Update (8/15/2010): Since this post was originally written, the product described below has gone to market. You can read more updated information about it here. You can purchase the Bed Bug Barrier Passive Monitor Glue Trap from US Bed Bugs, and either style is currently $6.99 per barrier (or under $28 if your bed has four feet). Note: purchasing through affiliate links such as this helps support the running of this site at no cost to you. Please see our Disclosure Policy for more on that.
The Australian show “The New Inventors”(ABC) features several new inventions in an episode, with a panel of judges choosing the best of the lot.
Inventor Tony Abrahams won episode 16 (20 May 2009) with his passive bed bug monitor, the “Bed Bug Barrier,” which either attaches above the feet of the bed, or sits under the feet of the bed, trapping bed bugs attempting to crawl up onto the bed in a glue. (Based on the placement of the glue under the rim of the device, it is not clear to me whether bed bugs would also be intercepted if they tried to crawl off a bed, rather than onto it, as would be true with the Climbup TM Interceptor.)
There’s some iffy science here (for example, I don’t think anyone can prove the inventor’s claim that bed bugs cannot harbor on a mattress encasement). One judge is concerned that bed bugs brought onto a bed via a suitcase (rather than climbling up the bed leg) will not be hindered by this tool, and this judge is apparently correct. Bed bugs can live on beds. This device will not get rid of bed bugs living in the bed frame, on the mattress, or for that matter, on chairs or in other parts of the room.
This does not mean the trap is useless, but it does mean it is not a total solution. I would like to see independent test data demonstrating the effectiveness of any bed bug monitors. And I would like to know whether bed bugs are 100% trapped while entering or leaving a bed, since from what I can see, there’s some possibility bed bugs exiting a bed could drop down without crawling on the underside (glued) region of the trap.
Clearly, the passive bed bug monitor is an idea that is blooming in lots of different forms, and time (and independent peer reviewed research, we hope!) will tell which is best.
You can read about other currently available bed bug monitors such as the Climbup TM Interceptors — which provide a barrier for bed bugs climbing onto or off of beds — here, or read about David Cain’s soon-to-be-widely-available bbalert monitors — which provide a harborage for bed bugs somewhere on the bed frame itself — here and here.
I love that a bed bug-related product won this contest. Interestingly, Tony Abrahams got the idea for this product because he was in the business of renting out accommodations to travelers. His invention beat out a device which weighs beehives and some kind of portable refrigeration/food heating device.
Let’s face it: bed bugs in the popular media are always a good thing: one of the judges notes she will change her hotel room behaviors based on this presentation (presumably, she won’t be leaving luggage on the bed anymore!) If news about the problem of bed bugs reached many other Australians via this show, that in itself is a very good thing.
Click below to watch!
Thanks to Paula for the tip!