How Bed Bug Travel

US EPA

Bed Bugs

How to Find Bed Bugs

If you have a bed bug infestation, it is best to find it early, before the infestation becomes established or spreads. Treating a minor infestation, while an inconvenience, is far less costly and easier than treating the same infestation after it becomes more widespread.

However, low-level infestations are also much more challenging to find and correctly identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house or hitchhike a ride to someone else’s house to start a new infestation. Learn about identifying bed bugs.

Bites on the skin are a poor indicator of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites can look like bites from other insects (such as mosquitoes or chiggers), rashes (such as eczema or fungal infections), or even hives. Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all.

Looking for Signs of Bed Bugs

A more accurate way to identify a possible infestation is to look for physical signs of bed bugs. When cleaning, changing bedding, or staying away from home, look for:

  • Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
  • Dark spots (about this size: •), which are bed bug excrement and may bleed on the fabric like a marker would.
  • Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.
  • Live bed bugs.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

When not feeding, bed bugs hide in a variety of places. Around the bed, they can be found near the piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring, and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard.

If the room is heavily infested, you may find bed bugs:

  • In the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, in the folds of curtains.
  • In drawer joints.
  • In electrical receptacles and appliances.
  • Under loose wall paper and wall hangings.
  • At the junction where the wall and the ceiling meet.
  • Even in the head of a screw.

Bed Bugs FAQs

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.

Where are bed bugs found?

Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.

Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.

Do bed bugs spread disease?

Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Bed bugs can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.

What health risks do bed bugs pose?

A bed bug bite affects each person differently. Bite responses can range from an absence of any physical signs of the bite, to a small bite mark, to a serious allergic reaction. Bed bugs are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic reaction to several bites may need medical attention.

What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?

One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These signs include:

  • the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
  • bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
  • rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
  • a sweet musty odor.

How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?

It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.

Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.

How did I get bed bugs?

Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. The bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel.

Who is at risk for getting bed bugs?

Everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs when visiting an infected area. However, anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping quarters where other people have previously slept has a higher risk of being bitten and or spreading a bed bug infestation.

How are bed bugs treated and prevented?

Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.

This information is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider. If you have any questions about the parasites described above or think that you may have a parasitic infection, consult a health care provider.

Top 10 Myths about Bedbugs

The insects, making a comeback around the globe, cannot fly and are really not interested in hanging out on your body–but they do occasionally bite during the day

  • By Megan Scudellari on May 27, 2011

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Once a pest of the past, bedbugs now infest every state in the U.S..Cimex lectularius—small, flattened insects that feed solely on mammalian and avian blood—have been living with humans since ancient times. Abundant in the U.S. prior to World War II, bedbugs all but vanished during the 1940s and ’50s thanks to improvements in hygiene and the use of pesticides. In the past 10 years, however, the pests have staged a comeback worldwide—an outbreak after the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney was a harbinger of things to come. This revival may be the worst yet, experts say, due to densely populated urban areas, global travel and increasing pesticide resistance—something to consider as the summer travel season gets underway.

"By every metric that we use, it’s getting worse and worse," says Coby Schal, an entomologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Health authorities and pest control operators are regularly flooded with calls, and the epidemic may not have yet peaked. And because bedbugs are indoor pests, there are no high or low seasons throughout the year, he adds, only continual bombardment. "It’s just the beginning of the problem in the U.S.," Schal says.

Spreading rapidly with the bedbugs is a mass of misinformation about their biology and behavior. Straight from the experts, here are the facts behind some of the most notorious myths about the diminutive bloodsuckers.

Myth 1: Bedbugs can fly
Bedbugs lack wings, and therefore cannot fly. That is unless you put a blow dryer behind them, says Stephen Kells, a bedbug researcher at the University of Minnesota. Then they’ll fly about 1.2 meters. On their own, bedbugs crawl about a meter a minute, he says.

Myth 2: Bedbugs reproduce quickly
Compared with other insects, bedbugs are slow to reproduce: Each adult female produces about one egg per day; a common housefly lays 500 eggs over three to four days. Each bedbug egg takes 10 days to hatch and another five to six weeks for the offspring to develop into an adult.

Myth 3: Bedbugs can typically live a year without a meal
Scientists debate this point, but evidence suggests that at normal room temperature, about 23 degrees Celsius, bedbugs can only survive two to three months without a blood meal. But because they are cold-blooded, their metabolism will slow down in chillier climates, and the insects may live up to a year without feeding.

Myth 4: Bedbugs bite only at night
Although bedbugs are generally nocturnal, they’re like humans—if they’re hungry, they’ll get up and get something to eat. "If you go away to visit a friend for a week and you come back and sit down on the couch, even though it’s daytime the bedbugs will come looking for you," Schal says. Keeping a light on, then, unfortunately does not keep these tiny vampires away.

Myth 5: Bedbugs live exclusively in mattresses
"’Bedbug’ is such a misnomer," Kells says. "They should also be called pet bugs and suitcase bugs and train bugs and movie theater bugs." Bedbugs spread away from beds into living areas and can be seen on any surface, he says, including chairs, railings and ceilings.

Myth 6: Bedbugs prefer unsanitary, urban conditions
"Bedbugs are terribly nondiscriminatory," Schal says. Bedbugs can be found anywhere from ritzy high-rises to homeless shelters. The prevalence of the bugs in low-income housing is therefore not a result of the insect’s preference, but of dense populations and the lack of money to pay for proper elimination strategies. "Any location is vulnerable," Kells says. "But some people are going to have a harder time getting control of them because it is such an expensive treatment."

Myth 7: Bedbugs travel on our bodies
Bedbugs do not like heat, Kells says. They therefore do not stick in hair or on skin, like lice or ticks, and prefer not to remain in our clothes close to our bodily heat. Bedbugs are more likely to travel on backpacks, luggage, shoes and other items farther removed from our bodies.

Myth 8: Bedbugs transmit disease
Bedbug bites can lead to anxiety, sleeplessness and even secondary infections, but there have been no reported cases of bedbugs transmitting disease to humans. They do, however, harbor human pathogens: At least 27 viruses, bacteria, protozoa and more have been found in bedbugs, although these microbes do not reproduce or multiply within the insects. Canadian researchers announced (pdf) in the June issue ofEmerging Infectious Diseasesthat bedbugs isolated from three individuals in a Vancouver hospital carried methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus, aka MRSA. Still, there have been no reported cases that the bugs actually transmit human disease.

Myth 9: We should bring back DDT
When the controversial pesticide DDT was banned in 1972, most bed bugs were already resistant to it, Schal says, and today’s populations are even more widely resistant thanks to the use of a new class of pesticides. Pyrethroids, the main class of pesticides used against bedbugs today, targets sodium channels in bedbug cells, just like DDT. Consequently, as bedbugs develop resistance to pyrethroids, they also become cross-resistant to DDT.

The 7 Best Bed Bug Sprays of 2020

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

"This 16-ounce spray bottle is easy to use and perfect for spraying into cracks and crevices, where those sneaky bugs like to hide."

"This spray kills bed bugs on contact, while also eliminating their eggs and continuing to kill bed bugs for up to 16 weeks."

"Spritz your luggage when you’re leaving, so bugs don’t try to hitch a ride with you."

"Formulated with botanical essential eucalyptus oil, it safely eliminates bed bugs."

"This stuff really works, killing adult bed bugs, nymphs and eggs quickly."

"This non-toxic, plant-based spray has been extensively lab-tested and proven to kill dust mites, bed bugs and their eggs on contact."

"It’s made of all-natural, eco-friendly ingredients and specifically formulated to be used on bedding and mattresses."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer

EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer spray gets our top ranking for its overall effectiveness and affordability. A certified USDA BioBased insecticide, it’s also non-toxic, safe and eco-friendly, so you can use it around pets and kids and spray it directly on your mattresses, carpets and furniture. This formula is made of all-natural, botanical ingredients, and has a pleasant cedar/eucalyptus scent that dissipates quickly after application. EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer is effective in all stages of bed bugs, including adults, nymphs and eggs, even killing bed bugs that have built up a resistance to traditional pesticides. Its long-term effectiveness has also been studied, with results showing it continues to protect against bed bug for two weeks after application.

This 16-ounce spray bottle is easy to use and perfect for spraying into cracks and crevices, where those sneaky bugs like to hide. EcoRaider also comes in a gallon jug size, if you need to refill your bottle or anticipate a big job. It’s also available in a convenient travel-size bottle that you can easily pack in your suitcase.

Best Odorless: Harris Toughest Bed Bug Killer

Some bed bug sprays have a powerful stench that takes a long time to dissipate. And, in some cases, you may not be able to open windows to air out the room after you’ve sprayed. Harris Toughest Bed Bug Killer is an odorless formula that’s a great option if ventilation is an issue, you’re particularly sensitive to smells or you just don’t want that lingering bad odor. This spray kills bed bugs on contact, while also eliminating their eggs and continuing to kill bed bugs for up to 16 weeks after application. In addition to being scent-free, it also won’t stain or damage fabrics. It’s registered with the EPA and is safe to use around people and pets. This gallon bottle is the perfect size when you need to spray a few rooms or plan to do multiple treatments.

Best for Travel: Travel Hygea Natural Exterminator Spray

Another non-toxic option, this bed bug spray comes in a travel size, so it’s perfect to pack along in your suitcase – and then use to spray the mattress, sheets and any areas that look suspect once you get to your destination. You can also spritz your luggage when you’re leaving, so bugs don’t try to hitch a ride with you. The enzyme formula is odorless, won’t leave a residue and will exterminate bed bugs on contact, without harming people or pets. The three-ounce bottle size is TSA-approved, so you can carry it on a plane in your checked bag without a problem.

Best Multi-Purpose: All Natural Eucoclean Bed Bug, Flea & Dust Mite Killer

This spray from Eucoclean is a fantastic all-in-one product to help you get rid of pests, as well as clean and deodorize your home. Formulated with botanical essential eucalyptus oil, it safely eliminates bed bugs, as well as dust mites, fleas, lice, ants, ticks, spiders and moths. You can also use it to clean and deodorize surfaces, from kitchen countertops to floors to toilets. Users love the fresh scent and they proactively spray it to prevent future bug infestations. One downside is that it’s only available in a 750ml bottle so, if you’re spraying in multiple areas, you’ll most likely go through it rather quickly.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Eco Defense Bed Bug Killer

If you’re looking for a spray that’s safe to use around pets and kids, the Eco Defense Bed Bug Killer is made of completely natural, organic, USA-sourced and non-toxic ingredients. You don’t have to stay out of your house for days after treatment or worry about being exposed to fumes and pesticides. And this stuff really works, killing adult bed bugs, nymphs and eggs quickly. It’s also effective on other bugs, including dust mites and lice. You can apply it directly to sheets, mattresses and mattress covers, carpet, upholstered furniture and even clothes. Eco Defense won’t stain the fabric or irritate your skin.

Best Budget: Proof 100% Effective Bed Bug and Dust Mite Killer Spray

If you’ve got problems with bed bugs and dust mites, you can eliminate them both at the same time with Proof 100% Effective Bed Bug and Dust Mite Killer Spray. This non-toxic, plant-based spray has been extensively lab-tested and proven to kill dust mites, bed bugs and their eggs on contact. It also continues to eliminate them for up to three weeks after treatment, when used as directed. It’s a bit cheaper compared to other bed bug sprays, but still highly effective.

Best Natural: Bye Bye Bed Bugs

Bye Bye Bed Bugs spray will give you peace of mind that you’re eliminating those nasty bed bugs, but also keeping your pets and kids safe. It’s made of all-natural, eco-friendly ingredients and specifically formulated to be used on bedding and mattresses. It also won’t leave behind any stains – only dead bugs! This 32-ounce bottle is super easy to hold and has a few different spray patterns, so you can get the formula into every nook and cranny where the bugs may be hiding. With a scent that’s more pleasant and tolerable than some other bed bug sprays, it can also be used as a preventive spray. For some extra protection, you can spritz your luggage with it before packing for a trip.

What to Look for in Bed Bug Spray

Eco-friendlinessWhile chemicals can definitely pack a punch, you don’t have to load up on toxic chemicals to get rid of bed bugs. You can purchase safe, eco-friendly sprays that will eliminate the critters while still being safe around kids and pets—and we highly recommend doing so.

OdorBed bug sprays don’t exactly smell like perfume, and some are downright stinky, with a stench that can linger in the hotel room, your bed, or your suitcase for hours. Considering some hotel rooms don’t have windows that open, look to odorless sprays that are high on bed bug extermination power and low on smell.

SizeUnfortunately, the TSA isn’t going to make a special exemption for bed bug spray when it comes to your luggage allowance, so as much as you might want to look for a gallon-size container of the stuff, we recommend looking for a spray with a volume that’s already TSA-acceptable, or one that’s easy to distill into your own travel-size container (just make sure it’s leak-proof!).

Bed Bug Traps [UPDATED 2020] Buyer’s Guide | Homemade vs Ready Traps | Comparative Review

Bed bugs have become the USA’s national catastrophe. This is quite an unpleasant phenomenon although it seems untypical of developed countries, and has affected hundreds of thousands of American citizens. The scientists keep on experimenting and inventing new ways of trapping these bloodsuckers. Today, we’ll describe all the known bed bug traps. How effective are homemade methods? Is an interceptor or a sticky trap better? Does life imprisonment for the bed bugs that have already infested your bed exist?

What you’ll learn from this Guide:

How Bed Bug Traps Work & Their Effectiveness

TypePeculiaritiesEffectiveness
HomemadeAttracts with carbon dioxide.Early detection only.
GlueA special lure.Early detection only.
Electronic Heat DomeAttracts with heat.If more attractive prey, such as humans, is around, the dome may not be effective.
InterceptorA best seller.Additional talc improves the trap’s effectiveness.
Mattress CoverThe cover is made of a special dense fabric, it must have a designated zipper.All of the insects are forever imprisoned inside the cover.

Types: Passive & Active Traps

Professional bed bug traps, or monitors, as they are often called in a scientific setting, are relatively new inventions, and are recommended as the first line of defense in bed bug management and prevention.

As of now, there are three types of bed bug traps available on the market and it’s important to discern the difference between them. Here, we’ll talk about passive and active traps, and we’ll cover the basic differences between those two traps and interceptors.

Active

An active trap uses a certain chemical lure, whether it’s the heat, carbon dioxide, or a feromone, to attract bed bugs to the trap. These need to be used continuously for several days to detect the size of the infestation and take other necessary steps to control the bed bug population. Also, many active traps would require the use of electricity, which can become a limiting factor and is certainly a disadvantage. Another detracting aspect is the sometimes exorbitant prices of these, which can go way up to 600 dollars.

Passive

A passive one, on the contrary, does not use any type of bait, or lure, to bring bed bugs towards it. They usually come with a glue or pitfall design. The passive traps certainly are much better than visual inspections, which can be pretty inefficient; require less skill and money to purchase and use them; reduces the amount of immediate bed bug bites that would have happened if not for the trap. However, they are quite inefficient if you have a large bug infestation.

The Difference between a Bed Bug Trap and a Bed Bug Interceptor

Basically, interceptors are two cups, one inside the other, that can be easily placed underneath a bedpost. They will not work by themselves but require the presence of the human body on top of the bed that would work as an attractant to bed bugs (giving off the necessary body heat, feromones, and carbon dioxide, in short, everything the bed bugs love). And since bed bugs are pretty bad at climbing slippery surfaces, they would not tackle this climbing quest and would get trapped inside the interceptor. Interceptors are also considered passive traps because they do not contain any chemicals, look like pitfalls, and can be used as a part of DIY bed bag management.

Top-5 Best Bed Bug Traps

Several types are available today: sticky, interceptors attached under bed legs and electronic ones which attract their victims with the heat of a lamp.

Glue Trap |Harris

This is a simple and cheap glue trap. A pack contains four sticky cardboards to be placed under furniture, bed and anywhere else. Leave them under your bed’s legs so that the bed bugs stick to it if they approach your bed. The product’s rating is not very high. Many customers have given negative feedback. Don’t expect Harris to deal with your issue on its own as it should be used for monitoring purposes only. The trap is accessible and safe, so why not give it a chance?

Last update on 2020-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Electronic trap | Aspectek

Aspectek has improved a regular sticky trap and added a heat-exuding lamp to it. This increases the attraction rate of bed bugs, fleas and other blood-suckers. They are trapped in a sticky snare once they crawl or fly under the lamp.

The product is rated highly. The trap is used not only against bed bugs, but also flies, mosquitoes and any other insects which prefer heat or light. The device is safe, but any cat owners must bear in mind the fact that their pets might take a fancy to this heated toy and warm up near it. Read over 1200 customer reviews to learn more about Aspectek use.

Last update on 2020-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sticky + light trap:Check the current price

Climbup insect interceptor

Here is the most popular and best-selling bed bug trap. At the moment, it is not only a hit but a method to trap blood suckers that has been approved by the majority of entomologists. Almost all of them recommend using these traps. The University of California specialists, for instance, confirm the effectiveness of these devices:Interceptor monitors are a hybrid between active and passive (pitfall) monitors in that they rely on the presence of a host (a sleeping human) to attract hungry bugs and then trap the parasites on route to their meal. These small double-cupped monitors are easily installed under the legs of beds and other furniture items. Research has demonstrated that such interceptors trapped six times more bed bugs than were found from human visual searches alone.

Let us add that putting in some talc will complicate the insects’ attempts to escape. Use ClimbUp until all your domestic parasites have been completely eradicated. If they have managed to breed in multiple rooms, opt for a 12-pack set.

BySuperette Co

Last update on 2020-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ortho bed bug trap

This is a classic active bed bug trap that uses feromones and glue to attract and trap bed bugs. It’s lightweight and easy to carry around, in case you want to take it with you while you travel. To start using the trap, you’ll need to remove the paper from a glue card, attach it to the bottom of the trap, click on a button to activate a feromone, and place it near the bed. It’s pretty cheap, but you’ll need a lot of these since everytime the thing catches the bugs, you’ll need to throw it in a trash, as they are not reusable. Unfortunately, the customers’ response was somewhat discouraging, with many saying that it didn’t catch bed bugs but rather mosquitos and other little insects.

Last update on 2020-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ortho bed bug trap:Check the current price

Raid Bed Bug Detector & Trap

The Raid trap falls into the same price range but for the price, you’re actually getting 4 of them, which is a pretty good deal. To start using them, break the traps apart, so you end up with separate small traps, place them under the bed spots of your bed and near the top of the mattress between the head of the mattress and the wall (as recommended by the manufacturer). The customers had more success with these detectors than with the previously described Ortho, but many testers still complained that it was hard to see the trapped bed bugs through dark trap exterior, even with a flashlight.

Last update on 2020-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Raid Bed Bug Detector & Trap:Check the current price

Cons of bedbug traps

The main drawback of all these traps is that they provide monitoring only. When using them, make sure there are no bugs in your bed. If they have already infested your sleeping area, it is pointless for them to get off the bed. So, what should you do if it is already infected?

How to Trap Bed Bugs That Have Already Settled In Your Bed?

There is a product that can be unequivocally called bed bugs’ life imprisonment. There is no escape from it and no blood-sucker will be ever set free from there. We are talking about a special mattress cover.

According to the entomologists,70% of the bed bugs in the house settle in the mattress, box spring and bed frameduring a typical infestation. That is one of the priority tasks is to treat the infected bed and mattress and to protect the new one by using protective encasements

It is basically the bigger version of a trap. All parasites living in your mattress will be forever trapped and will starve to death given that you’ve bought a decent mattress made of dense fabric with a proper zipper that won’t ever let any parasite out. Another condition is that you shouldn’t remove the cover for 12 months as this is the time it takes these tenacious creatures to die of depletion

There are many mattress cover manufacturers, the most popular brands are SafeRest, LinenSpa®, and Utopia Bedding. Their ratings are more or less the same, and the covers themselves practically do not differ from each other. The main requirement concerning this product is a “Bed Bug Proof” label. Most of them are waterproof and will protect you from dust mites.

You can also move to the living room and sleep on the sofa hoping that the starving blood-suckers will be forced to finally crawl down the bed legs in search of food… But we believe buying a mattress cover and having a sound sleep in your own comfy bed is simpler and faster.

ByUtopia Deals

Last update on 2020-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bed Bug Traps Comparison Chart

ProductTypePeculiarities
Harris

Glue trapThe cheapest control product.Aspectek

Electric glue trap with a bulbAttracts bloodsuckers by imitating body heat.Climbup insect interceptor

Interceptor monitorThe most effective control product, will catch 6x more parasites than you will be able to on your own.Utopia Bedding Zippered Mattress Encasement

Mattress cover – a lifelong trapThe biggest and most reliable bug prison. Do not take it off the mattress for 12 months.Ortho bed bug trap

Feromones and glue trapThat trap uses feromones and glue to attract and trap bed bugsRaid Bed Bug Detector & Trap

Detector & TrapTrap is designed for early detection bed bugs in both your home and while traveling.

Will Traps Help You Get Rid of the Bed Bugs Once and For All?

Unfortunately, they won’t. The only 100% effective control product is a mattress cover which will only rid you of the parasites that have settled inside it. You will have to deal with other insects hiding in the wall cracks, behind the skirting boards and wallpapers and even on the ceiling for a long period of time. Refer to our guide “How to get rid of bed bugs” to learn about all the methods, mistakes and proper treatment.

How to use bed bug trap & where to place them

If you’ve chosen to use interceptors, then place them under the bedposts. It’s important to move your bed away from the wall, so the bed bugs would be left with no choice but climb into an interceptor.

Remember that if you’re not currently sleeping on the bed, then interceptors wouldn’t work, because they require the presence of a sleeping human body. Also, you’d need as many interceptors as possible to successfully detect and trap the active portion of the bed bug population. Researchers from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension advise using at least 12 interceptors per each bedroom that you believe is infested.

Any other passive trap should be just as well placed under the bed, or any other furniture that serves as a living habitat for bed bugs.

Active traps, again, should be placed anywhere near the infested furniture. If an active trap of your choice uses carbon dioxide as an active attractant, then you should be aware that each CO2 cylinder would operate for about 10 hours and you’ll need a new cylinder for each night of operation. More sophisticated options would include a larger receptacle for CO2 that would last up to five nights.

Precautions When Using Traps

One of the main concerns when using bed bug traps is what to do when the bugs have been trapped or collected. One of the popular methods is exposing the bugs to a very cold temperature, but it might just as well prove inefficient. Scientists from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension recommend to dump the caught bugs into a plastic tub with vertical sides, fill it with soapy water, place the content of the closed tub into a plastic bag and throw it in a trash outside your house. Another method (which is obviously preferable) is to spray the bugs with a contact spray so they would die immediately. And only then trash them outside.

Another precaution is not to use bed bug traps alone. They might be okay to detect early or small infestations but won’t work for larger populations. Also, the bugs cannot necessarily travel to the host but can reside as close to the body as possible, in the nooks of the bed frame or mattress, rendering your traps useless.

How effective are bed bug traps in comparison with other methods

According to Dr. Wang, an Extension Specialist in Urban Entomology, using active traps proved to be “at least as effective as a thorough visual inspection, but not as effective as a seven-day deployment of insect interceptors.” Also, the results of his research indicated that the “homemade dry ice trap was the most effective monitor both in apartments with heavy and light bed bug infestations.” It’s important to note here that we are talking about detection and initial steps in the management of bed bug population. The interceptors or active traps alone won’t eliminate the bed bugs but would serve as a great starting point in bed bug control.

Homemade Bed Bug Traps

A few years ago, a National Geographic article devoted to a sugar, water, and yeast-based $1 trap invented in the Rutgers University, New Jersey was discussed actively on the internet. This yeast homemade bed bug trap recipe was contentedly promoted by bloggers.

The scientists suggest that you pour ten tablespoons of sugar, two tablespoons of yeast and one and a half liters of room temperature water in a cup, then place said cup on top of a flipped over dog bowl and leave for the night.

How does it work?

The idea is that it is carbon dioxide exuded by humans which is the main focus of all blood-suckers. All mosquito carbon dioxide traps act in this way. However, we have not encountered any commercially successful bed bug traps like this yet. Let’s figure if they are indeed free, convenient and effective?

As the University of Rutgers, New Jersey expert Narinderpal Singh states,“the yeast ferments the sugar to release carbon dioxide—the gas that bedbugs use to track down sleeping human hosts. This irresistible vapor lures insects toward the trap from long distances, and in experiments, more than doubled the number that were captured.

The blood-sucking insects focus on the secreted carbon dioxide. As the scientists plan, any bed bugs in the house are supposed to gather near the sources of carbon dioxide fermented by yeast. The result will let you decide whether domestic pest control is a necessity or an expensive luxury.

The magazine article claims that this handmade trap attracts three times as many bed bugs as others and is therefore more effective than theClimbup insect interceptoravailable in stores.

A cup full of yeast, on the other hand, doesn’t guarantee that it will attract bed bugs better than a human sleeping in the same room, as humans also exude both heat and carbon dioxide. In addition, when half asleep, you can forget about the slurry trap left in the darkness and step straight into it. Its action also lasts for only eight hours, so you will have to refill the yeast mixture daily.

Dry ice trap

The second homemade recipe has been invented in Rutgers University as well. This time,dry icewill serve as a source of carbon dioxide. The experimenters suggest placing the ice in an open 1/3 of a gallon (1.5 liters) thermos on top of a flipped over cat bowl. The outer walls of the bowl should be taped and covered in a thin layer of talc. Once trapped, the bed bugs won’t be able to detach from this talc and the dry ice will continue releasing gas for up to twelve hours.

A pound of dry ice is not sold without restrictions. You will have to place an order with special suppliers. Remember that dry ice will also slowly turn into gas even when kept in a freezer. Don’t store it in the freezer for over four days. Dry ice being a free trap is a contingent term as the transactional costs will involve you having to spend much time ordering ice whenever necessary.

Such measures are for preventive purposes only. They protect your bed from bed bugs crawling up from the floor. Carbon dioxide secreted by various objects won’t make them leave your warm beds. But are commercial devices better than homemade ones?

Active Traps: Experiments with Catching On Bait

The development of carbon dioxide-based methods of bed bug treatment is explained by the fact that they consume blood only. A new type of trap using the insects’ own odor is now being tested.

A team of Canadian scientists has radically decided to identify the substance that is responsible for grouping the bed bugs together. Back in the 1970s, the scientists learned that feces and chitinous covers left behind serve as attracting markers for these insects, as Wired cites Gerhard Gries and other researchers from the Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada.

Wired also specifies that the last component is sensed by bed bugs only upon contact. Histamine, the same chemical produced by our white blood cells as part of the human immune response, acts as an ‘arrestant’ in combination with the other chemical blend. It makes the bed bugs stop walking and nestle in.

The scientists have demonstrated great courage by letting the insects feed on their blood. However, the bitten researchers have given the world hope for creating a new bed bug attractant that is more effective than any source of carbon dioxide. The future will show whether this ambition will be realized.

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