They will definitely suck your blood, but they shouldn't drain your wallet. That’s the message from University of Florida insect researchers who have developed a bedbug trap that costs consumer less than $1 to build.
"Having low cost bedbug control is a must," said Roberto M. Pereira, Ph.D., Associate Research Scientist at the University of Florida.
Pereira works in a lab that is positively crawling with pests – cockroaches, termites, flies, mosquitoes, and bedbugs among them.
"It's very creepy for someone that's not used to it," Pereira said.
The trap UF entomologists have designed for do-it-yourself construction is remarkably simple and intended to rest beneath bedposts. Essentially, it’s two plastic containers (the first smaller than the second) placed inside of one another.
"We want to have a mote between the two containers,” Pereira said. “Like a castle."
The secret ingredient is a common household item: ordinary masking tape.
Pereira wraps the tape around the edges of the exterior container, then adds vertical strips to the interior of the smaller container. And that’s about it.
"The tape serves as a place for the bed bugs to climb," Pereira explains, noting that bed bugs tiny legs are unable to traverse the slick plastic edges of kitchen containers.
So, those bedbugs that approach your mattress can be lured up the outer walls and into the mote; bedbugs that are inside your bed can also be lured down the bedpost, into the smaller container, and then into the mote.
Pereira adds baby powder to ensure the bedbugs travels cease.
“Eventually they will die," he said.
If they don't, Pereira said soapy water will kill them.
LINK: Directions for making your own bed bug trap
As he slides out a plastic tub teeming with hundreds of cimex lectularius, bedbugs' scientific moniker, Pereira explains that bedbugs are less of a public health threat than many of us believe.
"Bedbugs are not known to transmit any disease," he said. Except for rare cases where people suffer an allergic reaction to their bite, Pereira said a bedbug's nocturnal feast on your blood is usually painless -- and often undetected.
Still, entomologists like Pereira insist the bedbug population is growing -- and in need of regulation. He says families that need low-cost pest control can use UF's quirky method to build a trap and pay mere pennies for protection.
"It’s not even a dollar," he said.