Alternate CO2 source: would this work?(8 posts)
One of the main expenses for CO2 active monitors is the dry ice. But you can make CO2 just by mixing vinegar and baking soda.
So here's my idea: take a cheap plastic container, such as a Big Gulp cup or a cottage cheese container. Put a pinhole in the bottom. Put it on top of another container, with something like a couple popsicle sticks to hold the top one up. Put vinegar in the top one and baking soda in the bottom. Use a very small pinhole, just the tip of the pin, or the vinegar will drip too fast and you won't make CO2 very long. Putting a piece of paper over the pinhole will also slow the drip.
Such a setup would produce CO2, no question about that. But would it be useful as bedbug bait? I don't know how much CO2 it takes to attract bedbugs. If I did the arithmetic right, a pint and a half of vinegar should produce about an ounce of CO2 over the length of time it takes to drip and fizz. Dry ice baits emit quite a bit more, just because an ounce of dry ice would sublime too quickly to be useful. (Although this setup probably can't be made to drip slowly enough to go all night.) I also don't know whether the scent of vinegar would bother the bugs.
We've just started to see what we suspect are bedbug bites. We don't know for sure that we're infested at all. So a negative result from me wouldn't mean much. Anyway the ClimbUps we've ordered haven't arrived yet.
Anyone experimenting with monitors want to give this a try?
Super: You're on the right track, though I can't comment on the specifics of how much you need. The dry ice approach sounded very cool, but is impractical for most people. Forum participant David James created and marketed a CO2 device (the "Beacon") that uses a chemical reaction and runs several days on a "charge" (unlike the dry ice approach that only lasts a night).
I just did some more scratchwork. Unless there's a mistake (common in scratchwork, of course) a person exhales CO2 at about an ounce per hour. That fits with the description of the dry ice trap using a pound or so of dry ice and emitting as much CO2 as two people. Bedbugs can sense us from a fair distance, so less than we give off is probably still enough.
The recommendation for running the Bed Bug Beacon is two weeks. One Co2 cartridge lasts (I believe) almost a week.
I suspect the dry ice monitor should be running for the same amount of time to give a good chance of catching a bed bug sample.
How long would this baking soda mixture actively give off C02?
Bed bug beacon goes for at least five days and since a recently fed bed bug will not go to co2 you need to have something that gives off co2 for at least three days so they will be attracted when they become hungry again.
Vacating a room to remove the bed bugs is not a beneficial idea. With no other source of respiration detected in the domicile the bed bugs will stay right there, for a few weeks anyhow. If a bed bug can detect another source of respiration it will be attracted to that source especially when hungry. This will cause the bed bugs to move into other locations throughout the domicile.
Vacating a room during the trap and detect procedure is a great idea if you can afford it. With the source of respiration coming from the trap the bed bugs will not know that you have left. Their focus will be on the source released by the traps. This will increase the likelihood that you can trap any of the bugs left in the room.
Compare this to the trap in the room while you are in the room. There are two sources or respiration attracting the bed bugs. Some will focus on you while others go for the trap. This diminishes the effectiveness of the trap and detect. Also, there are other scents coming from the human body that attract the bed bug; and , the trap with purely CO2 may not be as convincing as the scents coming from you.
It would only emit CO2 for a few hours. The exact time would depend on how slow you make the drip and how large a container you use, but it's not going to be a set-it-and-leave-it device. You would have to refill it in order to use it on multiple days. On the other hand, it's just vinegar and baking soda, so refilling is pretty easy.
I looked at this a long time ago and concluded that the reaction from dripping vinegar (acetic acid) into bicarbonate of soda created a reaction that was too fast and always exhausted too quickly.
You actually need to find an economic way of adding baking soda to an excess of vinegar which is sadly costly at best and generally not economically viable. The reaction needs to be slow release and prolonged which is where the beacon have the application of the technology right over the higher engineered solutions.
As others have said you need to have enough time to attract a bedbug that has not fed in a while and that means 3 - 5 days luring and ideally up to 14 to be sure.
I am also not convinced it is as simple as CO2 alone and to think so may again be doing a diss service to our common foe.
I have to say that at this stage I still have the beacon as the clear winner in cost effective capture in its class for professional and amateur use. Nothing beats a human but it comes close.
This is not to say that anything is at the level where rooms can be vacated in favour of other parts of the building even if you attempt to tape isolate, vasoline and barrier you life out of existence they will find you.
Sorry I did not spot the thread earlier otherwise I could have saved you a messy kitchen.
Bed Bugs Limited
To clarify I have no financial affiliations with the bedbug beacon I just happen to think its a very smart and well thought out solution and that all available options should be considered.
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