"Sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite" might be possible by using a trap that anyone can build using around a dollar's worth of items.
Bedbugs, which live in bedding and mattresses that suck blood from sleeping human victims, are increasingly becoming a pest problem in the Unites States.
Because their bites can be confused with those of mosquitoes or just dismissed as a rash, people often aren't aware that they're victims of an infestation, scientists at the University of Florida say.
A simple trap using glue and masking tape combined with a couple of inexpensive plastic containers can show if bedbugs are present by capturing them as they move from their sleeping victims to the locations where they hide.
"This concept of trapping works for places where people sleep and need to be protected at those locations," entomology Professor Phil Koehler said in a university release.
The university's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has posted instructions online, along with photos, on how to build the traps, and a YouTube video is also available.
Relying on the poor ability of bedbugs to climb up a smooth surface, the traps are designed with a rough surface that lets the insects enter the trap but then presents them with a "moat" with a smooth surface that prevents them from escaping.
The traps are effective, and their simple construction using familiar items makes them more or less foolproof, Koehler says.
"It's really hard to mess this up to the point that you'd hurt anything," he says.
Many people use ineffective and even dangerous methods in an attempt to deal with an infestation of bedbugs, says Koehler, who warns against trying to use mothballs, bug bombs or treating mattresses with pesticides.
Bedbugs are increasingly becoming resistant to many pesticides, entomologists say.
It's more than just the beds in a home that are a problem, Koehler notes, because the bugs can lie in wait on any furniture where people sit or lie down, including beds, sofas and chairs.
Koehler estimated it would require about 50 of his traps to rid a three-bedroom home of the pests, enough to be placed under the legs of all furniture including those beds, chairs and sofas.
Still, that's cheaper than the $3,000 price to have a professional exterminator treat that same three-bedroom house.