2013-08-06

Co.Exist

Got Bed Bugs? Use This New, Cheaper, More Effective, DIY, Low-Cost Trap To Find Out

If you suspect you might be unlucky enough to have the critters, you can buy an expensive test, or you can follow these instructions to make one yourself that both costs less and works better.

What has six legs, lives on blood, and strikes fear into the hearts of mattress-owners everywhere? According to the National Pest Management Association, bed bug infestations peak during the summer months, and some 99.6% of exterminators have seen at least one in the past year. They’re also expensive as hell, and notoriously difficult to treat, let alone detect.

For those of you who cross the street to avoid old couches propped up against a fire hydrant, here’s something for you: A new bed bug trap described in a Rutgers University study and published in the Journal of Economic Entomology shows that it’s fairly simple to set up a more effective and cheaper bed bug monitor than what’s currently on the market—and you can likely get most of the ingredients from your local drug store.

Changlu Wang, an entomologist at Rutgers University and assistant extension specialist, found a set-up proven more than twice as effective as bed bug detection kits currently on the market. His team needed to create a source of carbon dioxide, which bed bugs are attracted to, so they used a combination of sugar, yeast, and water to generate the gas. (Other bed bug detection tools, Wang explained, often use expensive carbon dioxide cylinders, or dry ice—which is effective, but dangerous to touch.) With that mixture placed in a retrofitted dog bowl, Wang’s team also lined the trap with black surgical tape to make the trap more attractive to the bugs and easier to climb.

"Bed bugs are very, very hungry. Once you enter the room, you breathe CO2, and within a few minutes the bed bugs become active and look for you," Wang explains. "They just follow the CO2 concentrations until they locate you. The CO2 released from yeast is identical—the only difference is humans release chemical odors," he said.

The dog bowl trap, they learned, was 2.8 times more effective than ClimbUp, a $35 competitor.

Wang added that cost was important when considering that the elderly often experience bed bug infestations, but are less sensitive to the bites and less likely to report them. He’s also found significant infestations in public housing. "Last night, we did a survey in a housing complex. We found more than 150 apartments with bedbugs. Some places have very high levels of infestations, people just don’t realize they’re there," he said.

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1 Comments

  • Dahai Dong

    Most
    people only know how to protect mattress, but don’t know how to protect
    sleeping people. Google "Bed Sized Bed
    Bug Trap". The trap protects you when you sleep at trap center as
    inaccessible CO2 bait. Here is an IQ test: Do you need mattress and box spring
    encasements if bed bugs can’t crawl to top surface of bed?

    More than
    99% bed bug feeding time is at night. They can’t get blood when people at the
    trap center. Bed bugs must crawl every night without dormant until starve
    because they detect source of CO2 and blood.

    It was
    difficult to get rid of bed bugs because people suffer endless cycles of
    feeding, laying up to 300 eggs/bug, and killing. Any method requiring multiple
    treatments is poor because each new bite means many new eggs and trigs the
    endless cycles.

    It is
    easy to get rid of bed bugs now because bed sized trap breaks down the endless
    cycles and achieves no more bites forever at negligible daily effort. If you
    doubt such a high efficiency, sleep in a bathtub (too slippery to crawl) as
    first night no more bites and then compare functions of bed sized trap and
    bathtub.