This is really exciting. Traditionally, active bed bug monitors like the Nightwatch have cost $400 or more. Now Wan-Tien Tsai and Changlu Wang, researchers at Rutgers, have created a simple, cheap, and proven effective active bed bug monitor.
To lure the bugs out of hiding, Wan-Tien Tsai of Rutgers University in New Brunswick put dry ice into an insulated, one-third-gallon jug, the kind available at sports or camping stores. Adding 2.5 pounds of dry ice pellets and not quite closing the pour hole allowed carbon dioxide to leak out at a bug-teasing rate for some 11 hours at room temperature, she said.
She stood the jug in a plastic cat food dish with a piece of paper taped on the outside of the dish as a ramp up to the rim. The bowl’s steep, slippery inside, with an added dusting of talcum powder, kept bugs from crawling out again.
In tests in real apartments, the homemade setup detected bed bugs as well, or better, than did two brands of professional exterminating equipment, Tsai said December 16 at the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America.
The parts, including the dry ice, cost $15 and don’t require any special skills for assembly. “Everyone can do it,” she said.
Science News reports you should be able to get dry ice from beverage companies, by the pound.
If you try this, please share your stories and photos!
Tsai, Wan Tien and Changlu Wang. 2009. Comparative effectiveness of three bed bug (Cimex lectularius) monitoring devices. Presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, December 13–16.
Per the comments by Winston O’Buggy and others below, it may be best for people not to experiment with this until more detailed instructions are published (along with specific details and photos).
While the article notes a specific amount of dry ice is used in a specific type of container, it is true that most of us know little or nothing about dry ice and whether there are any safety concerns in certain circumstances, as it sounds like there may be.
I think this is very promising, but having all the details would probably be a good thing.
Jeff White of Bed Bug Central has created a helpful new video demonstrating the method and offering additional information on its use. (Note: Bed Bug Central is selling a kit for doing this, minus the dry ice. However, you can assemble your own kit based on Jeff’s demo, and he offers the additional suggestion of assembling the dry ice trap inside a large styrofoam cup on top of a Climb-Up Interceptor.)
Remember: if you attempt this method, use great care to make sure you’re doing it properly, do your research on how to handle dry ice (information Jeff does not cover in the video), and remember — as Jeff says — if you assemble this monitor and catch no bed bugs, it does not mean you do not have bed bugs. It can mean you do not have any hungry bed bugs on that day.
Click below to watch!
If you do not see an embedded video box above, click here to go to YouTube.
In this forum thread, reader NewBlood suggests these resources which may be helpful as a starting point for researching how to handle dry ice; one from Continental Carbolic, another from the CDC (this one loads a PDF).
New York vs. Bed Bugs alerts us to a new PDF outlining options for detecting bed bugs, including instructions on how to implement this dry ice monitor: “Detecting Bed Bugs Using Bed Bug Monitors,” written by Changlu Wang. You can download it for free from the Rutgers website.