Make a Bedbug Trap for $1 Using Household Items
You can make an effective and safe bedbug trap without using pesticides.
Ticks resemble little bumps on skin, but a closer look reveals the barbed mouthpart (hypostome) that's inserted in human flesh and can't easily slip out. Dania Richter of the Technical University of Braunschweig watched, under very high magnification, ticks using other mouthparts to pierce skin, generating “a toehold,” before a breaststroke-like action pulled in the barbed hypostome. The study is published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
S. Turner, UC Riverside
This scanning electron micrograph image of a southern house mosquito (foreground) makes evident the straw-like mouthpart used to suck human -- and other -- blood. The red and black additions highlight smelling activity. It’s believed that a mosquito can smell a person from 100 feet away.
Spiders in the genus Loxosceles, including the brown recluse, are among the few common spiders whose bites can seriously hurt people. Greta Binford, an associate professor of biology at Lewis and Clark College, recently studied the spiders, including the one shown here from South America. The spider bites can cause our skin to die. "Our bodies are basically committing tissue suicide," she explained. "That can be very minor to pretty major, like losing a big chunk of skin. The only treatment in that case is usually to have a skin graft done by a plastic surgeon."
Older workers within a rainforest termite species,
, have built-in “explosive backpacks” that become bigger and more deadly over time. The blue in this image -- showing several workers and a soldier termite -- is actually a sack of toxic blue liquid. Jan Šobotnik at Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Prague found that worker termites could explode this toxin onto enemies during suicide missions that help their colonies.
Entomologist Michael Caterina and his team studied clown beetles, which munch on fly larvae found in decomposing bodies He snapped this shot, which shows one such beetle’s mandibles. It’s apparently a bug-eat-bug world, even in the remains of the deceased.
Slimy slugs are the bane of gardeners, but a recently discovered slug species makes others seem tame. The ‘ghost slug,’ found in Cardiff, Wales, lives on land, is carnivorous and possesses blade-like teeth. It’s out all year round -- not just on Halloween.
Sam Droege, Flickr
This fly was photographed after it became stuck in a glob of hand sanitizer, so it was likely frozen in this image seconds before its demise. The photo reveals the fly’s compound eyes, which have the fastest visual responses in the animal kingdom. The tongue-like proboscis is also sticking out.
Leeches are predominantly bloodsuckers that feed on blood from humans and other animals. When leeches bite into a victim, their saliva prevents blood from clotting, causing victims to bleed from the wound for hours. The good news is that this effect has beneficial microsurgery applications, such as helping doctors reattach tiny veins.
David Hughes, Penn State University
The zombie-ant fungus invades an ant’s brain, causing the insect to march to its death at a mass grave near the ant colony. The fungus winds up the winner, since it then erupts via spores that come out of the ant’s head. A parasitic fungus, however -- the white and yellow material in this image -- can castrate the zombie-ant fungus, allowing the ant to live.
Linda Tanner, Flickr
Photographer Linda Tanner spotted this black widow spider in an old, dark barn, heading for a front porch. Black widows are very common, and are often found in garage door slats, hiding in dark corners, under woodpiles and in other places in and around homes. Usually they mind their own business, focusing on their insect prey, but their venom can cause human victims to experience nausea, muscle aches and paralysis of the diaphragm, which can lead to breathing difficulties.
An effective bedbug trap can be made at home using about a dollar’s worth of common household items, according to its clever team of inventors from the University of Florida.
Bedbugs are sinister parasites that often live in mattresses and other bedding, waiting for human victims to come and snooze. Once the person is asleep, the insects pierce the unsuspecting person’s skin with their mouthparts and suck out blood.
Bedbugs might be in your bed and other furniture without you even knowing it, as the bites could be confused for mosquito bites or a rash.
To see if bedbugs are present, or to catch them if you know you have an infestation, all you need to make a single trap are two disposable plastic containers, masking tape and glue, according to Phil Koehler, UF/IFAS urban entomology professor. Once constructed, the traps catch and collect the bugs when they try to travel between people and the places where bedbugs hide, he said.
“This concept of trapping works for places where people sleep and need to be protected at those locations,” Koehler said in a press release.
Here’s what to do in five easy steps (and the fifth step is optional):
Step 1: Cut four pieces of rough-surfaced tape. Each piece should be at least as long as the wall of smaller container is tall.
Step 2: Evenly space and firmly press the four pieces of tape vertically on the inside surface of the smaller container. The tape allows the bugs to escape the small container easily and fall into the space between the small and the large container wall, where they are trapped, the researchers explain.
Step 3: Wrap tape around the exterior of the larger container from the base to its upper edge so the bedbugs can enter the trap easily.
Step 4: Glue the smaller container onto the center of the bottom of the larger container.
Step 5: The traps work best if you apply talc, including baby powder, to the space between the small and large container walls to make it harder for the bugs to escape.
The following video explains the process:
Many people use incorrect methods to treat bedbugs. Sometimes these methods lead to problems that are worse than the bedbugs themselves. Koehler advises against using flammable liquids, mothballs, treating mattresses with pesticides and using bug bombs.
Koehler’s cheap and pesticide-free version is effective and nearly foolproof.
“It’s really hard to mess this up to the point that you’d hurt anything,” he said.
Bedbugs are a big problem nationwide. An April 2013 survey by the National Pest Management Association showed that nearly every pest management professional, 99.6 percent, had encountered a bedbug infestation during the prior 12 months.
Nearly half, 49 percent, said infestations occur mostly in the summer, so bedbug season is nearly upon us. Because more people tend to travel and relocate during the summer, it’s possible more of them unknowingly bring bugs home or discover them soon after moving, according to the pest management group.
Bedbugs are becoming more resistant to pesticides, entomologists warn. Treatments can run about $3,000 for a single-family home or $1,200 for a low-income apartment.
This simple and cheap-to-make trap means that nearly anyone can help to get rid of pesky bedbugs. Prepare to spend an afternoon making them, though. Koehler and his team estimate that a typical three-bedroom home would need about 50 traps to go under each leg of furniture — such as beds, sofas and chairs. The traps might not add much to your home’s décor, but at least they get the job done.
Photo: A bedbug prepares to bite its victim. Credit: Jiří Humpolíček, Wikimedia Commons