How to Make Bed Bugs Come Out of Hiding

Getting bed bugs to come out of hiding

Since bed bugs are skilled hiders, people often discover what appears to be bed bug bites without finding the actual bed bugs themselves.

This can be frustrating since you don’t want to invest in an expensive or time-consuming bed bug treatment without being 100% certain that you have bed bugs in the first place. So how do you draw them out?

In this article (and video), pest expert Kevin Carrillo from MMPC explains how to make bed bugs come out of hiding so you can find and eliminate them.

How to Make Bed Bugs Come Out of Hiding

There are quite a few things out on the market that can help you make bed bugs come out of hiding. But at the end of the day, what works best is actually us.

Bed bugs are specialized insects that feed primarily and exclusively on blood. Unlike mosquitoes which actually feed on plant nectar for their sustenance, bed bugs only eat blood and so what attracts them the most is us.

As humans, we are the perfect bait for bed bugs.

The kinds of bed bug traps that you’ll find online or at the store tend to use things that just mimic us. For example, you’ll generally see plastic box-type containers with two packets inside—one that releases carbon dioxide (CO2) to simulate the exhalation of breath from a human, and another that contains kairomones. Kairomones are chemicals (similar to pheromones) that certain insects exude to communicate with other insects, attracting bed bugs towards them.

These traps can be effective, but they can’t compete with a live human in terms of baiting bed bugs. After all, if you walk into a room and you see a giant cheeseburger and another cheeseburger that looks like it’s made of plastic, which cheeseburger are you going to eat? So in a room with a human and a trap, the bed bugs will also choose us.

Bed Bug Interceptors

With that in mind, there’s something called a ClimbUp Interceptor (ClimbUp is the trademark for it). The interceptor is a plastic dish that’s rough on the outside and smooth on the inside, which means bed bugs can climb in but not out.

  • Put the legs of your bed into the dish and use it to catch bed bugs that want to climb up and get to you (the “bait”).
  • Make sure that your bed is slightly separated from the wall and not coming into contact with anything else — the interceptor should be the only point of contact between your bed and the floor.
A ClimbUp Interceptor placed under the leg of a bed frame that will catch bed bugs and prevent them from climbing into your bed.

If you have bed bugs are in the room, they’ll come out of hiding at night and try to climb into the bed to feed on you. At that point, they’ll climb into the interceptor and get stuck in the dish. Since the dish is double-walled, once they get in they can’t climb up the leg onto your bed either.

Other Bed Bug Traps

As for bed bug traps that draw in bed bugs using CO2 or kairomones, they are relatively easy to purchase and will work when used correctly. However they can’t compete with people in terms of attracting bed bugs, so placing them in a room where you’re sleeping won’t be effective.

What you can do instead is to stay in another room where you don’t think you have bed bugs, or vacate your apartment and stay with a friend temporarily. Allow the traps to work for a couple of days to make those bed bugs come out of hiding.

Interceptors and traps work best for low-level infestations when you only have a single bed bug or two. They can help you confirm whether or not you have bed bugs, and if so, ideally trap them and resolve the issue.

Video: What Draws Bed Bugs Out of Hiding?

Kevin Carrillo is a pest control specialist and a senior project manager at MMPC, as well as a contributor to wikiHow.

Based in Long Island City, MMPC provides reliable and eco-friendly pest solutions for clients of all sizes in and around the Tri-State Area. With over 25 years of experience, MMPC is one of NYC’s highest-rated pest control companies.

If you need help with bed bugs or other pests, call (212) 219-8218 or click the button below to contact us today!