Got bed bugs? Sometimes it can be hard to tell, but determining whether you have them may be getting easier. The Bed Bug Beacon is an inexpensive active bed bug monitor for at-home use. It looks like David James, creator of the Packtite, has come up with another winner. Like the DIY dry ice monitor developed by Changlu Wang at Rutgers, it uses CO2 to detect bed bugs, but without all the dry ice hassle.
Changlu Wang’s DIY dry ice monitor is an excellent development in bed bug detection, but there were some reasons why it may not be a great tool for everyone who is trying to figure out if they have bed bugs.
First, you have to properly locate all the materials. Dry ice is the main challenge, and buying it is not easy, convenient or cheap, as some forum users discovered. In this forum thread, user New Blood reported s/he was only able to find dry ice for sale in quantities of 10 lbs. for $20. Even if dry ice is found in ideal quantities of 3 lb. a day (at $2 a lb.), and purchased every evening, New Blood estimated it would cost around $40 a week just for the dry ice. Therefore, initial setup of the DIY dry ice monitor would take it well over $50 for the first week’s use. And you have to shop for dry ice every evening.
Second, the DIY monitor requires users to do research and carefully follow directions. The most important of which concern dry ice, which is dangerous to handle.
Like the DIY dry ice monitor, the new Bed Bug Beacon uses CO2 to detect bed bugs, and gives the DIY monitor a run for its money; the manufacturer says it will be priced under $50. However, it uses pellets which are safer for the user, and easier and cheaper to obtain. The Bed Bug Beacon is reusable and comes with enough supplies to last 2 weeks; refills cost about $10 for 3 weeks more monitoring.
In effect, it’s cheaper and easier than making your own DIY monitor with dry ice. And in tests, David James found the Bed Bug Beacon to be as effective as the DIY monitor in side by side tests. (See video below for more on the trials.)
It’s important to remember, the purpose of this tool is detecting whether you have bed bugs, or still have them after treatment. It is not a tool for controlling a bed bug population. (Neither is the DIY dry ice monitor, though some of the press on it would have you thinking so.)
Remember also that active monitors like the Beacon are always going to be competing with a live human if placed in a room where a human is sleeping. In this competition, the human has a good chance of winning. Beacons can catch bed bugs in rooms where people sleep but they may be more effective and catch samples more quickly in lighter infestations if you leave them running when you’re sleeping somewhere else (for example, a weekend away) or in an unoccupied room.
(Passive monitors may be a good alternative in occupied rooms with lighter infestations.)
You can order the Bed Bug Beacon CO2 Monitor from US Bed Bugs now (where it currently lists at $49.95 with free shipping using code BBFREE).
Note: your purchase via our link to US Bed Bugs helps support the running of this site at no cost to you; please read this site’s Disclosure Policy for more information.
Click below to watch the promotional video with information on field trials.
In case the embedded YouTube videos are not kind to you, click here.