Posted by USBedBugs.com on 12/16/2010
Bed bug monitors can be classified as either “active” or “passive.” A passive monitor targets the behavioral patterns of bed bugs and relies on getting in their pathway or providing a need such as a cozy place to hide. It is often coupled with glue or a mechanism they cannot escape, or a platform they leave evidence of their presence on. The term monitor and trap are often used interchangeably. While traps will indeed catch bed bugs, they are not designed to manage infestations alone. Rather, they are designed primarily to confirm the presence of bed bugs.
Active monitors which include the Bedbug Beacon and the BB Alert Active use an additional lure or “bait” such as heat, carbon dioxide, or chemicals all of which attract bed bugs to the device where they are usually trapped in glue or within some enclosure. The Bedbug Beacon relies on carbon dioxide (CO2) whereas the BB Alert Active uses heat. Research has demonstrated that current chemical lures attract more bed bugs than control, but not at a statistically significant level. There remains debate about whether heat or carbon dioxide is more effective, but researchers do know that heat is highly attractive up to about 110 degrees Fahrenheit after which it becomes a repellant. Carbon dioxide is innocuous and mimics human expiration and also works well. Monitors help people to save time and money by confirming the presence of bed bugs before consulting with a professional or having one make multiple visits.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “monitors are without a doubt a valuable addition to the options available for bed bug control. Monitors using carbon dioxide, heat, and a chemical lure have great potential.” The only peer reviewed study by (Wang et al., 2009), demonstrated that monitors were more effective than visual inspection at detecting bed bug infestations and helping to estimate the number of bed bugs.
The optimal use of active bed bug monitors is in a vacant room so that the bed bugs are not distracted by humans which are the core motivators of most bed bug behavior. The presence of humans in a room being monitored will introduce at least two variables. One, the bed bugs will be more interested in the human when they are at rest than the monitor, and two, they hide from active humans. This can lead to inaccurate results. If for any reason the room cannot be left unoccupied, than both active and passive monitors should be used in combination. This practice is still however less effective than using an active monitor in an unoccupied room.
One of the best times to use active bed bug monitors is “after treatment” as an ongoing effort to monitor for their presence. Optimally, active monitors will be placed in a vacant room for at least ten days or more post treatment to ensure success. Many experts recommend they be used for a minimum of two weeks post treatment, as eggs usually survive pesticide use and bed bugs are excellent hiders due to their size and shape. Bed bug monitors can detect if indeed eggs hatch after treatment and pesticide residues are insufficient to eliminate yet another infestation.