Itchy and painful welts on your skin, brown stains on the sheets, a musty smell in your bedroom—all these may indicate a bed bug problem. However, until you actually 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.
Luckily, traps are specifically designed to catch bed bugs. These traps come in different shapes, ranging from cup-style traps that capture the tiny pests in small reservoirs to glue traps that ensnare the creepy crawlies. These traps work without using harmful, smelly pesticides.
This guide explores the different types of bed bug traps, explains key shopping considerations, and discusses some of the best bed bug traps on today’s market. If you suspect a bed bug issue, learn about the best bed bug traps here.
- BEST OVERALL: ASPECTEK – Trapest Sticky Dome Flea Bed Bug Trap
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bell Trapper Insect Trap
- BEST GLUE: Trapper Max Glue Traps
- BEST PASSIVE: Bug Snarer Bed Bug Trap
Types of Bed Bug Traps
Bed bug traps are available in two varieties: passive and active. Learn more about the features and functionality of each type.
Passive traps don’t use bait to attract bed bugs. Instead, they’re placed in high-traffic areas where bed bugs eventually crawl into or over them. This type of trap contains glue, which captures these tiny menaces, and interceptors, which trap the bugs in a reservoir.
Cup-style passive traps sit under each leg of a bed. When the bed bug enters the cup on its way to the humans in the bed, it’s 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 all the invaders. Some active traps emit carbon dioxide—the same chemical that lures the insects to humans—to coax the bed bugs out of hiding and into the trap.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Bed Bug Trap
When looking for a trap to solve bed bug woes, consider its reputation for effectiveness, the speed at which it works, and its safety level for family and pets. Read on to learn more about these important factors.
Both active and passive traps help determine whether a bed bug infestation actually exists. An effective trap captures bed bugs before they reach a home’s occupants. However, traps alone typically can’t eliminate the issue; instead, they let users know if bed bugs are in the home. Once it’s determined they’re present, use other products, such as foggers and sprays, to proceed with extermination.
Bed bugs come out at night, so the most effective traps work quickly while the home’s occupants are asleep. Place traps under and around the bed to catch any bed bugs active during the night.
Since bed bug traps must be used in bedrooms, safety is a crucial factor. Most bed bug traps avoid using pesticides or chemicals that can be harmful to both humans and pets. These environmentally conscious traps focus on capturing the creepy crawlies alive.
Tips for Buying and Using Bed Bug Traps
When hunting bed bugs, consider a few important tips to help resolve your pest problem.
- Use interceptor cups on the legs of the bed. These small traps work on the principle that bed bugs emerge at night and head to their food source—humans. To do so, they must crawl up the legs of the bed, making this an ideal location for trapping them.
- If you have pets, avoid traps that use bait. Bait will attract not only bed bugs but also curious pets who are 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 use in bedrooms.
- Remember that traps are not a solution. Remember, most bed bug traps are simply 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
Our top picks consider all these factors and feature innovative designs that are safe but still effective at catching bed bugs. Continue reading to discover some of the best bed bug traps on the market to keep your sleeping space free of these undesirable creatures.
Bed bugs are attracted to the warmth from the victims they attack. This Trapest dome-style trap from ASPECTEK, which features an electrically powered light bulb that mimics body heat, attracts bed bugs as well as fleas. Once inside the dome, the bed bugs become stuck to the adhesive on the floor of the trap.
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.
For hospitals, hotels, and nursing homes, you need more than just a few traps to solve a bed bug problem. This pack of 90 bed bug traps from Bell is an excellent solution for larger capacity needs. Each of these glue-based traps folds 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 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 replace it.
Unlike other glue-based bed bug traps, these traps from Trapper Max use bait to draw in the bugs. Each trap is infused with the smell of peanut butter, which helps attract more bed bugs.
Use the traps flat or fold them into a tunnel, which also prevents dust and dirt from collecting on the trap. While the peanut butter smell attracts bed bugs to the sticky surface, it’s likely to attract other pests as well, including mice and other insects. This trap is not a good option for individuals with curious pets that also may be drawn to the smell.
Bed bug traps that emit chemicals in the air or include pesticides are not attractive in a bedroom. With its simple, safe design, this passive trap from Bug Snarer is an effective option for catching bed bugs. This trap fits under the legs of a bed or other furniture. Instead of harmful chemicals, the trap uses the human body as bait. When the bugs emerge at night to climb up the bedposts, they encounter this trap, which uses a cup-shaped design that causes the bugs to crawl and become stuck in a deep reservoir.
The slick walls of the reservoir prevent the bed bugs from climbing out and reaching their victim. Since it’s free of pesticides and chemicals, this trap is safe to use in bedrooms and around children and pets. They are available in packs of four, eight, and 12.
FAQs About Bed Bug Traps
If you’re still wondering about bed bug traps, check out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Q. How long do bed bug traps last?
It depends on the type of trap. A cup-style bed bug trap that fits on bedposts is reusable and will therefore last a long time. However, a glue-style trap may become full in a day or two, requiring frequent replacement.
Q. What should I do with any bed bugs that are caught in a trap?
Bed bugs will eventually die when stuck in a glue trap, after which the trap should be thrown away. 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 you have bed bugs, 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.