Itchy and sore skin rash, bedsheets covered in tiny brown stains, and a musty odor filling the room are a few signs that may point to bed bug infestation calling the need for bed bug traps.
However, before you can start any treatment, you will need to confirm the existence and assess the scope of the problem.
Bed Bug Trap Buyer’s Guide: Things to Know Before Purchasing One
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are a type of tick. There are a number of different varieties, with the common bed bug and the tropical bed bug being the varieties that humans tend to encounter.
Flat, brown and with a rounded body, an adult bed bug grows to a length of 7 millimetres (or a quarter of an inch). The bed bug is a parasite and feeds on your blood. Yes, it’s gruesome, but it would take a great number of them to get much out of you!
They do not have wings, and nor can they jump, but they are very resilient. A bed bug can live a long time without feeding – several months, in fact – and it is believed that in recent years they have become more resilient to pesticides.
We’ll be honest: if you have a bed bug infestation, they are going to take a lot of getting rid of. So, where do bed bugs hide? The answer is anywhere that makes it difficult for you to find them!
In the creases of clothes and furniture, the cracks in walls or wood furnishings, behind wallpaper and in other dark places where they are able to live undetected.
However, their most popular place is your bed and its fittings: the little covered parts of the mattress, the pillow, the covers and anywhere close enough to the food source – that being you!
The bed bug feeds at night – although they are not strictly nocturnal, it’s simply when you’re most accessible. They insert a tiny proboscis into your skin and feed on your blood for about ten minutes, then that’s a bug fed for a few weeks.
Given the above scenario, surely you’ll only get bitten every few weeks? Wrong: remember there’s not just one bed bug, there are many thousands of them! Let’s talk more about how do bed bugs travel, where do bed bugs hide, and how to find them.
How Bed Bugs Travel?
International travel is the culprit. Since affordable air travel came onto the scene the bed bug has decided it likes to travel. In fact, a suitcase full of clothes that is carried on an aircraft for a few hours is a perfect transportation method for bed bugs. Their prevalence in America in the last half century has become legendary.
Before we tell you all about these annoying yet strangely fascinating creatures, a couple of myths to dispel: the first is that bedbugs in a home are not a sign of a dirty or poorly kept home.
They don’t distinguish cleanliness and may have been brought in by a visitor. The second is that bed bugs are actually harmless in most instances, with only irritating bites and some allergic reactions to worry about.
Where do Bed Bugs Hide?
As we said above, the bed bug's favourite place is your bed where it can feed on you merrily at night. So bedbugs on mattress is a common thing. Scientists have concluded that the creatures are attracted to the warmth of your body, the carbon dioxide you emit, and the moisture of your bed.
It has been discovered that while an adult bed bug can crawl as far as 100 feet in a night, they will usually rest within 8 feet of you. So one answer to where to look for bed bugs: not far from where you sleep.
Finding Bed Bugs
How to find bed bugs? Look for the tell-tale red marks on your arms, neck, shoulders or face – the exposed parts of your body while you sleep – that will most likely itch quite badly.
The surest way to detect bed bug activity in your room is to use specialized glue traps, mattress encasements, or bed bug interceptors. These are efficient and 100% pet-safe methods that will allow homeowners to spot bed bugs and find their exact location throughout the house.
The correct type of bed bug traps can not only help you diagnose a problem but also determine how the chosen treatment option is working, which is why such devices should always be used in the context of a bigger, orchestrated elimination plan.
This post tells about the three most reliable solutions you can use when trying to confirm the presence of bed bugs in your home and provides some helpful tips and recommendations on how to choose the very best animal friendly bed bug trap on the market.
Look in the folds in your bed especially, the mattress in particular, and you should see the tiny yet noticeable creatures hiding there, waiting for the next opportunity to feed. Now you need to get rid of them.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
A good vacuum should help - see the recommendations of the best vacuum for bed bugs, which may be a small hand-held model you can use accurately and precisely – and there are other things you can do too. Reduce clutter where you find bed bugs, so you take away the places they have to hide.
The resistance to pesticides we have already mentioned, so that’s not a route to attempt, but what you will need to do is get rid of any heavily infested furnishings – especially mattresses – as you will find it almost impossible to make them usable again.
If you wish, you can call in a professional insect exterminator with experience of bed bug removal. One method that is said to work is to heat a room momentarily to a high temperature – 122 F – which has been found to kill them.
If your infestation is not heavy, freezing infected items for a few days may also kill them. Prevention is always best, but as you may not be the one who brings the creatures to your home it can be difficult to achieve.
Care taken when returning from abroad or a stay in a guest house or hotel is essential, and will go some way to help.
Different Types of Bed Bug Traps
Before you start shopping for a bed bug trap, let us see what your choices are and determine which option will work best for you. All bed bug traps can be categorized as active or passive.
Active traps that use different kinds of lure like food, heat, or chemicals tend to be more efficient in attracting pests but can pose some sensible danger to your house pets.
Passive traps are safer for your domestic animals as they do not have bait for bed bugs. Instead, such devices physically ensnare the little invaders whenever pests happen to stumble upon them.
There are three trusted types of passive bed bug traps available today – mattress encasement systems, glue-based traps, and interceptor cups, each having unique benefits and downsides.
Glue-based or Adhesive Traps
Glue-based or adhesive traps are the least effective of the three options but can still be relied on to show you that you might have a bed bug infestation problem.
When placed in the areas where there is high bed bug traffic suspected, these traps can capture some number of the tiny intruders and keep them glued for you to confirm the problem and assess its extent. However, adhesive traps will be of little help when it comes to eradication.
Given its low efficacy, we do not recommend investing in an adhesive trap as your primary and sole method of bed bug infestation detection. However, if you happen to already have one at home, using it may provide some benefits.
Mattress encasements are a more suitable choice of passive bed bug traps, with a much higher success rate. This trap type will not only help you spot a bed bug problem but can also be used to deal with it.
Bite-proof mattress encasement systems made of polyurethane-lined fabric or vinyl will capture the nasty pests inside the mattress and starve them to death after some time. They also create an impenetrable barrier for the bugs seeking to set up residence within your bed.
We recommend using mattress encasements as a safe and effective bed bug monitoring and elimination tool. These systems will unlikely be able to cope with a massive infestation problem but can stop the low-level bed bug activity from worsening.
Choose the cover that is bite-proof, water-resistant, and breathable and stay away from products with zippers that do not close fully or have wide teeth, for this is how the bugs will get in.
Interceptor cups are the best and most reliable method of spotting and evaluating the size of the unwanted bed bug activity in your home. Designed to capture the tiny pests on their move from hideouts to food sources, these devices prevent bed bugs from ever escaping the trap.
By placing a cup-style reservoir under each bedpost, you will soon be able to tell if you are dealing with an infestation and choose your fighting-back strategy more effectively.
While a practical detection tool, interceptor cups cannot contain the problem or eliminate it. We highly recommend using those when you need sure proof of the increasing bed bug activity before calling professional pest eradication services.
Pros and Cons of Using Passive Bed Bug Traps
If applied correctly, the above pest detection and control products can help you deal with the bed bug infestation problem more quickly and safely.
To see if you should invest your money in purchasing one of the said traps, let us sum up their main advantages again:
- These devices can serve as an efficient early detection tool for confirming the bed bug problem in your home.
- Passive traps can help you assess the scale of the bed bug infestation problem. They can also make it clear which treatment measures need to be taken and how soon.
- If used as part of a larger, well-devised treatment plan, these traps can help evaluate the success of the actions taken and prevent the too early termination of your treatment efforts.
- Passive bed bug traps are chemical-free devices that are 100% safe for your pets and other house occupants.
- The use of such devices does not require any additional effort on your part. Once installed, passive bed bug traps start working immediately and continue to do their job day and night until you remove or replace them.
- In their majority, such traps are very affordable and can be purchased regularly and in large numbers without exhausting your family budget.
With the clear benefits of using different types of passive bed bug traps, there come a few disadvantages. We will go over the most noticeable ones to help you decide if such traps are a good idea for you:
- The above devices are not 100% efficient. Their failure to detect the presence of bed bugs in your house does not mean there is no such activity going on.
Bed bugs are smart insects that often have alternate travel routes and can easily avoid being captured.
- Bed bug traps can only help you identify the problem and assess its scale. They are mostly inefficient when it comes to treatment or extermination.
- Some of the best passive traps that can offer you impressive results like bite-proof, breathable mattress encasement systems can cost up to $500.
Yet, they do not guarantee a lasting solution to the massive house infestation problem.
Choosing a Reliable Passive Bed Bug Trap
While the number of effective bed bug trapping and monitoring tools is somewhat limited, homeowners still have options to choose from.
When shopping for a reliable passive bed bug trap, consider the following parameters: the reputation for performance effectiveness, the speed at which the device can achieve measurable results, its safety for pets and other house occupants.
Let us take a closer look at each of the three factors:
1. Performance Efficiency
While they are almost equally effective in monitoring the bed bug infestation situation, none of the devices listed above can eliminate the problem of pests in your house by themselves.
Some can simply provide a more conscious and lasting effort in doing so than others. Which type of passive trap to buy will depend on your immediate goals.
Thus, if you want to put some urgent control measures in place, you should opt for a mattress encasement system rather than setting an interception cup under your bed.
However, if you only want to detect the problem and assess its size, even a simple DIY adhesive trap will do just fine.
2. Speed of Work
The best bed bug traps are the ones that can offer you persuasive results quickly and with little involvement on your part.
All the three types of traps for bed bugs described above can work independently and nonstop, requiring little maintenance effort from you.
3. Safety for Pets and House Residents
Passive bed bug traps are often the first choice for considerate pet owners since these devices do not rely on toxic chemicals or electricity to attract the nagging insects.
All the products featured here are 100% animal-friendly and can be used in a household with pets.
How to Install Passive Bed Bug Traps Correctly?
If installed in all the right places, passive interception devices can benefit homeowners in many ways. Firstly, they will help you detect the problem in its early stages and take timely measures to prevent it from growing in size.
Such traps inhibit the spreading of bed bugs to the areas of your house, which are not yet infested. Additionally, passive traps will provide a clear understanding of the pests’ travel patterns.
Knowing how these intruders move around your house will let you eventually locate their hideout places and take more efficient steps towards their complete eradication.
The best places for installing passive interception devices are under the bedposts and furniture legs, in the doorways, entries, and hallways.
When setting a trap, make sure that no linens, tablecloths, or other textured materials are contacting the floor to prevent bed bugs from using them as a climbing surface.
Tips for Buyers and Users of Bed Bug Traps
Here are a few crucial takeaways worth remembering that will help you shop for and use bed bug traps to the best advantage:
- When using a mattress encasement system, pick the one that is breathable, water-resistant, and bite-proof. Make sure its zippers close tightly, and its teeth are not too wide apart so that it does not let any bed bugs crawl inside.
- When placed under your bedposts or furniture legs, traps featuring a “dual well” design can help you determine the direction from which the pests are traveling.
If you find these insects trapped inside the inner reservoir, it is safe to conclude that they are coming from the bed or other furniture.
Spotting the pests in the outer well will indicate they are moving towards the monitored item from elsewhere.
- Do not rely on passive bed bug traps to solve the problem or even contain it effectively. Their main goal is pest detection, so no matter how many traps you set, they will still not be enough to handle a massive infestation problem.
If you are confident that you are dealing with bed bugs, call professional extermination services.
- Do not try to make passive bed bug traps more lethal by adding toxic chemicals to them. Doing so will not solve the problem in its entirety but can potentially have undesired health consequences for you or your house pets.
- Even if you have no reason to believe your house is being invaded by bed bugs, you should still install a few passive traps under and around your furniture and check those regularly.
This way, you can detect the problem early on and take adequate measures to contain further escalation.
The Problem Exists, What Is Next?
If you are confident that your home is severely infested with bed bugs, the wisest way to resolve the issue is to call professional pest control services.
These people are skilled and equipped to handle infestation problems of any scale and complexity and know well how to make sure every house resident, including pets, is safe and unharmed.
Wrapping Up Our Bed Bug Traps Guide
If the money is tight, you may try to deal with the threat on your own. For this, consider purchasing a powerful commercial pesticide that meets your unique needs and budget restrictions best. However, before applying it, read the instructions carefully to know how to use the product safely.
Have you ever faced a bed bug infestation problem in your house? What helped you detect and treat it? What brands of commercially available pesticides do you trust? You are welcome to share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below!