How to Detect Bed Bugs for About $11

Sep 12, 2017

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I don’t write very frequently about my various travel related fears largely because I don’t usually let those fears stop me from just using common sense and pressing forward, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have them. Not only do I get nervous on planes from time to time, but I occasionally worry about inadvertently bringing home bed bugs from hotels we visit along the way. I am extremely sensitive to bug bites of all shapes and sizes, so the last thing I would want is to bring home the beginnings of a bed bug infestation to our home.

Thanks to using hotel points and jumping on travel deals, we typically stay at nicer hotels that have the resources to hopefully have a solid bed bug mitigation plan in place, but no hotel is totally immune from dealing with a bed bug problem. In fact, if you go to some of the online bed bug registries such as BedBugs.net and the Bedbug Registry, you can find complaints even on hotels that I have personally stayed at and written about here more than once. An online bed bug complaint doesn’t have to mean that the hotel actually had bed bugs, or still has bed bugs, but sometimes where there is smoke there is fire…or in this case, blood sucking bugs.

Again, I don’t obsess over this, but it is sometimes in the back of my head when I stay somewhere, especially if I am staying a big, busy city with high density hotels such as Las Vegas or New York City. Those are the sort of high density, high turnover, big hotel populations that are more prone to bed bug problems than others.

We recently had a family trip to a very big city, New York City, and so it was perfect timing that Ortho reached out to me about their new product, the Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap a couple weeks before our trip. At first I was a bit taken aback at the idea of writing about anything related to bed bugs since it is a little outside my normal scope. However, once I thought about it, I realized a relatively inexpensive product that can detect bed bugs is actually something that those who travel a ton really may want to know about. I know I hadn’t heard of it before they reached out to me.

We received the Ortho Bed Bug Trap just before our NYC trip, and I was happy that it was small enough to stash anywhere in our bag, as the two-pack had two traps that were each about the size of a deck of playing cards.

To put the trap into use to see if your hotel room or home has bed bugs, you peel the glue card and place it on the back of the trap. Next, you press the top circular button until it clicks to release the pheromone that lures the bed bugs.

You can then place the trap under your bed and in less than an hour it will detect bed bugs, if present. You can also leave it under your bed for two weeks, occasionally taking a peek through the viewing window as shown below and cross your fingers that you don’t see any bed bugs hanging out. Bed bugs are flat, oval, reddish-brown, and about a ¼ inch long. If you do unfortunately spot a bed bug, you can shut the trap to show it to the hotel or just safely throw it away.

We were in two different hotels on our trip to New York, so we used one trap from the pack at each hotel. I didn’t expect to run into bed bugs either time, and thankfully we didn’t. That said, my husband did get a random bite or two on the second day of the trip. When he started working himself up thinking he might have encountered bed bugs, I reminded him the trap didn’t detect anything. Knowing it didn’t lure any bed bugs helped us feel more at ease about a random bite or two that was likely just a run of the mill bug from Central Park, rather than proof of a full blown bed bug problem.

Obviously a great complement to the Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap is simply using your own eyes and pulling back the sheets to examine the hotel’s mattress and box springs for bed bugs, but I’ll be honest and say that while that is a good suggestion, I just don’t always want to do that. In fact, I pretty much never do that.

If you are potentially interested in having a bed bug trap at the ready to help put your mind at ease or provide proof that there is indeed a problem, the pack of two traps costs $11.99 from major retailers or it is currently available for a bit more on Amazon.

In the unfortunate event you ever do have a bed bug problem, Ortho also has a line of bed bug treatment products… which I very much hope I never have to use myself. If you ever need it, you can learn more about their products and other bed bug treatment tips such as how to property wash, vacuum, and clean impacted areas on their website.

If you are even remotely like me, bed bugs are the sort of thing you probably don’t want to think about, much less ever have to deal with. However, just in case you ever do find yourself in need of such things, now you know one place to find them.

At the risk of getting a serious case of the creeps, have bed bugs ever been an issue on your travels? If so, how did you handle it?

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