good first step. Begin by eliminating clutter and reducing the number of places where they might hide.

Since these bugs prefer to nest near their food source, dismantle beds, inspecting any cracks, slots, and screw holes for remaining offenders. Seal all holes and cracks around outlets, pipes, and moldings and thoroughly clean the house using a strong vacuum and stiff brush remove any stragglers.

Additional Steps for Prevention

It isn’t necessary to dispose of your mattress or bedding, but ensure that they are well cleaned. Seal any holes in your mattress or box spring with duct tape to eliminate potential hiding places.

If you do choose to dispose of your mattress, wrap it in heavy plastic and seal it shut to ensure that any remaining bugs do not spread to passersby or anyone who may handle the mattress.

If you suspect that the bugs may have been introduced into your home by a pet, be sure to wash the animal thoroughly in an outdoor space, inspecting both yourself and your furry friend before reentering your home.

Likewise, if you believe that the bugs may have “hitchhiked” into your home on clothing or luggage, inspect and wash these items as well.

Check with the Neighbors

Also remember to notify your immediate neighbors of the infestation, especially if you live in a condo or apartment. Not only will this allow them to keep a lookout in their own home, but if that is where they originated in the first place it will help treat the root of the problem and prevent future infestation.

This will also help to ensure that any bugs that may have temporarily retreated to your neighbor or dealt with before they are able to return to your own home.

Finally, even if you believe that your infestation problem has been treated, consider placing some passive traps around the bed and inspect them regularly to see if any stubborn stragglers have remained and if further treatment is necessary.

Top 7 Best Bed Bug Traps and Interceptors (2019)

Just the thought of big brown bed bugs crawling on your bedsheets and body during the night is enough to give one the jitters. Bed bugs may be the peskiest parasites in existence. Unlike other ectoparasites like mosquitoes and leeches, bed bugs are far sneakier and usually only come out to feast on humans when they are asleep.

Although various methods that must be used in conjunction with each other to get rid of these pests, bed bug traps are a good way to monitor and control infestations in its early days. In this guide, we have reviewed the best bed bug traps and interceptors in the market for your convenience.

Table of Contents

How Different Types of Bed Bug Traps Work

Bed bug traps come in several different forms and work on different principles. However, in the end, all of these are effective for trapping these blood-sucking parasites.

Bed Bug Interceptors

Bed bug interceptors are the most common types of traps that are available in the market. They consist of concentric outer and inner chambers in a single cup and are usually placed beneath your bed legs. The outside wall has footholds for the bed bugs to crawl up, but the inner walls are slick so that once the bed bugs fell inside the trap, they can’t come out. You can make the inner walls slicker by adding some talcum powder to them.

Glue Traps

Glue traps usually come with a special lure that either gives out the smell of carbon dioxide or pheromones, which are both bed bug attractants. Once the insect crawls onto the trap, the adhesive holds it tight, so it can’t escape.

CO2 Traps

This kind of trap gives out carbon dioxide gas which trick bed bugs into thinking the source is a sleeping human a.k.a a bloodmeal. When the bed bug approaches towards the trap, it gets caught in a sticky adhesive and become trapped there.

Electronic Heat Dome

Similar to the glue and CO2 traps, these traps lure in bed bugs to a sticky death. However, their lures consist of heat and light, and they work with electricity.

Encasement Mattress Cover

Encasements mattress work very well to trap bed bugs that are living inside your mattress. These covers are made of dense and tough fibers and a proper zipper that does not allow bed bugs to come out of the mattress. As a result, bed bugs eventually die of starvation after some time. However, since bed bugs can live without blood for over 400 days, it is best that you leave the cover on for at least that amount of time, to be effective.

7 Best Bed Bug Traps: Review

1. Harris Bed Bug Trap — Best Glue Trap

Harris bed bug trap is a very easy-to-use and affordable glue trap. The trap comes with four adhesive cardboards which can be placed under furniture where you suspect any bed bug activity. This bed bug trap prevents the insects inside your bed from spreading all over the place and stops other bed bugs from making their way into your bed. However, this should be used only for early infestations, and its effectiveness is limited at best. However it comes with natural ingredients, so using it doesn’t hurt.

Pros

  • Pesticide-free and all-natural
  • Very easy to use
  • Very unnoticeable and can easily slide under furniture
  • Can be used in residents as well as commercial paces
  • 4 traps inside

Cons

  • Limited effectiveness
  • Contains no lure to attract bed bugs
  • Need to be disposed of after adhesive tape becomes filled with bed bugs

2. Aspectek Favored-Trapest Sticky Dome For Bed Bugs — Best Electric Heat Trap

Aspectek trap consists of a normal sticky trap that comes with a heat and light lure. The dome-shaped trap consists of a heat-emitting lamp that attracts bed bugs as well as other insects like fleas, moths, etc. Once the insect crawls onto the trap, they get stuck on the powerful snare, unable to crawl away again. Although the device is non-toxic and safe, it runs on electricity and produces heat, so keep small children and pets away from it.

Pros

  • Quite effective as it comes with a lure
  • Broad-spectrum; can catch ticks, fleas, and mites as well
  • Non-toxic
  • Rated safe by UL, CE, and ROHS

Cons

  • Consumes electricity
  • Small children and pets may approach the heated lamp
  • Slightly expensive
  • Kills non-target insects like moths as well

3. Bed Bug Beacon Monitor for Bed Bugs — Best CO2 Monitor

Bed Bug Beacon Monitor is one of the best bed bug traps that comes with a powerful carbon dioxide lure. For the customer’s convenience, the Bedbug Beacon monitor packaging contains powdered carbon dioxide that can easily be mixed with water to form the gas. The powerful trap can attract bed bugs within a few minutes and lure them out so that you can kill them. One packet can last for over a week. Some customers claim it can go up to two weeks. After the initial price, every fill up of CO2 will only cost $1.

Pros

  • Confirms bed bug presence in a few minutes
  • One pack lasts for over a week, possibly two weeks
  • After the initial price, CO2 packets are sold for just $1

Cons

  • Does not have a sticky trap that can kill bed bugs
  • Initial price is a bit expensive
  • Need to use bed bug sprays or powders in conjunction with this trap

4. Bug Snarer Bed Bug Trap — Best Bed Bug Interceptor

Bug Snarer bed Bug Trap is an effective interceptor available in the market. The trap bowls are made of solid hard white shiny plastic with a 4-inch inner cup that comes with a guarantee of withstanding 800 pounds of weight. The outer wall is made of striated ridges that enable bed bugs to climb inside, but the slick inner wall prevents them from getting out. It comes in a brilliant white color which is aesthetically pleasing.

Pros

  • Rated to withstand 800 lbs
  • Aesthetically pleasing

Cons

  • Cup size isn’t very big, so it may not fit very large beds

5. Ortho Bed Bug Trap — Best Pheromone Trap

This active bed bug trap uses pheromones that are irresistible to bed bugs. It is very light-weight so you can easily take it with you wherever you travel. The trap contains a glue card which you will need to attach to the bottom of the pheromone device. Once in place, you can click on the button to activate the pheromones, which can lure out bed bugs from their hiding places and trap them on the sticky card. Some customers complain the trap is not very effective and instead caught other bugs and mosquitoes.

Pros

  • Comes with a pheromone lure and sticky card
  • Will catch other parasites like mosquitoes and fleas
  • Very light-weight and portable

Cons

  • Some customers complain the trap isn’t very effective

6. SafeRest Premium Zippered Mattress Encasement

SafeRest encasement is made of durable and tough cotton fabric that has been certified as bed-bug proof. The cover surrounds the mattress on all sides and secures it with a tough micro-zipper, which prevent bed bugs in all stages from going out. SafeRest not just do not allow bed bugs to get out and bite you, it also protects your mattress from dust mites, bacteria, fluids, sweat, and urine. The mattress is hypoallergenic, cool and noiseless. This encasement means bed bugs stay trapped for life.

Pros

  • Securely and effectively traps bed bugs in all stages of life inside
  • Fluid, urine, and sweat-proof as well
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Breathable and cool fabric

Cons

  • Mattress cover needs to be on for over a year, as bed bugs can last 400 days without feeding
  • Is a bit pricey

7. Clearvue Bed Bug Traps — Best CO2 Trap

This carbon dioxide-based trap comes with CO2 tablets, activation capsule and a sponge that is placed in a box. Once the tablets and capsules are placed inside the box, the gas will be released mimicking human breath. When the bed bugs approach the trap, they will slip down the angled walls of the trap onto the stocky floor.

Pros

  • Carbon dioxide lure
  • Attracts for weeks
  • Quite affordable
  • Non-toxic
  • Safe for children and pets
  • Zipper bag for easy disposal

Cons

  • Some customers complain activation liquid is prone to skill.

Criteria: What is the Best Bed Bug Trap to Buy

Bed bugs traps are the least expensive type of pest treatment and can be fairly effective for low-level infestations. Many traps lure out bed bugs in the open so that homeowners can kill them with sprays. Other traps come with sticky adhesives that kill pests as well.

When buying bed bug traps, there are a few things that you should consider:

Durable: Since many bed bug traps are interceptors and need to be placed under beds, they need to be very durable and not crack under the weight of the bed and its occupant.

Pre-Lined: There are some bed bug interceptors that come pre-lined with talcum powder and others that don’t. If you buy an interceptor that has not been treated by talcum powder, its walls won’t be as slick, and you will have to spend more money on talc. So it is best if you buy interceptors that are pre-lined with the powder.

Size: Interceptors come in various sizes. Get bed bug interceptors that are big enough to accommodate the legs of your bed. There are some interceptors that come in a single size only, so make sure they fit your bed before you buy them.

Ease of Use: Regardless of whether the trap you buy is an interceptor, an adhesive-based trap or comes with a CO2 or pheromone lure, it should be easy and convenient to use. It should not have complicated parts or things that are prone to break or spill.

Lure: Traps work much better with a lure. The most popular lure types are carbon dioxide, pheromones, and heat. According to the users, CO2 based traps are much more efficient than any other types of the lure.

Not only do bed bug traps reduce biting, but they also confirm whether you have an infestation in the first place. The best way to use these bed bugs is to use them as a part of a large control plan.

User Guide

How to Use Bed Bug Traps

If you have chosen interceptors, the best place to put them is underneath the bedposts. Before doing that, you must move the bed away from the wall and other furniture so that bed bugs have no choice but to use the bedposts for their commute and get trapped in the interceptors.

In the case of receptors, carbon dioxide from a sleeping human is the lure that gets bed bugs out in the open. That means these interceptors won’t work if someone is not sleeping in the bed. Additionally, you will need as many interceptors as possible to detect signs on infestation. Other types of passive traps without lures need to be placed near the bed too, for them to work.

In case of active traps that come with lures, you have the option of placing them near your bed or slightly away from the bed. However, since many bed bugs do nest inside mattresses, it is a good idea to place these traps near the bed so that bed bugs can get trapped in them more easily.

If you choose a carbon dioxide-based trap, check to make sure how long the cylinder or the CO2-producing capsules last. Some receptacles can work for only 10 hours while others can work up to a week or even more. If your trap comes with a sticky adhesive surface as well, it is doubly effective in not just bringing bed bugs out in the open but not letting them escape either.

If you choose an electric heat based trap, make sure your children or pets don’t come close to it or mess with the wiring.

Precautions

When dumping out the used traps, make sure you seal them up in a plastic bag and throw them in the trash can. This will prevent any live bed bugs from escaping and infecting other places.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do bed bug traps work?

A: Bed bugs traps are best used for early infestation and to confirm if an infestation exists in the first place. Bed bugs located humans from their exhaled carbon dioxide and will leave their cover to scale up the bedpost to feed on human blood. If you place interceptors beneath your bedposts, the critters will fall inside them and won’t be able to get out again. However, this is only true for bed bugs that do not reside in your mattress. The ones that do won’t be affected by the interceptors and won’t be attracted by other lures that are not as close as your body. Therefore, it is a good idea to use mattress encasements if you suspect an infestation.

Q: Can you make homemade bed bug traps?

A: You can easily make DIY bed bug traps at home by using yeast, which produces carbon dioxide and mimics human breath. This can help bring bed bugs out of hiding, and you can trap them with any type of sticky homemade adhesive. You can also create a simple homemade interceptor by using plastic containers and a glue gun.

Q: What is the best bed bug trap to buy?

A: There is no definite answer to this question. The kind of trap you should invest in depends on your unique bed bug infestation. Mattress encasements are perfect for infestation inside the mattress, while interceptors and lure-based traps are good for infestations outside the bed. For better results, you will need to use two or three different kinds of traps at the same time. Still, they won’t be enough to kill off the entire bed bug population on their own.

Q: Can bed bug traps get rid of infestations?

A: Unfortunately no. Mattress encasements are the best ways to stop bed bugs residing in your mattress from feeding on you. However, it can do nothing for bed bugs that live outside the mattress, inside the cracks in the wall and other furniture. For those, you will need to use interceptors. To permanently kill bed bugs, you will have to use more aggressive treatments like bed bug sprays and powder over a long period of time.

Are Bed Bug Traps Effective? A helpful guide

When you are dealing with a bed bug infestation, a trap may seem like the easiest solution. Placing traps is an affordable option, but may not always solve your problem.

So, are bed bug traps effective?Most traps are ineffective at getting rid of bed bugs. Live traps are typically only effective for mild bed bug infestations. Traps are unlikely to capture all the adult bugs and unable to collect the eggs. Other factors that impact the effectiveness of the trap include the type of trap, location, and the severity of the infestation.

In this article, you can find out how to get better results with bed bug traps, including which traps to use, where to place them, and when to consider alternative solutions for exterminating these annoying bugs.

Table of Contents

Using Passive and Active Bed Bug Traps

Bed bug traps are either passive or active.

Passive bed bug traps overview

A passive bug trap is designed to trap bugs as they travel between the spots where they live and the spots where they feed.

As bed bugs need to crawl, you need to place passive traps on the ground or near furniture, such as your bed. Some of the most common DIY bug traps include duct tape, petroleum jelly, or any sticky substance.

You may also use store-bought traps. Interceptor cups are the most common type of trap. You place these traps around the legs of beds and other furniture. The trap consists of two bowls, with a smaller bowl placed inside a larger bowl.

The bowl may contain a pesticide or poison to kill bed bugs that attempt to crawl up or down the bed.

Active bed bug traps overview

Active traps lure bugs from their hiding spots.Many of these traps release small amounts of heat and carbon dioxide. The trap attracts the bugs, who then crawl into the trap and cannot get out.

Active traps tend to cost quite a bit more compared to store-bought passive traps. However, they are often more effective, as they help draw the bed bugs out of their hiding spots.

Are bed bug traps effective?

Unfortunately, passive and active traps rarely get rid of the entire infestation.The eggs remain after you use the traps to catch most of the adults.

When the eggs hatch and the new bugs mature, you may eventually trap or kill them, but the cycle may continue. If you want to completely solve your bed bug problem, you may need to combine multiple methods.

For example, before placing the traps, you should try to determine where they are hiding.Placing the traps near their hiding spotsmay help you catch more bugs. You can also try utilizing more than one trap.

You can protect your bed and furniture with the interceptor cup, use duct tape around doors, and use an active trap to kill bed bugs hiding on furniture or in your bed.

Pros and Cons of Using Bed Bug Traps

While bed bug traps are not the most effective solution, they do offer several advantages. Using a trap may allow you to collect a specimen for accurate identification.

For example, if you or someone in your household is suffering an allergic reaction to bites, your doctor may need to verify that the bites are coming from bed bugs.

Bug traps are an affordable option

Using homemade traps, you may not need to spend any money. Some of the most used types of traps include the use of common household items, such as vinegar or petroleum jelly.

Traps are convenient

You do not need to wait for an exterminator to arrive. You can simply start placing traps. However, there are drawbacks to using traps.

They may not capture all the bugs

The main disadvantage of using bed bug traps is that they may not capture all the bugs in your house. With a passive trap, you need to wait for the bugs to travel through the trap. Active traps may not always lure bugs from all of their hiding spots.

Many homeowners use DIY methods to save money compared to hiring a professional. Like most DIY options, you may need to put in extra work to get the same results.

While an experienced exterminator can likely get rid of your infestation in a day, you may need to continually change out traps and keep your linens washed.

Due to these limitations,live traps are typically only effective for mild bed bug infestations. If the infestation has spread to multiple rooms or pieces of furniture, you are unlikely to catch enough of the bugs to stop them from constantly reproducing.

Understanding the Life Cycle of the Bed Bug

If you want to get rid of bed bugs on your own, you need to understand their life cycle, where they hide, and what they feed on. These details may help you determine the best spot for your bed bug traps.

Female bed bugs arecapable to lay up to five eggs per day.If you do not kill all the bed bugs at once, the eggs are likely to hatch, allowing the infestation to continue.

Here is a closer look at the life cycle of the bed bug:

A bed bug egg looks like a tiny grain of rice. It is small and milky white. While a female bed bug may lay up to five of these eggs each day, she is capable to lay up to 500 eggs in a lifetime.

You can often find eggs in tight crevices, such as tucked-in sheets or the crevices in your furniture. They take about two weeks to hatch.

Nymphs are newly hatched eggs. These small bed bugs immediately start feeding. They also molt their skin five times before reaching maturity, which occurs in about five weeks.

Mature adult bed bugs feed once per week, which means you may need to wait several days to catch them with passive traps. In the right conditions, they can also live for up to six months.

Understanding the Habits of the Bed Bug

Bed bugs are nocturnal, which means that they sleep during the day and feed at night. During the day, you can find bed bugs in their hiding spots. Some of their favorite spots include:

  • Bed frames
  • Headboards
  • Box springs
  • Drapes
  • Piles of clothing
  • Slipcovers
  • Under cushions
  • Inside mattresses

Bed bugs do not create nests like many other critters. However, they do tend to congregate and may return to the same sleeping spot multiple times.

The main indicators of a bed bug infestation are often obvious. If you search for areas where they may hide, you should detect a few of the following signs:

  • Unhatched and hatched eggs
  • Bed bug casings
  • Reddish stains
  • Dark stains and spots
  • Unusual Odors
  • Bites

The reddish stains are the result of crushed bed bugs. You may see these stains under mattresses or in tight crevasses. Dark stains and spots are from dried bed bug excrement and molted skin.

You may also notice bites or an allergic reaction to the bites. Bed bugs feed on blood from people and animals. They feed at night when you and your pets are most likely prone.

The most common areas for bed bug bites include the neck, hands, shoulders, arms, legs, and face. There are lots of people who are hypersensitive to these bites and may experience additional itchiness and irritation.

Alternative Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

If the bed bug traps do not work, consider alternative methods for killing bed bugs. There are a series of steps that may work for dealing with mild bed bug infestations:

  1. Determine where the bugs sleep
  2. Remove the bugs with tape or a vacuum
  3. Wash all your bedding and linens
  4. Throw away stained items
  5. Thoroughly vacuum carpeting and furniture
  6. Keep your home free of clutter
  7. Mist your home with essential oils

You first need to find the bed bugs, so you can get rid of as many as you can. The most common hiding places are furniture, beds, and tight spots. Remember to look for stains, eggs, and the bugs themselves.

Use a duck tape or vacuum

When you find the bugs, collect as many as you can with duct tape or a vacuum. Dispose of these bugs and then collect all your bedding and linens.

Wash everything in your house

Wash everything in your house and ensure that you do not have any clothing on the floor. You should get rid of any clutter and throw away items covered in eggs or excrement.

Mist your home with oils

You can also mist your home daily using a combination of essential oils. Mix orange oil, cedar oil, and tea tree oil with water. Use a spray bottle to mist your furniture, bedding, drapes, and carpets.

Repeat these steps to continually cut down on the number of bed bugs in your home. If you are lucky, you may solve the issue on your own.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Bed Bug Infestations

Another way to deal with bed bug infestations is to reduce your risk of an infestation in the first place. You should also follow some of these precautions if you are currently dealing with an infestation, as they can help keep the problem from spreading.

Always Keep Your Linens and Clothing Clean

Keeping your home clean and picked up may reduce the risk of an infestation and help keep the bed bug numbers down if they are already in your home.

Remember to keep your home free of clutter and avoid leaving piles of clothing on the floor. Use laundry baskets or hampers to collect dirty clothes and wash them frequently.

You should also change your bed sheets, and pillow covers every two weeks. If you already have an infestation, wash your bedding at least once per week. The frequent cleaning helps kill the eggs and adult bed bugs hiding in your bedding and makes them less likely to seek out your sheets for a hiding spot.

Cover Your Mattress in an Encasement System

Mattresses and other furniture are prime spots for bed bugs, as they provide a place to hide, eat, and reproduce.After the bugs infest your mattress, you are unlikely to get rid of them without getting rid of the mattress.

Covering your mattress in an encasement system helps keep the bugs out. Keep in mind that this will not solve an existing bed bug infestation, but it helps to add a barrier against future infestations.

These protective covers fit tightly over your mattress. They offer a protective seal that keeps bugs, moisture, and spills from penetrating your mattress.

You can also encase your clothing. If you have a lot of clothing that you store during different seasons, store the extra clothing in sealable bags.

Avoid Bringing Home Secondhand Furniture

Secondhand furniture is often the cause of bed bug infestations. People unsuspectingly bring the bed bugs home in infested furniture.

If you cannot avoid the temptation to bring home secondhand furniture, thoroughly inspect it before bringing it inside. You may even want to vacuum and clean the furniture on your porch, instead of taking it indoors to do it.

Check Your Luggage After Coming Home From a Trip

Besides secondhand furniture, you may bring bed bugs home in your luggage after going on a trip. If the hotel or resort had a bed bug problem, you could carry them home in your clothing inside your suitcases or duffle bags.

When you get home, open the bags and search for any signs of bed bugs, including the bugs themselves. If the bugs are present, take the entire bag outdoors. Go through every item, separating clothing from electronics or other objects that insects cannot hide on or in.

You may even want to discard all the clothing that you packed, to ensure that you do not bring any of the bugs inside.

Check Your Pets for Signs of Bed Bugs and Bites

Pets are also common carriers for bed bugs. The bugs may lay eggs in your dog’s favorite sleeping spot. When bathing or brushing your dog, look for unusual bites or any other signs of bed bugs. You may detect bed bug casings or eggs.

If you suspect that your dog has bed bug bites, inspect the bedding for signs of bed bugs. If you can detect the problem early, you have a better chance of stopping the infestation with the DIY solutions. You can try to use active or passive traps to kill the bugs before they spread.

Seal Your Home

Sealing your home prevents pests from entering and reduces the risk of infestations. Besides stopping bed bugs, this may help stop other pests from getting inside.

Search your home for cracks or crevasses that may allow entry. Use caulk to fill in the cracks along baseboards, windows, and doors.

Hire an Exterminator to Remove the Infestation

When the bug traps and alternatives are unable to get rid of your bed bug problem, you may need to contact a nearest professional pest exterminator.

Pest control companies have the equipment and experience to help solve your infestation problem quickly. The professionals are more experienced at finding bed bug hiding spots and creating an effective treatment plan.

While you may need to wait weeks to slowly get rid of the bed bugs in your home using DIY methods, an exterminator can often get rid of them in a single day.

Conclusion: Are Bed Bug Traps Effective?

Trapping bed bugs is a complicated process, and it may not solve the problem. If you have an infestation, DIY methods allow you to save money. However, you may not capture all of the bugs. Hiring an exterminator is often the most effective and fastest solution for killing bed bugs.

Related Questions

How can you trap bed bugs with tape?Duct tape is a common passive trap. You can also try to use tape to prevent bed bugs from reaching specific areas or crossing into other rooms. Lay a strip of duct tape on the floor and tape it in place with two small pieces of duct tape. You can also use a strip of duct tape to manually catch bed bugs in their hiding spots.

What are the best homemade bed bug traps for bed legs?Place a pair of stacked bowls under each leg. Each pair should include a smaller plastic bowl inside a larger container. Add talcum powder to the smaller bowl and soapy water in the larger bowl. The small bowl traps bugs climbing down from the bed while the larger bowl catches bugs on their way toward the bed legs.

What chemical kills bed bugs instantly?Many different chemicals can kill bed bugs quickly. Currently, over 300 products are registered with the EPA for use against bed bug infestations. Many of these pesticides are available at stores or online. You may also try using vinegar. The strong acetic acid destroys the bug’s nervous system.

Are bed bugs dangerous?Some people are more sensitive to the bites. If you have an allergy to the saliva of the bed bugs, you may experience extra irritation at the site of the bites. In some cases, you may need to apply an ointment to reduce the swelling or irritation. However, the bites do not pose a severe health risk.

Best Bed Bugs Traps- DIY Homemade, Co2, Yeast + Reviews

Using traps is one the available ways to control bed bugs. Here is details on how they work, how to make- DIY homemade with CO2 (carbon dioxide) yeast and reviews on the commercial traps.

How do Bed Bug Traps Work?

There are a number of traps that are day in day out hitting the market to be used in dealing with the menace. They are designed and sold in different forms.

Traps

Most of these devices are installed under the beds and all the furniture that are infested or have the potential for infestation.

These traps work in two modes;

  • Actively
  • Passively

Active

Active traps use some means (heat and carbon dioxide) to attract the bugs to a piece of equipment that eventually traps them. The equipment consists of shallow slanting surface which the bugs will crawl and get into the trap.

The sides of the trap are even meaning that as soon as the bugs have fallen inside, they will not be able to crawl up and escape.

Passive

These types of traps are not active as the name suggests. They have nothing to entice the bugs. They are set up in places where bed bugs are likely to crawl through to the host for a meal. Once they have been set up, they will remain there waiting for the insects to pass by.

Passive traps are based on the idea that bed bugs do not reside on the hosts but rather near them.

At the same they neither fly nor jump. These traps are therefore designed to corner the bugs as they crawl from their hideout to victim/host where they will suck some blood. These traps include tape, climb up interceptors among others.

Compared to active traps these are cheaper and less effective (nothing to lure the bugs). Both of the traps can be bought at the stores but passive ones can be largely made at home.

How effective/good are the traps?

It is good for mild infestations, when there is little or no urgency, or if the aim is to capture one or two for identification purposes.

For better results, you are advised to use the traps in combination with other bed bug control techniques. This will help to ensure complete eradication of not only the parasite but also their young ones and eggs.

The active method can be effective in the laboratory setting. However, the same effectiveness cannot be guaranteed when you put the trap in a room that is occupied by human beings.

This is because the bugs might be attracted more to the gas that is emitted by human beings and ignore the one by the trap.

The other reason its effectiveness is not something to look forward to is because its effects are likely to fade away after about 8 hours. In the subsequent times or nights, you will be expected to make a refill of the trap.

Pros & Cons

What are the advantages of using traps?

The advantages and importance of the traps are unique to the particular type that you use. However, some advantages include:

  • They are relatively inexpensive when compared to other commercial remedies
  • They are safe for humans as they do not involve the emission of any toxins
  • They are easy to use as they do not require any special training
  • They are readily available on the market

Cons

  • The main disadvantage is that the traps completely eliminate the bugs especially when it is a severe infestation.
  • Another con is that you will still need to kill and dispose after trapping.
  • Some these traps are expensive

Getting rid of Trapped Bugs

Killing bed bugs after capturing them is one tedious task that is usually overlooked. You may choose to freeze them to death but the effectiveness of the technique will vary depending on the temperature and period of exposure.

If you will not expose them fast to a temperature cold enough then there are chances that the bugs will survive and adopt.

The University of Indiana’s Office of Environmental, Health, and Safety Management, recommends that the bugs must be exposed very quickly to extremely cold temperatures for a period of up to a month.

Yeast/Sugar- Co2 Traps for Bed Bugs

This is the easiest and most straight forward method to deal with the bed bugs.

According to the Journal of Economic Entomology in 2013, it is an easy method that relies on the fermentation process to produce carbon dioxide. Further, it proposes that you use the following ingredients:

  • About two tablespoons of baker’s yeast
  • Some tablespoons of table sugar
  • Warm water[1]
  1. Get a plastic bottle and then cut at the top along the top edge of the label.
  2. Having done that, wrap the bottle with some tissue towel. This is because the bed bugs are unable to climb up a smooth surface and therefore a towel or tissue acts as footholds. Get rid of the excess of the tissue and leave a little of it to hang.
  3. The last step is to grind. Fold the top into the bottle and then invert after which you insert it into the bottle. You could add some talc to the bottle so as to make it slippery.
  4. Pour about ¼ of sugar into the bottle as you add yeast solution. Leave the excess of the yeast solution in the fridge.
  5. Your preparation is ready to capture the bed bugs. Locate it at a place where you want to catch the bed bugs. It should be somewhere it will not be knocked down.
  6. The mixture can produce about 1.5 times more the amount that is released by human beings when they are asleep.
  7. Always ensure that your ingredients are in interception apparatus like the textured dog bowls.
  8. Monitor the ingredients of the trap take effect for a night and then dispose them in the morning
  9. Check the devices to make sure that they don’t have any bed bugs remaining
  10. The yeast in the mixture acts to convert the sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol in the absence of oxygen. The water plays an important role of ensuring the sugar dissolves. The yeast cells can only take up the sugar when in solution form.[2]

Other DIY Homemade Bed Bug Traps

How to make a Bed-sized bed bug trap at home

Take some sugar and mix with yeast to form a solution to bait the trap. The yeast when mixed with sugar produces carbon dioxide. This trap works in a similar manner as the CO2 bed bug trap but the only difference is that it is bed sized as compared to the dish sized traps.

  1. Add two liters of water to the mixture
  2. Filter the water so as not to have chlorine
  3. Apply the mixture around your furniture
  4. This trap works in a similar manner of blocking bed bugs just the same way bathtubs do. It kills bed bugs immediately and stops the bite.

Ho to make Bed climb up bug traps for bed legs

This trap only works if your bed has legs. This trap has three main roles:

  • Detecting the infestation of bed bugs
  • Reducing the spread of the bed bugs that are already in your furniture
  • Limiting or preventing bed bugs from getting into the furniture that is protected

It is always good to manage the situation before it gets out of hand because it could be expensive and hard to manage.

In this case, the following procedure is critical:

  1. The first thing is to have the apparatus assembled. The apparatus to be assembled are plastic containers and a roll of duct tape.
  2. Tape the large container. Use the duct tape to wrap the entire large container. This is necessary for the bed bugs to climb up the container.
  3. Add a smaller container. Put the smaller container inside the larger one and ensure the surfaces of the containers do not touch.
  4. Add the powder after that. Put this powder between the spaces of the container, either diatomaceous earth or baby powder.
  5. Finally place the furniture from which you want to rid the bed bugs inside the trap. This should be adequate enough to trap the bed bugs for you.

Dry ice bed bug traps

According to Dr. Changlu Wang who is a head of the Urban Entomology department at Rutgers University, this is a very amazing and exciting discovery. This was after combination with several other ingredients.

How to trap bed bugs with dry ice

This technique is uniquely designed to trap bed bugs that are hungry. The following are some of the ingredients that you should have:

  • A cooler
  • A cotton ball
  • A painter’s tape
  • Talc powder
  • A dog bowl[3]
  1. This test is done at night because the bed bugs prefer the dark
  2. Use the dog bowl that is taped all round. Tape the bowl by applying the fabric on the sides to make the sides rough for easier climbing of the bed bugs.
  3. Turn the bowl over and this creates a moat so as the bed bugs can fall over into the bowl
  4. Rub the talc powder on the sides so that the bed bugs do not escape
  5. Turn the bottle upside down and put the large beverage cup that is insulated
  6. Use gloves and then fill the container with dry ice and leave the top open. Do not close it because the ice could lead to pressure build up
  7. Turn the off the lights and let the container be in the room for about an hour
  8. The carbon dioxide that sublimes from the ice attracts the bed bugs and they will crawl on the sides of the bowl and thus be trapped in the moat[4]

Sticky Bed Bug Traps Using Glue & Tape

Bed Bug Glue Traps

There are quite a number of traps that are in this category. This trap enables you to detect bed bugs before they increase.

These traps are normally nontoxic and free of any pesticides. You can place them anywhere in your house.

When you put them below your mattress gives you all day protection against the bugs.

How to trap bed bugs with tape

Tapes are good in the sense that they get hold of the bed bugs or prevent them from accessing your bed. The research for this was done by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

double side tape

According to Prof Phil Koehler, UF/IFAS an urban entomologist you only need disposable plastic containers and a masking tape. Follow the steps below for effectiveness of the entire process.

  1. Locate where the bed bugs are. They may hide not only in beds but also in the walls, drapes, baseboards and clusters of eggs. By the help of a magnifying lens, they should be visible.
  2. Put the tape strips with the sticky side facing up round your located area. Cover the edges of the floor using the tape to make sure that the tape does not slide on the floor. This makes an effective trap for the bed bugs if they try crossing it.
  3. Put the tape on other surfaces you suspect or think it is infested with bed bugs
  4. Grab a strip and use it to trap the bed bugs on the spot. Place the sticky part on the bed bugs. It is a sanitary way of eliminating the bed bugs although it might not entirely eliminate the bed bugs.[5]

Alka Seltzer

Traps with alka seltzer

This is an effervescent antacid that is used to relieve pain. It was marketed first by the Dr. Miles Medicine Company of Elkhart, Indiana, United States. It has three ingredients that is aspirin, sodium bicarbonate and citric acid.

When placed in water, it creates carbon dioxide and this information enough to inform the bed bugs that there is food on the table. What you will need is

  • A plastic litter box ,
  • A wet sponge,
  • Some disposable hand warmers,
  • A plate and 4 alka seltzer tablets
  1. Activate the hand warmer and put it at the center of the plate.
  2. Place the wet sponge on the hand warmer and then the tablets put on the sponge evenly
  3. Take everything that is on the plate and then put it inside the box. The moisture on the sponge will make the Alka Seltzer reaction to be active and release carbon dioxide continuously.
  4. This should be enough to have the bed bugs attracted to the hiding place.
  5. Be cautious not to put the tablet in room water because it will lead to faster release of Carbon dioxide and this will not last long enough as expected.

Bed Bug traps pheromone

According to the Entomology Today journal, the pheromones are perfect traps for bed bugs. They have done research using blood meals for about a thousand bed bugs. They further say that this compound helps landlords, pest control professionals and tenant to curb bed bugs.

How is pheromone used to trap bed bugs?

There are a number of pheromones that can be used to lure the bed bugs and then catch them. This makes it very easy to deal with the infestation. Pest control agencies argue that, pheromones can be a cheap and yet a very effective alternative to deal with bed bugs.

According to Rob Britton, from Simon Fraser University, Canada, bed bugs are attracted to a volatile component although the bed bugs are attracted to histamine. In their research, they synthesized pheromones mixture and then put it on the cardboards and laid traps. At the end of the procedure, bed bugs were found gathered around the pheromone stain.

The pheromone mixture if used in the residential areas may cost as little as 10 cents for every trap. This is because the chemicals can easily be obtained and easily be synthesized.

Best Commercial Traps, Reviews and where to buy

Where to buy Bed Bug Traps

  1. Amazon
  2. Home depot
  3. Walmart

Some of the best include;

  • BEAP Bed Bug Coaster Trap
  • Lights Out Bed Bug Trap
  • Aspectek Dual-Well Bed Bug Trap

Information posted on the Amazon website, The Aspectek Dual Well Insect Interceptor Trap eliminates the bed bugs from the pathways to access any furniture.

The grooved walls of this devise enables the bugs to crawl into the trap. When trapped, the bugs are found in the outer ring.

The Lights Out product is an innovation for bed bug detection. It was developed by Jeffery White from the Bed bug Central. Studies found that the device had effective and aesthetically pleasing results when compared to other products.

Pack Bed Bug Detector Coaster is the only product on the market that is made to know where the bed bugs are coming from.

The detector also stops the bed bugs from climbing the furniture and they save energy by identifying the source of the bed bugs. They are made in a way that they prevent the bed bugs before they get to your furniture.

Bed Bug Climb up Interceptors is a new and unique monitoring system that can be used to detect bed bugs early before they get worse.

They are specially designed and they are pesticide free. They are also too slick for the bed bugs to crawl out.

You can get this product from Walmart and Amazon. They provide free shipping and delivery services. The costs vary depending from store to another.

Product nameRatingPrice
Harris Bed Bug Trap (4/Pack) *

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