How to Make Rutgers University’s Bed Bug Trap/Monitor

In this video we explain how to make the Rutgers University bed bug trap. It’s very easy to assemble using common household items and dry ice. And it’s proven to be more effective than many commercially available bed bug traps on the market today. You can read the full Rutgers’ study here, including how their trap stacks up against others.

Purpose of a Bed Bug Trap/Monitor

It’s important to realize that bed bug traps (also called bed bug monitors) are not designed to eradicate a bed bug infestation. In other words, you are not using a bed bug trap to catch all the bed bugs in a residence and thus rid your residence of them.

Rather, bed bug traps are used to confirm if you have an infestation. Bed bugs are so small and hide so well, it can be difficult to spot them. Often the first sign of bed bugs is itchy red spots (bed bug bites) without actually seeing a live bed bug. (See our article on identifying bed bug bites.) A bed bug trap is a way to catch bed bugs and thus get visual confirmation that there is, in fact, a problem.

Supplies You Will Need

1. Dish or Pan With a Slick Interior Surface
The Rutgers’ study uses an upside down cat feeder as the base for the trap. The cat feeder works well because of the slick interior surface that bed bugs can’t climb, but it is not necessary to use a cat feeder.

Any bowl or pan with a slick interior surface will work because bed bugs won’t be able to climb it. Teflon pots work fine because bed bugs can’t climb the slick teflon.

In the video, we use a white ceramic dish because the darker colored bed bugs will be easier to spot against the white color of the dish then, say, a black teflon surface.

But, again, any plastic, metal, glass, ceramic or teflon bowl with a smooth, slick interior surface will work. Bed bugs can’t climb such smooth, nonporous surfaces.

Keep in mind it’s best that the sides of the bowl or dish be at 90 degree angles just to be absolutely certain that the bed bugs can’t climb out–although sides that angle out slightly should be okay, too.

2. Paper and Tape
Paper is taped to the sides of the dish to create ramps for the bed bugs to walk up into the trap. (Bed bugs can easily climb paper and other surfaces that have some texture or are porous.)

3. An Insulated Beverage Jug
This is used to hold the dry ice.

4. Dry Ice–the Bait!
Bed bugs are attracted to human body warmth and to CO2 gas, which is part of what we breath out.

Dry ice is frozen CO2 gas. When it melts it does not turn into a liquid but turns into CO2 gas. The bed bug sense this CO2, thinks it’s coming from a human (i.e., a potential meal) and is attracted towards it. This is the bait for the trap!

Dry ice can be purchased at some grocery stores. We purchased the dry ice in this video at Walmart.

Take care when handling dry ice. You cannot handle it with your bare hands–it is so cold it will burn you. You must use gloves or tongs when handling it.

Questions? Contact us.

If you have any questions about this bed bug trap or any other bed bug related questions, feel free to contact us here. We will do our best to answer your questions.

Posted by Andrew Havlis