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Double Sided Tape for Bed Bugs – Does it Work?

The main problem with dealing with a bed bug infestation is the elusiveness and hiding behaviors of the pest. It is an endless battle of protecting yourself from the mysterious bugs that hide in darkness and want to drink your blood quietly and quickly. Trapping and preventing the bugs is a great strategy, but does double-sided tape for bed bugs work?

Using double-sided tape to trap and prevent bed bug bites does not reliably work to prevent bed bug bites. You may trap a few bugs but the resiliency of the bugs will ensure they find a way around the sticky adhesive on the outside of the tape. Bed bug interceptors or insect glue traps are the best traps for bed bugs. 

Battling a bed bug infestation is both time-consuming and expensive if you decide to do it yourself. It is common to think and try many different methods to trap and prevent the bugs from biting but this is a resilient and tricky pest to treat. In this guide, we will explore the effectiveness of using double-sided tape as a trap for bed bugs and suggest more effective solutions. 

Does Double-Sided Tape Work to Catch Bed Bugs?

In the pest control world, using glue traps or any kind of adhesive to trap crawling insects has always been an effective tool in the toolkit. Glue traps work well for cockroaches, spiders, and even mice and rats, but it does largely depend on the type of pest. 

Bed bugs are one of the hardest pests to eradicate from a home because they’re experts at hiding. They have to hide to survive, so this has naturally made the insects very cautious over the centuries, and they can develop resistance to common pesticides. 

The problem with using double-sided tape to try and catch bed bugs is that the bugs do not have enough mass to really stick to the adhesive. Bed bugs are incredibly light and almost look like they are floating across a surface when they are crawling. 

Bed bugs are about as thin as the width of a credit card, and the only time they have meaningful mass is after a blood meal. Even after they’ve just eaten bed bugs will typically crawl right over double-sided tape.

While some people give anecdotes of tape catching some bed bugs, it certainly won’t catch all of them and some bugs even escape from the tape if they’re not disposed of right away.

What Are Better Alternatives to Double-Sided Tape for Bed Bugs?

If you want to trap bed bugs, it is best not to assume that you can place sticky traps all around your bed or room and just hope that the bugs crawl through them. Bed bugs will only crawl across surfaces that lead them to a host, so you have to keep this in mind when considering traps or preventative methods. 

When it comes down to it, bed bug interceptors and insect glue traps are the only effective traps worth trying. 

Bed Bug Interceptors

Bed bug interceptors are both a trap, monitoring tool, and preventative product used to keep the insects out of a treated bed. Bed bugs are skilled at hiding to avoid detection. The bugs will sometimes choose to hide in other areas of the bedroom separate from the bed.

Virtually any crack and crevice in the bedroom that is dark and undisturbed can harbor bed bugs. The first step of getting instant relief from bed bug bites is treating your mattress and box spring with an impenetrable mattress encasement. This means bed bugs can no longer find cracks in your mattress or box spring to live in, and they can’t escape if they’re already inside.

The next treatment to prevent bed bug bites is adding bed bug interceptors which prevent bed bugs from climbing up the legs of your furniture. Interceptors usually have a textured outer rim that aids bed bug climbing, a base at the bottom they fall into and cannot escape, and an inner ring to hold the furniture leg which they also cannot climb up. 

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Since bed bugs cannot fly or jump, they have to crawl and climb. When you’re asleep, you give off carbon dioxide and body warmth which is what attracts the bed bugs to your bed.

Interceptors let you continue to be “the bait” that the bed bugs are seeking out, but they trap the bed bug before they can reach you.

Interceptors are also an important part of monitoring the ongoing bed bug infestation. Check the interceptors every morning to see if you still have bed bugs. The interceptors are completely passive and don’t need to be replaced, so you can really install them once and leave them there forever.

Insect Glue Traps

Although not as effective as bed bug interceptors, using insect glue traps should be sticky enough to catch bed bug legs as they are crawling through the trap. 

Insect glue traps work very simply by creating a non-obtrusive barrier in which insects must crawl through to get across. The glue is strong enough to hold insects in place until you dispose of them properly. 

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Insect glue traps can be placed along the bottoms of furniture and bed legs to trap bed bugs but there are a few points to keep in mind. If you place the traps along the bottom of furniture and beds, the cleanup will be difficult and messy. 

To prevent this, you could try and place a piece of cardboard under the furniture leg by which you can place the glue trap on top of this. But there is no guarantee that the bed bug will go out of its way to cross through the glue. 

You will need to ensure that the glue trap covers every angle by which the bed bug must reach the furniture leg to climb up. If the cardboard has any blind spots that allow the bug to crawl up it instead of the trap, it will likely take this route. 

It can also be difficult to remove live bugs from the glue trap if they become stuck to it. You would have to throw out the entire trap or pick off the live bags and kill them before you dispose of them. 

Either of these traps will work to trap bed bugs, but if you want the most effective method, go with bed bug interceptors. 

Does Double-Sided Tape Repel Bed Bugs?

Anecdotally speaking, the appearance of tape does seem to have some sort of repellent effect on bed bugs. This same behavior can be seen when people spray essential oils across their bed and bed bugs crawl away from it. It doesn’t mean that the repellent is getting rid of bed bugs, they are just regrouping to find another way to feed. 

This could also lead to the phenomenon where bed bugs crawl up the wall and simply fall into the bed from the ceiling. A bed bug interceptor will help the bed bugs climb up and then trick them by falling into the trap, double-sided tape can just be avoided completely. Also, the bugs may just take their chances and successfully crawl through the tape if they are hungry enough.  

In summary, you never want to repel bed bugs; you must work to eradicate them completely from your home. These bugs will find a way to feed on a host, therefore, effective treatments and traps must be in place to trap or kill them outright with no way of escape. 

Will Bed Bugs Stick to Duct Tape?

In terms of duct tape, there have never been any major comprehensive studies to test its effectiveness apart from regular tape. At the end of the day, the same problems with double-sided tape would likely be seen with duct tape.

Duct tape should not be trusted to capture bed bugs.

The bugs are simply too light to effectively stick to the tape. Just like double-sided tape, you may have some success in catching a few bugs with duct tape, but tape of any kind is just not an effective solution since the bugs can skid across it and will likely just avoid the tape altogether and find another way to get into the bed or on furniture. 

Can Bed Bugs Climb Tape?

As mentioned, there may be instances where some bed bugs could actually become stuck to a piece of tape, but they can also walk over the tape and not become stuck. 

For bed bugs that do not become stuck to a piece of tape, this same lightness by which they crawl will maintain itself even if a bed bug climbs up a piece of tape. You will never know which if all bed bugs will stick to the tape or if they will be able to climb up the tape–the results are mixed. 

Bed bugs prefer slick and smooth surfaces when they crawl and will always seek out these kinds of surfaces if they need to climb. That’s what is so great about bed bug interceptors because the outer rim of the interceptor is smooth and slick. 

The bugs have no problem climbing up the outer rim to reach the top by which they fall into the inescapable base at the bottom. The bottom rim has walls that are not slick and smooth and this means the bed bugs cannot climb back up the rim to get out of the trap. 

Final Thoughts

In summary, double-sided tape is okay to use if you have nothing else to trap bed bugs and prevent them from climbing onto furniture. But there is no guarantee that this will work because bed bugs can in fact climb tape or crawl over it and not become trapped. 

Bed bugs may also decide to avoid double-sided tape altogether and find another way to reach their bloodmeal. Bed Bug interceptors are by far the best products to use to trap and hold bed bugs. You can also try insect glue traps but these products can be messy and bed bugs can avoid these traps if they are not placed correctly. 

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Written by Wesley Wheeler

Wesley has over 10 years of residential and commercial pest control experience dealing with every kind of pest. He ran his own pest control company for 6 years and now shares his knowledge online.

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