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It’s not uncommon these days to discover that whilst you have been patiently counting sheep, some mysterious creatures are lying in the shadows, waiting for you to drop off to sleep. Bed bugs are the bane of many a household and getting rid of them can be expensive.
But just how easy is it make your own version of a DIY bed bug trap and how effective are they? Below I will explain how to make your own bed bug traps and discuss whether their promise lives up to their hype.
DIY bed bug traps
I am one of those people who firmly believe that you get what you pay for. I am also highly sceptical when it comes to trying ‘alternative’ methods, however, having spent a fortune treating hundreds of bed bug infestations using steamers, cleaners, powders and sprays as a pest control expert, I was interested to give making my own traps a try.
How do DIY bed bug traps work?
Bed bugs are attracted to us by our body heat and the carbon dioxide we exhale when we breathe. Therefore, in order to lure them away from us, it makes sense to create a trap that emits its own form of carbon dioxide.
There are many different recipes out there all claiming success, however, the one I personally found to be the most effective and easiest to make involved adding sugar with yeast and water. I used around 2 cups of granulated sugar to 2 litres of warm water (tap or bottled water is fine, as long as it does not contain any chlorine) and once mixed, I added ½ teaspoon of yeast.
How effective these DIY bed bug traps are, greatly depends on the materials used for making the trap. The smoother the outside surface the harder it is for bed bugs to climb. Therefore, I highly recommend using something with a bit of texture, such as an upturned dog bowl or a plastic bottle wrapped in kitchen roll. Whilst the outside of these are rough, the inside is slick, making it easy for the bed bugs to get in yet preventing them from getting back out.
3 Reasons why DIY bed bug traps don’t work
Whilst I did have some success with this trap – catching a few of the blood sucking critters – it was by no means an effective form of pest control and these are the reasons why: –
- Bed bugs breed at a startling rate. Even if I was lucky enough to catch hundreds each night, I would never be able to catch them all. These DIY traps also cannot capture the eggs or larvae the bed bugs lay, so once these begin to hatch the problem starts all over again.
- Once setup and frothing, the mixture will only be effective for up to 8 hours. Therefore, you need to time the making of your recipe to perfection and need to replicate it every single night.
- Humans are much more attractive to bed bugs than these carbon dioxide traps, as we also release heat through our bodies. Therefore, even if the trap is laid by your bed, these creepy crawlies will be drawn straight to us, bypassing anything that’s in their way.
What other bed bug product are available to buy?
These traps can prove effective in cases of extremely mild infestations, when time is not of the essence, or if the aim is to simply catch a few for identification purposes. If you have a bed bug problem then there are far more effective solutions you can try, all of which can be bought off the shelf.
For most people their weapon of choice to fight an infestation is an insecticide-based bed bug spray. I particularly like to use sprays that contain deltamethrin, as they are water-based and can be applied liberally to your fixtures, fittings and soft furnishings. I would also advise buying a spray with an adjustable head, making it easier for you to get into those hard to reach places.
If sprays do not seem to be solving the issue alone, then I would suggest investing in a steamer. I have covered this topic in detail in other blogs, however it is worth noting that a steamer can release heat of up to 180 degrees C (200-230 degrees F) and can penetrate the places that bed bugs like to hide. This is much more effective than regular vacuuming.
I should also point out that after treatment, it is important that you continue to maintain some preventative methods to ensure that the bed bugs have fully vacated and do not return to your property.
You could make some of your own traps (as detailed above) or alternatively purchase and place some bed bug interceptors on the legs of your furniture to catch any stragglers trying to climb back on board.
It is also important to encase your mattress to suffocate any bed bugs that may have burrowed deep into the lining.
Final thoughts on DIY bed bug traps
I can categorically state that DIY bed bug traps do not work as an effective form of eradication. They are, however, great for detecting whether you have a night pest problem.
Once identified, your best solution would be to try a powerful insecticide spray or bed bug steamer to ensure you have banished them for good.
Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of and should never be underestimated. Having dealt with them for decades, I would strongly suggest that if your problem persists you call in a professional pest control service.
Recommended reading: How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs | Detection, Treatment & Prevention