03 Apr Climb Up Interceptors : Do They Work?



The short answer is “yes” and we have used about 40 large cases of these devices in our business thus far. A better question would be what is their ideal use and what are the limitations? The biggest limitation of these devices is that bed bugs are repelled from a slippery edge pitfall (see videos in this web site). The bed bugs will spend hours approaching the outside lip of the interceptor, walking the knife edge top and being repelled. They often return and the pattern is then repeated. When the bug is caught it appears the bug sometimes will lose balance and be left dangling from the top lip by one leg, not having the strength to pull itself back to the outside edge, and eventually falling into the pitfall. In one experiment I put a large number of bed bugs beside an interceptor for 10 days and found that, though most of the bugs ended up in the pit fall, some still refused to fall into the interceptor. In field use we do sometimes see bed bugs camped out on the outside edge of the Interceptor. As such there seems to be agreement between my video experiment and field use.

Though the Interceptor does act as a repellant it does catch sufficient numbers of bugs that I consider them valuable for monitoring a suite for bed bugs. Very small infestations are difficult to spot visually and the interceptor does appear to be better at finding small infestations than visual inspections.

There are a few interesting points to be made here, however. In field use some tenants do not cooperate with bed isolation protocols and push their bed against the walls. The result is the bugs are initially repelled by the interceptors and attempt to find an easier way up the bed. We have found in these uncooperative circumstances it is valuable to scatter mouse glue boards under the bed and the bugs repelled from the interceptors spend a fair bit of time wandering around under the bed and are more liable to be caught in the glue boards. This is one of the few circumstances where a glue board works quite well as a monitor. A glue board monitor placed anywhere else in a suite will catch very few bugs and is basically useless.

Furthermore we have found that combining the interceptors with Pyrethroid treatments works quite well. A bed bug with pyrethroid poisoning will walk with an unsteady gait and are more likely to fall into a slippery pitfall trap. Therefore I find the Interceptor, despite its limitations described above, to be a valuable tool to be used in conjunction with an exterminator’s treatments. However, as pyrethroid resistant strains of bed bugs become more common I might have to re-evaluate this question.

There is a final thought: One of the concerns with using bed leg repellants is that it can potentially push bugs to other locations. It would be interesting to understand if in fact there is some push effect with the interceptor or if the lure of the host is so strong that they remain in the vicinity despite the repellant.  We do know the bugs will   camp out on the outer edge of the interceptor – do they all do  that or do some look elsewhere?  We do not know the answer to that question.


A landlord attempted to duplicate our chemical free bed bug eradication plan using only climb up interceptors and ignoring the glue boards.  The tenant reported that bed bugs were climbing her leg while eating breakfast.  As such one of the consequences of repelling bed bugs from their night time feeding is the bugs chasing their lunch during the day.  The result is the increased risk of infesting cars, work places, etc.    That strikes me as profoundly dangerous.

As such I recommend that Climb up interceptors be used only for monitoring.  Once the bugs are noted the  bed should be pushed against the wall to allow the bugs access to a blood meal to dissuade day time feeding.  Once the suite is treated the bed can be isolated again.  The area directly under the bed should be treated chemically as well so any repelled activity is forced into increased chemical exposure.

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