You’re wondering if bed bug traps can, in fact, help you determine if you have an infestation. Maybe you have visually detected what could be some pest activity and you want to confirm what you have seen.
Considering that early detection of a bed bug infestation is highly desirable, traps are an easy and affordable investment and are considered to be one of the best methods – if not the best method – for detecting low-level pest activity.
And for those who only suspect an infestation, the right traps can confirm such suspicion, offering consumers a way to find these pests not only in beds, but also throughout one’s entire home.
Highly regarded by professionals, the right traps provide a safe option for uncovering a problem as well as for determining the efficacy of treatment and should be used as part of a well-devised treatment plan.
But what are your choices and what is the best option for you?
Types of Bed Bug Traps
You have the choice of three different types of traps: adhesive, mattress encasements, and interceptor cups.
Adhesive traps are fairly ineffective, but if you happen to have some on hand, you might be able to detect an infestation. Because of the poor success rate of these, we don’t recommend purchasing adhesive traps.
If you suspect bed bug activity or have positively identified infestation, mattress encasements can trap and starve bed bugs already living inside your mattress. “Bite proof” mattress covers can be purchased affordably, prices ranging anywhere from $20 – $500+.
The best option for detecting bed bug activity is purchasing interceptor cups. These traps are designed to block the path of bed bugs, trapping them, and are touted as one of the best tools for gauging bed bug activity.
Advantages of Traps
These devices are effective at early detection, which is essential for preventing an infestation from getting worse.
Traps are an easy and passive tool for detection; once in use, these traps work day and night with little additional effort required.
The traps we recommend here are chemical- and toxic-free, so they are safe to use in your household.
Using these devices can prevent terminating treatment too soon.
Disadvantages of Traps
Failure to detect bed bug activity with these devices does not mean there is not an infestation.
Some bed frames and types of furniture do not accommodate coaster-style devices.
Traps are used only used for detecting and monitoring low-level activity – they are not used to treat or eliminate the problem.
Certain adhesive traps are typically ineffective because bed bugs have alternate paths of travel they can use to bypass these.
How to Use Bed Bug Traps Properly
Bed bug traps – also known as passive interception devices – come in several styles, the most popular of which are inexpensive bowl-shaped devices that can be installed under the legs of bed frames and furniture, as well as set out throughout the home in places like hallways, doorways, entries, and other rooms of one’s home.
These devices provide a barrier for bed bugs, forcing them to be captured as they travel to and from sleeping areas. This benefits the user in several ways. First, the user can get an idea of the direction of travel, which indicates where an infestation could be based. Second, the traps inhibit bed bugs from traveling to other parts of one’s home, preventing infestation in other areas.
The textured outer area of these traps make it easy for bugs to get in, but the smooth interior and sides of the well make it impossible for bed bugs to climb out, effectively trapping the bugs.
Very little work on the user’s part is involved. One is simply required to empty, clean, and re-grease the well for continued use.
For optimal performance, make sure bed linens, tablecloths, and other fabrics do not make contact with the floor so that the only way for the bugs to travel is via the bed bug traps.
Buyer’s Guide for Bed Bug Traps
Though there are only a few options for trapping bed bugs, consumers still have choices. Here’s what to keep in mind when you are in the market for bed bug traps:
If you are using a mattress encasement, look for one that is breathable, waterproof, and comfortable to sleep on. Ensure that zippers are tightly closed – double-check that the teeth interlock completely and that rule out any possibility that bed bugs can escape.
Coaster-style traps have a “dual well” design. The inner well is what will be under your bed posts or furniture and finding bed bugs in this part of the trap indicates the pests are coming from the bed or other items you are monitoring. Finding bugs in the outer moat-like well indicates the bugs are coming from an area away from the bed. Both results are telling and assist one in determining how to treat the problem.
Additionally, you will notice that these traps have a textured outer wall so that bugs can travel in but get trapped in the smooth, slick part of the inner wells. Until recently, consumers were required to add talcum powder to the wells to prepare the surface but the latest bed bug trap designs make this step optional rather than required.
Finally, not all coaster-style traps are created equal. Some are circular, some are oval-shaped, and some are oblong and rectangular. Though all types are fairly small and can be used anywhere, you will want to get traps that fit the bed frame or furniture you will be monitoring, as well as fit the space you will be using them in.
Remember, once you have your traps, you want to include them as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan.
Use these to determine whether or not you have an infestation and also to determine whether or not any treatments you implement are effective.
Early detection can prevent a lot of unnecessary struggle and inconvenience. Taking action now is one of the smartest decisions you can make.
Best Bed Bug Traps
While there are numerous bed bug traps available on the market, here are the ones we recommend: