Bed bugs can be detected using homemade interceptor bed bug traps

by nobugsonme on May 28, 2014 · 8 comments

in bed bug monitors

Think you have bed bugs? Short on cash? Commercial bed bug traps (such as those in our FAQ on bed bug monitors) can cost $20 per bed or more.

The University of Florida has now produced a helpful video explaining how consumers can construct homemade interceptor bed bug traps.

(Click here to view the video if you don’t see it above.)

Bed bug traps, including interceptor or pitfall monitors of this type, can help determine if you have bed bugs before treatment, and help determine whether bed bugs are gone during and after treatment.

Of course, lots of people have made their own interceptor-style monitors. However, if you’re going to do it, there are some pitfalls (see what I did there?) and it’s best to learn from the experts.

Note that calling this type of monitors “bed bug traps” as the University of Florida folks are doing does not mean you are likely to catch all your bed bugs and eliminate a problem in this way (as the word “trap” may suggest). We usually prefer the term “monitor” to “trap” for this reason.

If you have bed bugs, in most cases you will need thorough treatment to eliminate the problem. The exception will be if you had a very new problem and small number of bed bugs, and got lucky in the sense that they happened to all walk through the monitor and get stuck. That might happen, but don’t count on it.

Note also that interceptor traps are not your only option and their use is — like so many things in the bed bug world — not without controversy.

Be sure and read our FAQ on bed bug monitors, which goes into some of the pros and cons of interceptor monitors and other monitoring methods.

Links updated 1/2019

1 P Bello May 28, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Nice job Rebecca, an affordable solutions such as this are needed by many folks !


2 NotSoSnug May 29, 2014 at 6:56 pm

It’s great these folks have worked up a DIY solution. But car polish?

Of the dozens of folks I know with vehicles, brand new or otherwise, not one has car polish at home. Not to forget that likely the majority of bed bug sufferers live in high density urban environments and may not even have a single vehicle.

The typical target audience for a DIY monitor, that can’t afford $20 for a pre-built one, is likely having trouble budgeting for food let alone car polish. What about the more common floor or furniture polish? Or even cheaper substitutes?

The video is encouraging but if we have to experiment to find practical substitutions then it stops being cheap or worthwhile.

3 Lou Sorkin May 30, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Talcum powder is fine. Don’t worry about the car polish.

4 Phasma Felis August 3, 2014 at 8:21 pm

NotSoSnug: It says right there in the video that (a) the car polish is optional and (b) baby powder works just as well. The video demonstrator uses powder. What’s wrong with providing an option for people who might have car polish but not baby powder?

5 Phasma Felis August 14, 2014 at 4:47 am

Important note if you don’t go with baby powder: I don’t know much about car care, but I’ve done some research and I’m pretty sure the product you want is car *wax*, not car *polish*. Here’s an lengthy article about the difference, if anyone cares:

The product shown in the video is Meguiar’s Gold Class liquid car wax. I assume any other car wax would do. I’m interested in using wax instead of baby powder because ( I assume) it won’t need to be reapplied regularly.

6 NYCDweller August 19, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Interceptor traps aren’t that expensive, and the double channel can make it easier to determine whether the bugs are outside the bed or within/on the bed or you.

Talc seems less messy (you only need to wipe a little) than wax, which will get dirtier quickly and messier to clean and replenish.

7 nobugsonme August 21, 2014 at 2:16 am

I agree– for many people who want a pitfall trap, it’s going to be a better idea just to go with the commercially available model.

Note the black interceptor-style traps — sold as LightsOut (or as BlackOut to those in the industry) — don’t even need talc, they’re just slippery. Harder to find, though.

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