I have used the Climbup Interceptor extensively since it was first produced. I have noted that bed bugs were occasionally found harbouring on the outside of the Interceptor in field use. I did some experimenting with the device in my little lab and found that the Interceptor did indeed have a fair bit of repellency built into its design – many bugs would refuse to fall into the Interceptor. I then compared the interceptor to modified glue boards in the lab and found the glue boards caught 8 times more bugs than an interceptor in head to head tests. Clearly the glue boards have less repellency. You can see my videos on how to make a modified glue board yourself with very little cost.
The Blackout Detector is an attempt to copy the Interceptors design with slight “improvements.” The improvements include sturdier design, no powder required to keep bugs in the pitfall, did not require any tape on the outside edges, and they were black which is a color bed bugs prefer to lighter colors. I would have to agree that the Blackout does appear to be sturdier than the Interceptor but have not had enough experience with them to comment intelligently on the powder free pitfall. As to the supposed superiority of the color black I suspect bed bugs simply look for the safest way to the host. When I experimented with identical white Interceptors (some with black covers and some without black covers) I found the identical trap with a black cover attracted more activity than the trap without a black cover. In field use the color of the trap would have little bearing on the ability to trap. Furthermore I found the Blackout much more difficult to inspect because the bugs blended into the black substrates. Regarding the tape free outer edge of the Blackout I would have to conclude that it is much worse than the Interceptor. I found, when observing a small teflon pan filled with bugs and a Blackout in the middle, that bed bugs did not want to interact with the Blackout very much and, of the bugs that did attempt to climb the outer edge, most fell off before getting to the top. Apparently the surface is a bit too slippery for the bugs. All things considered the “improvements” of the Blackout are highly questionable.
I decided to put the Interceptor and the Blackout Detector to the test in a head to head competition. I collected roughly 75 bed bugs from a work site and starved them for 5 days. I then put two white Interceptors and two Blackouts in an experimental tub in a diagonal pattern. The legs of a small table were put into each device. I then placed a suspended cover over the experimental tub to shield the bugs from any direct light. On the cover I placed a fairly bright LED night light. No direct light shone on the experimental tub but the presence of extra light mimics ordinary bedrooms with a night light and should favour the Blackouts. I then placed a hose directly over the tub that would emit 200 ml of Co2 per minute.
I placed the jar of bed bugs upside down in the middle of the experimental tub with Interceptors and Blackouts surrounding the jar. I left it upside down for several hours and waited for the bugs to fall off the jar and settle on the floor. I then turned on the Co2, turned out the overhead light, turned on the nightlight, removed the jar exposing the bugs to the arena, and exited the room.
12 hours later I returned and found 39 bed bugs in the Interceptors, 4 in the Blackouts, and numerous bugs in the arena that chose neither trap. Some bugs were on the the outside edges of the Interceptor, some were attempting to get underneath the Blackouts, and others were scattered around the arena.
As such I would highly recommend the white Climbup Interceptor over the Blackout Detector. Despite the Blackout beginning the test with the advantage of “being black” it lost the contest convincingly. Clearly the design of the Blackout is inferior to the Interceptor. But if one wanted a better trap than either of these traps one could simply purchase 50 cent glue boards and place them under the bed legs. The Glue boards are 8 times better than Interceptors and the Blackout fares far worse than the Interceptor.