Itchy and painful welts on your skin, brown spots on the sheets, a musty smell in your bedroom – all of these can indicate a bed bug problem. However, until you actually catch the pests in the act, you cannot be sure. Since these errors only appear at night, they can be difficult to find.
Fortunately, traps are specifically designed to catch bed bugs. These traps come in a variety of shapes, from cup traps that trap the tiny pests in small reservoirs to sticky traps that enclose the creepy crawling animals. These traps work without harmful, smelly pesticides.
This guide explains the different types of bed bug traps, explains key shopping considerations, and explains some of the best bed bug traps on the market today. If you suspect a bed bug problem, check out the best bed bug traps here.
- BEST OVERALL: Stingmon 16 pack bed bug trap killer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bell Trapper insect trap
- BEST ADHESIVE: Trapper Max glue traps
- BEST ACTIVE bait: ASPECTEK – Trapest Sticky Dome flea bed bug trap
- BEST PASSIVE: Bug Snarer Bed Bug Trap
Types of bed bug traps
Bed bug traps come in two varieties: passive and active. Learn more about the features and functions of each type.
Passive traps don’t use bait to attract bed bugs. Instead, they’re placed in high-traffic areas where bed bugs will eventually crawl in or over them. This type of trap contains glue that traps these tiny threats and interceptors that trap the insects in a reservoir.
Passive cup-style traps sit under each leg of a bed. If the bed bug gets into the cup on its way to the people in bed, it is trapped. Passive traps are an attractive option because they don’t expose residents or pets of the house to harmful pesticides while they sleep.
Active traps use a bait such as chemicals, heat, or food to attract bed bugs. These traps may require electricity and must be used for extended periods of time to attract and eliminate all intruders. Some active traps emit carbon dioxide – the same chemical that attracts the insects to humans – to lure 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 problems, consider its reputation for effectiveness, the speed at which it operates, and the level of safety for family and pets. Read on to learn more about these important factors.
Both active and passive traps help determine whether bed bug infestation is actually present. An effective trap catches bed bugs before they can reach residents. However, traps alone usually cannot eliminate the problem. Instead, they let users know if there are any bed bugs at home. Once they are found to be present, use other products such as fog machines and sprays to proceed with the eradication.
Bed bugs occur at night, so the most effective traps work quickly while the residents of the house are sleeping. Place traps under and around the bed to catch bed bugs that are active at night.
Since bed bug traps must be used in bedrooms, safety is a crucial factor. Most bed bug traps avoid the use of pesticides or chemicals that can be harmful to both people and pets. These environmentally conscious traps focus on capturing the creepy crawly animals alive.
Tips on buying and using bed bug traps
There are a few key tips to keep in mind while hunting bed bugs to help solve your pest problem.
- Use catch cups on the legs of the bed. These little traps work on the principle that bed bugs appear at night and get to their food source – humans. To do this, they have to crawl up the legs of the bed, which makes this an ideal place to catch them.
- If you have pets, avoid traps that use bait. In addition to attracting bed bugs, bait also attracts curious pets, who are attracted to the smells of these traps.
- Don’t add pesticides to bed bug traps. Because they release harmful chemicals that can be dangerous to human health, most pesticides are not suitable for use in bedrooms.
- Remember, traps are not a solution. Keep in mind that most bed bug traps are just detection systems. Bed bugs can be extremely difficult to remove from a home. If the trap catches some bed bugs, it may be time to seek the help of the professionals to eliminate them.
Our top picks
Our top picks take all of these factors into account and feature innovative designs that are safe, yet effective against bed bugs. Read on to discover some of the best bed bug traps on the market for keeping your sleeping space free of these unwanted creatures.
This Stingmon bed bug trap is designed to trap and kill bed bugs without the use of pesticides or requiring the user to dispose of live insects. The cardboard trap folds into a small tunnel that is lined with a sticky adhesive. If bed bugs pop up and crawl into the tunnel at night, they’ll get stuck on the glue and die.
Each cardboard tunnel is only about 20 cm long and 1 cm high, so it can slide under a bed or other piece of furniture. Once the trap is full, discard it and set a new one. Each pack contains 16 traps.
For hospitals, hotels, and nursing homes, you need more than a few traps to solve a bed bug problem. This pack of 90 bed bug traps from Bell is a great solution for larger capacity needs. Each of these glue-based traps folds into a triangle, creating a tunnel for trapping bed bugs and other insect nuisances, including cockroaches and spiders.
Each trap can catch a large number of bed bugs before it needs to be replaced. These traps do not use chemicals or release fumes, making them safe for use in bedrooms. When the trap is full, just discard and replace it.
Unlike other glue-based bed bug traps, these Trapper Max traps use bait to feed the bugs in. Each trap smells like peanut butter, which will attract more bed bugs.
Use the traps flat or fold them in a tunnel, which also prevents dust and dirt from building up on the trap. While the peanut butter odor attracts bed bugs to the sticky surface, it likely attracts other pests as well, including mice and other insects. This trap is not a good option for those with curious pets who may also be attracted to the smell.
Bed bugs are attracted to the warmth of the victims who attack them. This Trapest-dome-style trap from ASPECTEK has an electrically operated lightbulb that mimics body heat and attracts both bed bugs and fleas. Once inside the dome, the bed bugs will stick to the glue on the bottom of the trap.
The trap, which can be plugged into any standard electrical outlet, is odorless and pesticide free, 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.
Bed bug traps that release chemicals into the air or contain pesticides are not attractive in a bedroom. With its simple, safe design, this Bug Snarer’s passive trap 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 beetles emerge at night to climb the bed posts, they come across this trap which uses a cup-shaped design where the beetles crawl and get stuck in a deep reservoir.
The smooth walls of the reservoir prevent the bed bugs from climbing out and reaching their victim. Because this trap is pesticide and chemical free, it is safe to use in bedrooms, as well as around children and pets. They are available in packs of four, eight and 12 pieces.
Bed bug trap FAQs
If you’re still wondering about bed bug traps, check out the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Question: How long do bed bug traps last?
It depends on the type of trap. A cup-style bed bug trap that fits on bed posts is reusable so will last a long time. However, a glue trap can fill up in a day or two and needs to be replaced frequently.
Q. What should I do with bed bugs that are trapped?
Bed bugs eventually die when stuck in a glue trap. After that, the trap should be thrown away. Live bed bugs should not be allowed to fight another day. Flush them in the toilet or, if you’d rather be more humane, throw them outside, far from home.
Q. Why don’t I catch bed bugs in my traps?
In an ideal world, a bed bug trap doesn’t seem to work because you don’t have bed bugs to catch. If you are pretty sure you have bed bugs, you may not be placing the traps in the right place. Remember, bed bugs are attracted to their victims. So set the traps in areas where bed bug traffic is likely to occur at night.