What Are Bed Bug Interceptors & How to Use Them

If you’ve discovered signs of bed bugs in your home, bed bug interceptors are useful tools that can help confirm or debunk your suspicions. 

Bed bug interceptors are special traps made to detect and monitor bed bug infestations. Professionals use them after a bed bug treatment to confirm that the infestation has been successfully eliminated. 

You can also purchase and use interceptors to catch bed bugs at home so you know if and when you need to call the exterminator.

At MMPC, we regularly use interceptors as part of our professional bed bug control arsenal. In this article, we’ll explain what bed bug interceptors are and how to use them.

What Is a Bed Bug Interceptor?

Bed bug interceptors are primarily used by pest control professionals and concerned homeowners or renters to diagnose a potential bed bug infestation.

Appearance-wise, interceptors look like double-walled dishes made of durable plastic that are around the size of a small pet bowl.

The space in between the concentric double walls of the dish is a pitfall where bed bugs are captured. The outer surfaces of the walls are course while the inner surfaces are slippery smooth, meaning bed bugs can easily climb into the pitfall trap but they can’t climb out.

We’ll explain more that in a bit.

Interceptors are considered to be passive bed bug traps, which means they don’t require the use of an attractant — such as heat or pheromones — to lure bed bugs into it. Rather, these traps catch bed bugs passively when placed in areas where bed bugs frequently travel. 

How Do Bed Bug Interceptors Work?

Here’s how bed bug interceptors work:

  • You typically place them under the legs of your bed. Each leg goes in the central well of the interceptor so that they’re surrounded by the double-walled pitfall trap.
  • Bed bugs, which are attracted by the heat and carbon dioxide of sleeping humans, naturally crawl into the interceptor as they attempt to climb up (or down) your bed.
  • The insects climb up the course outer sides of the interceptor and fall into the pitfall between the double walls. 
  • Since the inner sides of the pitfall is made of slick plastic — and in some cases made extra slippery with a coating of talcum powder — any bed bugs that find themselves inside are unable to crawl out. 

Are Bed Bug Interceptors Effective?

Interceptors are currently considered the industry standard for early bed bug detection, considering their high accuracy and low cost.

In one study by Healthy Housing Solutions, researchers found that interceptors are significantly more accurate at early detection of bed bug infestations compared to visual inspections by trained professionals. 

In 71 apartments with a mix of low-level to severe infestations, bed bug interceptors had a 96% success rate. 

For best results, it’s recommended to leave interceptors out for a minimum of 7 days. Don’t rule out bed bugs if you don’t catch anything in the first few nights.

That’s because individual bed bugs can feed as infrequently as once every 5 to 10 days, especially if the infestation is still in the early stages.

Pros and Cons

Bed bug interceptors are passive traps that don’t require the use of pesticides or chemicals. Compared to other types of bed bug traps, interceptors are easy to set up and don’t require any maintenance.

Unlike glue traps, which can also catch bed bugs passively, interceptors don’t need to be replaced. 

And unlike active traps that use CO2 or pheromone lures, which require the room to be unoccupied, interceptors can be used effectively in your bedroom while you sleep.

However, the downside is that interceptors require several days in order to be effective. You probably won’t catch any bed bugs on the first night after setting them out — and sometimes it can take more than a week.

That may give the bed bugs time to reproduce and potentially spread.

But compared to a certified canine bed bug inspection, which offers the highest accuracy and immediate results, bed bug interceptors are far more affordable.

Pros:

  • Accurate
  • Can be purchased inexpensively online
  • Easy to set up
  • No chemicals or pesticides
  • Don’t need to be replaced or refilled

Cons:

  • Results aren’t immediate  
  • Might not catch bed bugs that are harboring in your mattress or bed frame

How to Use Bed Bug Interceptors

Step 1: Move your bed away from the wall and keep sheets off the floor

When using interceptors, don’t give bed bugs any other paths to bypass your traps. Make sure that the only way bed bugs can get into your bed is by climbing through the interceptors first.

Step 2: Lift furniture and place the interceptor under the legs

Place your interceptor dishes under each of the four legs of your bed frame. You should have an interceptor under each leg — don’t just place one or two and hope to get lucky.

You can also place interceptors under the legs of other upholstered furniture items (e.g. chairs, sofas) in rooms where you suspect bed bugs. 

Step 3: Check interceptors regularly

Bed bugs come out at night to feed, so check the interceptors in the morning to see if any bed bugs were captured overnight. Regularly monitor the traps for at least 1 to 2 weeks.  

Step 4: Call your exterminator

If you find bed bugs in your interceptors, contact your exterminator or local pest control company. Usually, a professional inspection is recommended to specifically locate where the bed bugs are hiding and come up with an effective plan to exterminate them. 

If you live in NYC, contact the bed bug experts at MMPC for help.

Where to Buy Bed Bug Interceptors

There are several brands of interceptors available for purchase online. The most popular and well-known is the ClimbUp Insect Interceptor

You can purchase a 4-pack or 12-pack of ClimbUp bed bug interceptors on Amazon.

Need Help with Bed Bugs in the Tri-State Area?

MMPC is one of New York City’s highest-rated pest control companies. We specialize in bed bug extermination and certified canine bed bug inspections, along with regular pest control and pest prevention services.

If you need professional help with bed bugs in New York City or the surround areas, call or contact us today!