Everyone deserves a relaxing night’s sleep. You work all day, check off all your to-dos, and hit the bed at the end of the day so you can seize the next. Then, one dreadful morning, you wake up to red welts all over your body and brown marks all over the mattress. If this sounds like a recent experience, it means you have some unwelcome visitors: bed bugs.
No doubt, you’re feverishly looking for a quick solution so you can rest peacefully again. You might have heard of bed bug traps, but you’re not so sure about them. Do bed bug traps work? (They can, but it’s complicated.)
Dealing with bed bugs is not necessarily as easy as buying a generic trap and waiting. Do bed bug traps work? Here’s what you need to know.
How to Use Bed Bug Traps
It’s not just a question of “do bed bug traps work” but “what do I use them for?” There are several kinds of bed bug traps you can use to manage an infestation. The three primary types are lures, interceptors, and glue traps.
Lures rely on pheromones to attract bed bugs and trap them inside a container. Most lures are labelled as monitors. Monitors are traps designed to inform you if you have a bed bug problem; they are not long-term solutions. You can place these around a room and simply check if any bed bugs have been captured after a short period. Just keep in mind that these won’t solve your problem.
Interceptors are designed to go around the legs of your bed. If bed bugs are hiding in other places around the room, they’ll be forced to move across these traps before climbing the legs of your bed. Interceptors are made of plastic and feature an outer wall and inner wall. The outer wall is easily climbable. The inner wall, on the other hand, is unclimbable for the common bed bug. These traps don’t need replacing, but they don’t do anything to kill the trapped bugs. You’ll need to dispose of them yourself.
Finally, glue traps work just like interceptors in terms of placement. Just throw them around the feet of your bed. The difference here is that the surface is full of glue, trapping bed bugs indefinitely. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to replace glue traps eventually. If you’re traveling or dealing with a small group of bed bugs, glue traps are an excellent solution.
How Effectively Do Bed Bug Traps Work?
Traps are part of the equation but not the solution by themselves. This is because there are two types of bed bugs: the common bed bug and the tropical bed bug. The difference is that tropical bed bugs have more hair on their feet and excrete a sticky fluid that helps them climb.
The problem is that tropical bed bugs have been recently introduced to the United States, and they are indistinguishable from the common bed bug. Simple pitfall or interceptor traps may not be effective since tropical bed bugs might climb right out like nothing was in their way.
Another concern is that some bed bugs might be hiding in your mattress instead of different spots around the room. Bed bugs are attracted to your body heat and tend to hide away when you aren’t around to chew on. Many will sneak behind furniture, in the seams of furniture, behind loose wallpaper, etc. The smart ones hide in your mattress.
This is important because traps that anticipate bed bugs travelling up the bed’s legs won’t do anything to stop the ones in your mattress from biting you. After all, they are already where they want to be.
Is There Anything Else I Can Do?
If you suspect you have bed bugs in your home, your best bet is to try a variety of traps in combination with mattress-safe insecticide sprays. Lures and glue traps are cheap and work quickly to inform you if you have a bed bug problem or not. Once you confirm that you have bed bugs, it’s best to contact a pest professional to address the issue. This is the most effective solution to ridding your home of bed bugs.
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