Itchy and painful welts on your skin; brown stains on the sheets; a musty smell in the bedroom—these warning signs could indicate a bed bug problem. However, until you catch the pests in the act, you can’t be sure. Since these bugs only come out at night, it can be difficult to find them. And, unlike dust mites, bed bugs aren’t deterred by a mattress encasement.
Luckily, there are traps specifically designed to catch bed bugs. These traps are available in different shapes, ranging from cup-style traps that capture the tiny pests in small reservoirs to glue traps that ensnare the creepy crawlies—and they work without using harmful, smelly pesticides.
This guide explains the different types of bed bug traps, shares key shopping considerations, and explores some of the best bed bug traps on the market today.
- BEST OVERALL: ECOPEST Bed Bug Interceptors – 8 Pack
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bell Trapper Insect Trap
- BEST GLUE TRAPS: Trapper Max Glue Traps
- BEST ACTIVE LURE: ASPECTEK – Trapest Sticky Dome Flea Bed Bug Trap
- BEST FOR FURNITURE: ECOPEST Bed Bug Interceptors – 4 Pack
- BEST PORTABLE: Ortho 0465705 1, 2-Pack
- BEST ALTERNATIVE: GearLight UV Black Light Flashlight
Before You Buy Bed Bug Traps
Bed bug traps help determine if a bed bug infestation actually exists. Traps alone typically can’t eliminate the issue, but they can let users know if the insects are in the home. Once you’ve established bed bugs are present, use other products, such as foggers and sprays, to proceed with extermination.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Bed Bug Traps
When looking for a trap to solve bed bug woes, consider the product’s reputation for effectiveness, the speed at which it works, and any potential safety concerns for family and pets. Read on to learn more about these important factors.
Passive vs. Active
Bed bug traps are available in two types: passive and active. Each type offers specific features and functionality.
- Passive traps don’t use bait to attract bed bugs. Instead, users place them in high-traffic areas where bed bugs eventually crawl into or over them. This type of trap can contain glue to capture these tiny menaces and bed bug interceptors to trap the bugs in a reservoir.
A cup-style passive interceptor trap sits under each leg of a bed. When bed bugs enter the cup on the way to the humans on the mattress, they become trapped. Passive traps are an attractive option because they don’t expose the home’s occupants or pets to harmful pesticides while they sleep.
- Active traps use a lure, such as chemicals, heat, or food, to attract bed bugs. These traps may require electricity and must be used for an extended period to attract and eliminate the invaders. Some active traps emit carbon dioxide—the same chemical that lures the bed bugs to humans—to coax them out of hiding and into the trap.
Bed bug traps have a slippery surface that prevents the bugs from leaving the trap’s trough after they fall in. Once the trap is full, the user simply empties and returns it to the spot under a bedpost or piece of furniture. Since these passive bed bug traps don’t include bait that eventually wears out, users can employ them indefinitely as long as they are structurally intact.
Active bed bug traps that use bait will attract bed bugs for up to 2 weeks before losing their effectiveness. Sticky traps work by trapping bugs in a sticky substance as they crawl over or through the trap. These traps will work until they are overwhelmed with bugs or dirt and dust, at which point the user must discard them.
Safety and Handling
Since bed bug traps are used primarily in bedrooms, safety is a crucial factor. Most bed bug traps don’t contain pesticides or chemicals that can harm humans or pets. These environmentally conscious traps focus on capturing the insects alive.
People generally don’t like touching trapped bed bugs. For this reason, most trap manufacturers use no-contact trap designs to capture the bugs in a tiny trough that allows the user to dump the pests outside or down the toilet.
Tips for Buying and Using Bed Bug Traps
When hunting bed bugs, consider a few important tips to help resolve your pest problem.
- Use an interceptor trap on each bedpost. These small traps work on the principle that bed bugs emerge at night and head to their food source—humans. To do so, the bugs must crawl up the bedposts, making this an ideal location to trap them.
- If you have pets, avoid traps that use bait. Bait will attract not only bed bugs but also curious pets drawn to the food smells these traps emit.
- Don’t add pesticides to bed bug traps. Since they release harmful chemicals that can be hazardous to human health, most pesticides are not suitable for bedrooms.
- Traps are not a solution. Most bed bug traps are simply early detection systems. Bed bugs can be extremely difficult to remove from a home. If the trap captures some bed bugs, it may be time to call in the pros to eliminate them.
Our Top Picks
These top picks consider all the abovementioned factors and feature innovative designs that are safe but effective at catching bed bugs. Continue reading to discover some of the best bed bug traps on the market to keep a sleeping space free of these undesirable creatures.
Sturdy construction and a well-conceived design make this cup-style bed bug trap from EcoPest an effective means of keeping bed bugs from making it onto the bed. The cup features a wide 4-inch internal diameter, making it large enough to suit most bedposts. A deep moat around the interior cup traps the bed bugs with a surface that’s too slick to crawl up, allowing them in but preventing them from climbing out.
EcoPest uses durable plastic that can withstand the weight of even larger beds without cracking or deforming. Each pack includes eight traps, enough to protect two beds, and comes in white or black.
In hospitals, hotels, and nursing homes, it takes more than just a few traps to solve a bed bug problem. This cost-effective pack of 90 bed bug traps from Bell is an excellent solution for larger capacity needs.
The glue-based traps fold into a triangle, creating a tunnel for capturing bed bugs and other insect nuisances, including cockroaches and spiders. Each trap can catch a large volume of bed bugs before requiring replacement.
These sticky traps don’t use chemicals or release fumes, making them safe for use in bedrooms. When the trap is full, simply dispose of it and set out a new one.
Unlike other glue-based bed bug traps, this 12-pack of traps from Trapper Max uses bait to draw in the bugs. Each trap is infused with the smell of peanut butter, which helps attract more bed bugs. Once filled with trapped bugs, simply throw the glue trap away.
Use these traps flat or fold them into a tunnel to prevent dust and dirt from collecting on them. While the peanut butter smell attracts bed bugs, it’s likely to attract other pests as well, including mice and other insects. For that reason, these traps are not a good option for individuals with curious pets who may also be drawn to the smell.
Bed bugs are attracted to the warmth of the human sleepers they feed on. This Trapest dome-style trap from ASPECTEK, which features an electrically powered light bulb that mimics body heat, attracts both bed bugs and fleas. Once inside the dome, the bed bugs become stuck to the adhesive on the trap’s floor.
The trap, which plugs into any standard outlet, is odorless and free of pesticides, making it a safe option for bedrooms. Once the trap is full, simply remove and replace the sticky insert. The light bulb is also replaceable.
Large couches and overstuffed chairs can be magnets for bed bugs. However, due to their equally large feet, oversize furniture requires a trap with bigger dimensions. Luckily, EcoPest offers a larger version of its cup traps for beds. This four-pack includes square-shaped traps with an internal cup that measures 5 by 7 inches, plenty of space for the feet of larger furniture.
As with the brand’s round bed bug interceptors, these EcoPest traps work by allowing bugs to crawl into the deep well that circles the rim of each cup. The slippery sides of the well then prevent the bugs from crawling out. These cups are made from durable high-grade plastic that won’t crack under the heavy weight of large furniture.
Whether at home or traveling, part of solving a bed bug infestation is first identifying if there’s a problem in the first place. While this two-pack of traps from Ortho won’t kill bed bugs or prevent them from reaching their victims, it serves as an excellent early detection system by trapping any bed bugs that happen by. These traps use a lure that attracts bed bugs for up to 2 weeks. Its small size makes it an excellent option for throwing in a suitcase to check hotel rooms for bed bugs.
Once the bed bugs enter the trap, they can’t leave. If bed bugs end up in the trap, users know it’s time to treat the room for an infestation. The traps also serve to determine if users have solved a bed bug issue after treating the room.
Bed bugs are notoriously hard to spot, predominantly because they only appear in the dark and are small and adept at hiding in cracks and crevices. This blacklight flashlight from GearLight illuminates bed bug activity, making it a great option for early detection. The light will not cause bed bugs to flee, but instead makes them easy to spot.
This flashlight features 100 powerful LED lights, durable aluminum housing, and a rubberized grip. Its broad face produces a wide light beam for maximum visibility. In addition to detecting bed bugs, the flashlight is also helpful for identifying pet stains. It takes six AA batteries (not included).
FAQs About Bed Bug Traps
If you’re still looking for more information about bed bug traps, check out these answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Q. How long do bed bug traps last?
It depends on the type of trap. Cup-style bed bug traps that fit under bedposts are reusable and will last a long time. However, sticky traps may become full in a day or two, requiring frequent replacement.
Q. What should I do with bed bugs that are caught in a trap?
Bed bugs will eventually die when stuck in a glue trap, after which you can simply throw out the trap. Live bed bugs shouldn’t be allowed to fight another day. Flush them down the toilet, or, if you’d rather take a more humane approach, dump them outdoors far from your home.
Q. Why am I not catching bed bugs in my traps?
In an ideal world, a bed bug trap doesn’t appear to be working because you don’t have any bed bugs to catch. If you’re fairly certain bed bugs are present, you may not be placing the traps in the correct spot. Remember, bed bugs are attracted to their victims. With this in mind, place the traps in areas that are likely to see bed bug traffic at night.
As pests go, bed bugs are among the more cringeworthy creepy crawlies with which to contend. They can cause painful bites and rashes. And, since they only come out in the dark, catching these little buggers can be a challenge.
Fortunately, the best bed bug traps are an effective solution for combating these nocturnal bloodsuckers. Those with simple cup designs are not only easy to use but are also safe to use since they don’t use any pesticides or hazardous chemicals. Plus, since they also don’t use lures or bait, it’s safe and convenient to keep these cup-style traps in place as a stopgap even after you’ve eradicated the bed bug infestation.