What are Bed Bug Interceptors? Hint: A Great Monitoring Tool

Bed bug interceptors are an excellent solution for monitoring and detection. They are simple yet powerful tools that can help you monitor and catch these blood-sucking invaders. They can help you sleep peacefully whether you use them as a pre or post-bed bug treatment tool.

Understanding Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are reddish brown insects between 1.5-6.5 mm long that feed on the blood of humans and animals. Luckily, there are methods to prevent and manage a bed bug infestation, including using bed bug interceptors.

Before we dive into how these devices work, knowing some basic facts about bed bugs is helpful. First, remember that bed bugs are nocturnal creatures, which means they are most active at night.

As a result, they tend to hide deep in crevices during the day, making it difficult to spot them. Common hiding spots include mattress seams, bed frames, couch frames, headboards, and box springs.

Although bed bugs are not known to transmit pathogens (at this time), their bites can lead to itching, redness, and swelling for some folks. It’s important to note that the reaction to bed bug bites may vary from person to person, and some people may not have any visible signs. However, the presence of tiny, dark spots on your bedding or furniture – which are bed bug feces – may indicate an infestation.

Understanding their life cycle is crucial in managing bed bug infestations. The female bug lays eggs, which hatch into nymphs. These nymphs mature into adults in approximately a month, going through five developmental stages called molts. 

Adult bed bugs can live up to a year, and during that time, they can lay over a hundred eggs. This rapid reproduction rate makes it extremely important to address an infestation as soon as you identify it. Learn more about bed bug eggs and what they look like here.

Now that you have a basic understanding of bed bugs, it’s time to learn how bed bug interceptors can help in the battle against these pests. These simple yet effective devices can monitor and manage bed bug activity in your home, giving you a fighting chance to reclaim your space from these unwelcome invaders.

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What Are Bed Bug Interceptors

bed bug interceptors

Sale
Bed Bug Trap — 12 Pack | TruGuard X Bed Bug Interceptors (White) | Eco Friendly Bed Bug Traps for Bed Legs | Reliable Insect Detector, Interceptor, and Monitor for Pest Control and Treatment
  • ☑ DEPENDABLE, PASSIVE BED BUG PROTECTION — End your bed bug infestation before it spreads using the ShieldFlex TruGuard bed bug monitoring and detection system. The TruGuard bedbug interceptor for beds is an essential component of your bed bug treatment kit. Simply place a trap under each of your bed posts and furniture legs and let ShieldFlex do the work.
  • ☑ CUSTOM DESIGNED TO STOP BED BUGS DEAD IN THEIR TRACKS — The ShieldFlex TruGuard bed bug leg trap is specifically engineered to catch bed bugs where they are known to travel. ShieldFlex leverages known behavioral traits of bed bugs to prevent access to your beds and furniture. Bed bugs easily climb in the traps but cannot climb out. In addition, the TruGuard allows for bed bug early detection, letting you avoid delayed identification of potential infestations.
  • ☑ EXTRA THICK BASE PLATE TO AVOID CRACKING — Poorly constructed, generic products are prone to cracking under the weight of large beds and heavy furniture. But, the ShieldFlex TruGuard bedbug interceptor is constructed with a reinforced polypropylene base plate for added durability and strength. As a result, these custom-designed bedbug traps for bed legs are a critical piece of any complete bed bug removal strategy and will help you rest easy and keep your family safe.
  • ☑ PACK OF 12 FITS THREE BEDS OR PIECES OF FURNITURE — Each box includes twelve bed bug interceptor traps that can be used to guard and protect three beds or other pieces of furniture. These traps can be used under beds, couches, chairs, love seats, and other furniture. For maximum effect, place one trap under each leg of any bed or furniture where protection is desired. In addition to homes and residences, TruGuard traps can also be used in hotels, dormitories, hospitals, hostels, and more.
  • ☑ MONEY BACK GUARANTEE — We are confident the TruGuard bedbug prevention system will help you sleep easy and rest assured that your family and your home are protected against unwanted pests. If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with your order, we will refund your purchase in full—no questions asked!

Bed bug interceptors aim to prevent bed bugs from reaching your bed or other furniture. The traps work by exploiting the bed bugs’ instincts to climb. 

However, if you have a flat platform bed, you can also place it on the floor around the perimeter or inside of the bed frame drawers. They will still work on catching a wandering bug. Additionally, they use the bugs’ difficulty climbing slippery surfaces, which in turn help detect and monitor infestations. 

can you use interceptors with a platform bed

By using interceptors, you can monitor the presence of bed bugs in your home and take action before an infestation becomes a bigger problem.

How do Bed Bug Interceptors Work

They make bed bug interceptors out of plastic cups or trays with a slippery interior surface. You place them under the legs of your bed or other furniture in the infested area.

Bed bugs will attempt to climb up the legs of your furniture to reach you while you’re sleeping, but they will be unable to climb the smooth surface of the interceptor.

The Tropical Bed Bug and Interceptors

It’s important to note that studies have shown the tropical bed bug (Cimex hemipterus) can get out of the interceptor cup (Footnote: 2). However, the more common bed bug ( Cimex lectularius) can’t.  

Remember that research studies show that the tropical bed bug (Cimex hemipterus) is more efficient at climbing out of interceptor traps than other varieties of bed bugs. Their ability to climb out is due to the unique characteristics of their feet and hair, which aid them in scaling slippery walls.

Therefore, while interceptor traps can be part of a pest management plan, they may be less effective for the tropical bed bug. 

The interceptor has two rings; if you catch a bug in the outer ring, it means that the bed bug was crawling from the floor to your bed. On the other hand, if you catch the bed bug in the inner ring, the bug crawled from the furniture down.

bed bug caught in an interceptor

Once a bed bug enters the interceptor, it will become trapped inside, unable to reach its intended target. The trapped bugs can then be easily identified and disposed of before they have a chance.

How Often Should You Check the Interceptor?

One important thing to remember is that you need to check the bed bug interceptors daily during the bed bug treatment process. But if you are using them to monitor when you are not in the middle of a bed bug situation, you can check them once a week.

Benefits of Using Bed Bug Interceptors

A few benefits of using bed bug interceptors include:

  • Early detection: As you place them strategically, interceptors help you detect bed bug infestations early, enabling you to take immediate action.

  • Chemical-free solution: Unlike some pesticides, interceptors provide a non-toxic and eco-friendly way to help monitor and control bed bug infestations.

  • Affordability: Interceptors are relatively inexpensive, and you can buy them online or at your local home improvement store. Plus, they will last a lifetime.

Remember, bed bug interceptors are a helpful tool to detect and monitor bug infestations. Still, it would help if you used them in combination with other bed bug control methods (such as vacuuming, steaming, treatment by a licensed exterminator, and using encasements).

Types of Bed Bug Interceptors

As you search for ways to protect your home from bed bugs, you might come across different colored bed bug interceptors. These devices can help you intercept, monitor, and control bed bug infestations by trapping them before they reach your bed. 

Various bed bug interceptors are available, and we’ll discuss some of the most commonly used ones here. You’ll want to learn more about bed bug traps that work.

Passive Interceptors: These interceptors don’t use chemicals or attractants; they rely on the bed bugs’ natural behavior to climb up surfaces. They are usually constructed from plastic and consist of two concentric cups. 

When you place them under the legs of your bed, bed bugs attempting to crawl up the legs will become trapped in the outer cup. Passive interceptors are eco-friendly and safe to use around children and pets.

Black or White Interceptor Traps

This study might influence your decision to invest in black or white bed bug interceptors. It suggests that bed bugs combine vision, mechanoreception, and chemoreception to find hosts and seek shelter. The way they navigate towards the darker colors implies that color might play a role in their behavior. (footnote 1)

Moreover, another scientific investigation reveals that bed bugs prefer black and red colors over white and yellow. The researchers used ClimbUp interceptor traps and created various differently colored harborage areas to observe this behavior.

These studies suggest that black bed bug interceptors could potentially be more effective in trapping these pests.

Sale
Bed Bug Trap — 12 Pack | TruGuard X Bed Bug Interceptors (White) | Eco Friendly Bed Bug Traps for Bed Legs | Reliable Insect Detector, Interceptor, and Monitor for Pest Control and Treatment
  • ☑ DEPENDABLE, PASSIVE BED BUG PROTECTION — End your bed bug infestation before it spreads using the ShieldFlex TruGuard bed bug monitoring and detection system. The TruGuard bedbug interceptor for beds is an essential component of your bed bug treatment kit. Simply place a trap under each of your bed posts and furniture legs and let ShieldFlex do the work.
  • ☑ CUSTOM DESIGNED TO STOP BED BUGS DEAD IN THEIR TRACKS — The ShieldFlex TruGuard bed bug leg trap is specifically engineered to catch bed bugs where they are known to travel. ShieldFlex leverages known behavioral traits of bed bugs to prevent access to your beds and furniture. Bed bugs easily climb in the traps but cannot climb out. In addition, the TruGuard allows for bed bug early detection, letting you avoid delayed identification of potential infestations.
  • ☑ EXTRA THICK BASE PLATE TO AVOID CRACKING — Poorly constructed, generic products are prone to cracking under the weight of large beds and heavy furniture. But, the ShieldFlex TruGuard bedbug interceptor is constructed with a reinforced polypropylene base plate for added durability and strength. As a result, these custom-designed bedbug traps for bed legs are a critical piece of any complete bed bug removal strategy and will help you rest easy and keep your family safe.
  • ☑ PACK OF 12 FITS THREE BEDS OR PIECES OF FURNITURE — Each box includes twelve bed bug interceptor traps that can be used to guard and protect three beds or other pieces of furniture. These traps can be used under beds, couches, chairs, love seats, and other furniture. For maximum effect, place one trap under each leg of any bed or furniture where protection is desired. In addition to homes and residences, TruGuard traps can also be used in hotels, dormitories, hospitals, hostels, and more.
  • ☑ MONEY BACK GUARANTEE — We are confident the TruGuard bedbug prevention system will help you sleep easy and rest assured that your family and your home are protected against unwanted pests. If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with your order, we will refund your purchase in full—no questions asked!

Active Interceptors: Unlike passive interceptors, active interceptors use attractants such as carbon dioxide, heat, or pheromones to lure bed bugs into the device. These interceptors often require batteries or access to an electric outlet for operation. 

Glue Board Traps: Do bed bug glue traps work? These glue trap interceptors use sticky adhesive surfaces to capture bed bugs. When placed strategically around the room, these traps can catch bed bugs as they crawl around the space. 

It is essential to change these traps regularly, as any trapped bed bugs, dust, or debris can decrease their effectiveness. Be careful not to place these traps where pets or children can accidentally get stuck.

DIY Interceptors: If you prefer a more cost-effective solution, create your interceptors using simple household items. Popular DIY options involve utilizing double-sided adhesive tapes or creating a trap using a plastic container with an inner layer of talcum powder.

While these homemade interceptors can help identify bed bug infestations, they may not be as effective at capturing the bugs as commercial products.

Remember that with bed bug interceptors, you should not use them as a standalone solution for bed bug infestations; they should be part of a more comprehensive control strategy. You combine interceptors with other methods, such as regular vacuuming, sealing your mattress and pillows with encasements, and seeking professional help.

How Bed Bug Interceptors Work

Interception

You place these interceptors under the legs of your furniture, most commonly your bed or sofa. When bed bugs try to climb up in search of a meal (you), they get trapped in the interceptor’s smooth-walled outer cup. Or they will get caught in the middle chamber when climbing down.

The interceptors create a barrier between you and the bed bugs, as they generally cannot escape the smooth inner walls. The barrier prevents the bugs from reaching you, which reduces the chances of getting bitten and helps protect your sleep.

Detection

Along with interception, bed bug interceptors are also an excellent tool for detecting the presence of bed bugs. Using these devices can improve your ability to identify infestations early on, making it easier to take appropriate action.

To do this, install the interceptors and check them periodically for trapped bugs. If you find any bed bugs in the interceptor cups, it clearly indicates that you have an infestation. Monitoring allows you to take necessary measures to eradicate them before the problem worsens.

Remember to empty and clean the interceptors regularly to keep them effective. Using bed bug interceptors gives you a more proactive approach to keeping your home bed bug-free.

Installation and Maintenance of Bed Bug Interceptors

Installing bed bug interceptors is a simple process you can easily do yourself. First, vacuum and clean your bedroom thoroughly, paying particular attention to the area around your bed. Vacuuming will remove any dust or debris that could affect the performance of the interceptors.

Next, place the bed bug interceptors under the legs of your bed, chairs, or any other furniture where bed bugs might be hiding. Ensure the legs fit snugly into the interceptors but leave enough room not to touch the sides. 

bed bug interceptors on a chair

Additionally, make sure that they are level with the floor. For those with wheels on bed frames, you may need to remove the wheels and use a flat surface. Although I have seen a few of my clients use it with hospital beds on wheels.

Regular maintenance is crucial for the effectiveness of bed bug interceptors. To maintain your interceptors, follow these steps:

  1. Check the interceptors regularly: Inspect the interceptors at least once a week to see if you catch any bed bugs. If you find bed bugs inside the interceptors, it’s a clear sign that you have an infestation and should take further action.
  2. Clean the interceptors: Empty and clean the interceptors with soapy water every two weeks, even if you don’t see any trapped bed bugs. Regular cleaning will keep the interceptors functioning optimally and help prevent bed bugs from hiding in the devices.
  3. Monitor other areas: Bed bugs can hide in various places, not just your bed. Regularly inspect other furniture and objects in your bedroom, like your dresser and nightstands, for any signs of bed bugs.

By following these installation and maintenance tips, you can help prevent bed bug infestations and stay ahead of any potential issues. You’ll create a safer and more enjoyable sleeping environment with vigilant monitoring and a little effort.

Factors to Consider When Buying Bed Bug Interceptors

Considering these key factors, you’ll increase your chances of successfully detecting and managing bed bug infestations in your home.

Material: Bed bug interceptors are plastic. 

Design: Various designs are available, so choose one that will work best for you. You’ll need a giant square one if your posts are large, but you can get away with the smaller circular pitfall trap if you have small bed posts. 

Most designs have outer wells to trap the bed bugs. Finding a user-friendly format that is easy to clean and maintain is essential.

Color: They usually come in white or black. While the white ones are easier to spot a bed bug in the well, the black ones have been tested in studies and shown to attract the bugs.

Size and Compatibility: Remember the size of your bedbug interceptors and ensure they’ll fit properly under your bed or furniture legs. Measure the diameter of the legs and choose interceptor cups that can accommodate them. You don’t want the bedpost to touch the sides of the trap. Then, a bug can easily climb out.

 

Ease of Cleaning: It’s essential to maintain the cleanliness of bed bug interceptors; they are all pretty easy to clean and have no hard-to-reach areas where bed bugs could hide. 

Quantity: Depending on the number of beds and furniture pieces you want to protect, it’s advisable to consider the number of interceptors included when purchasing a product. Typically, you’ll need at least four to eight interceptors for each bed or furniture item. (depending on how many legs there are)

Alternatives to Bed Bug Interceptors

Sometimes, you might look for other methods to detect and prevent bed bug infestations. Here are a few alternatives to bed bug interceptors that you can consider.

Sticky Traps: Sticky traps, also known as glue traps for bed bugs, can be placed near your bed legs or other places where bed bugs are likely to travel. When they crawl into the traps, they get stuck. You can replace them as necessary. These traps are helpful for bed bugs and trapping other household pests like booklice, spider beetles, and spiders.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE): Diatomaceous Earth is a natural, non-toxic powder from fossilized aquatic organisms. When applied to areas where bed bugs may be hiding, this powder can effectively kill them by damaging their exoskeletons. However, DE is only reasonable to use in wall voids or places where it will not become airborne.

Bed Bug-Proof Mattress Encasements: Another effective way to prevent bed bug infestations is by using bed bug-proof mattress encasements. These encasements cover your mattress and box spring entirely, making it difficult for bed bugs to enter or leave the bedding. They also help protect your mattress from stains and allergens.

Heat Treatment: Bed bugs have a low tolerance for heat, which means you can use heat treatment to eliminate them. Washing your bedding in a hot dryer (at least 120°F or 49°C) can help kill bed bugs and their eggs. Consider using a portable bed bug heater or a professional heat treatment service for items you can’t wash.

Remember, an integrated pest management approach is often the most effective way to combat bed bug infestations. Combining several alternative methods with bed bug interceptors may provide a greater chance of success in keeping your home bed bug-free.

Final Thoughts for Bed Bug Interceptors (what are they and how to use them)

Bed bug interceptors help detect and monitor for bed bug infestations. By placing these interceptors under your bed posts or furniture legs, you can catch any bed bugs trying to climb up to reach their food source – you.

Using these interceptors can help you identify the severity of an infestation and assist you in finding the most effective treatment methods. They are environmentally friendly, especially those made from recycled plastic, and easy to maintain, making them an affordable, non-toxic option in your fight against bed bugs.

By incorporating bed bug interceptors into your pest management routine, you can proactively protect yourself and your loved ones from these unwelcome pests.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bed Bug Interceptors

How do bed bug interceptors work?

Bed bug interceptors trap bed bugs as they attempt to climb to or from your bed or furniture. They create a barrier between the floor and your bed’s legs. When bed bugs try to reach you, they will fall into the interceptor’s outer ring and become trapped. The inner circle prevents them from climbing back out.

Can I make a DIY bed bug interceptor?

You can make a DIY bed bug interceptor using household items like plastic containers, tape, talcum powder, or petroleum jelly. Place one container inside another, and apply the petroleum jelly to the upper edge of the outer container. The slick substance will make it difficult for bed bugs to climb out once they fall inside.

Where can I buy bed bug interceptors?

Bed bug interceptors are available at retailers, home improvement stores, department stores, and online marketplaces like Amazon. Check local stores in your area, or search online for convenient delivery options.

Do bed bug interceptors also work for other pests?

Although the design of bed bug interceptors is explicitly for bed bugs, they may also work for other pests like ants, spiders, spider beetles, booklice, or silverfish. Remember that these interceptors might not be as effective against pests other than bed bugs, as their design targets the bed bug’s climbing habits.

Can bed bugs escape interceptors?

While bed bug interceptors trap bed bugs effectively, some can escape. However, suppose you maintain proper maintenance of the interceptors, including regular cleaning and ensuring that the interceptor’s slick surface is in good condition. In that case, you will reduce the likelihood of bed bugs escaping. (Unless you have the tropical bed bug Cimex hemipterus)

How often should I clean bed bug interceptors?

Cleaning bed bug interceptors is crucial for their effectiveness. We suggest you wipe them every 2-4 weeks or when they become dirty. If you live in a house with dust and pets, you may need to wash them out more often. Make sure to replace the slick substance on the outer ring to prevent bed bugs from escaping.

Footnotes

  1. Singh N, Wang C, Cooper R (2015) Role of Vision and Mechanoreception in Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius L. Behavior. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0118855. source 
  2. KENDRA PIERRE-LOUIS | Great news: Some bed bugs are really good at climbing. Source


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