Bed Bug Interceptors and Lures are proving to be an Effective Pair for Housing Authorities

Bed bugs have been plaguing public housing for years and yet it seems to becoming more and more difficult for management to get ahead of the situation. However, for several housing authorities across the United States, interceptors and lures have made a tremendous impact on their ability to detect and inspect for bed bugs.

“Bed bugs being found in more than 10 percent of apartments within public housing is becoming more common and these building-wide infestations can be extremely challenging to correct,” said Jeffrey White, BedBug Central’s Director of Innovation and Technical Content. “Many times tenants aren’t proactively reporting the bed bug problem, which allows the infestations to incubate and become extreme by the time they are found. When infestations become extreme the bugs often spread to other units within the building which can end up costing thousands of dollars to properly treat.”

According to Rutgers University’s Dr. Changlu Wang, “The early detection of bed bugs is essential to helping prevent the spread of bed bugs in buildings. The best approach for early bed bug detection is to conduct periodic monitoring within buildings with bed bug infestations. Pitfall style interceptors are cost effective tools for detecting bed bugs.”

Looking to stay ahead of any potential bed bug infestations, the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority(AMHA) searched for a tool that would detect bed bug infestations before they could spiral out of control in their 5,000 unit housing authority in Akron, OH.

Pest control technicians for AMHA decided that the SenSci Volcano® was the perfect fit for their need because of its versatility as well as the ease of installation and inspection it offered. The interception device soon became their go-to tool when it came to detection before and after treatments.

“We use the Volcanos for detection,” an AMHA pest control technician said. “We get calls from tenants that say they have bed bugs but sometimes we can’t find any evidence of them so we place the Volcanos out to help detect if the bugs are present.”

The technician for AMHA went on to add, “We detected units that had infestations with the SenSci Volcanos that we missed with visual inspections.”

Jeff King, President of The Pest Rangers in Wilkes-Barre, PA, has single-handedly seen how impactful interceptors and lures have been for the several housing authorities he services.

“When we took over the accounts for the housing authority, we met with management who already had the ActivVolcanos installed from the previous pest control professionals,” King said. “There was no maintenance program set in place with them, so the interceptors and lures that were installed had been sitting for over eight months. To our surprise, the lure was still working and the devices were overloaded with bed bugs!”

King explained that they decided to continue using the SenSci Volcanos along with the Activ lure, developed by Rutgers University, in the high-rise public housing units because they were proving to be an effective pair. Together with management, King developed a maintenance program within the units for the monitors and lures.

“We put together a service for the housing authority,” King said, “and convinced them to start using interceptors and lures in other buildings as well because we had proof that they were working. Once the management saw the products in action and the effectiveness, they believed in it and the program. We continue to have incredible success with the ActivVolcanos in all of our public housing accounts.”

Although one of the major obstacles of building-wide monitoring programs is the ability to inspect every bed bug monitor, King believes that since management has seen the product in action, it allows for better cooperation with their employees as well as his employees to get the monitors inspected on a timely routine.

“Once you get management onboard and get them to believe in the product as well, it makes a stronger relationship with your customers,” King said. “Whenever you can go in and do a treatment and someone see the effect of something, it helps overall. Once they see the results, they believe in you and the product.”

Walter Rose, an inspector for the Bering Straits Regional Housing Authority, also agrees with both King and the AMHA that interceptors with lures are the perfect combination for an effective bed bug detection tool in their public housing units.

“We chose to use the SenSci Volcano monitors and attractant because they work,” he said. “They are quickly proving to be a valuable tool for us. The Volcanos enable us to verify bed bugs are present, even in small numbers, before embarking on an expensive, time consuming, bed bug eradication effort. They also enable us to detect and eliminate bugs early, before the infestation gets out of hand.”

Both AMHA and King agree the cost, ease of installation and inspection have been major benefits when using the interceptors and lures in their public housing accounts.

“We love using the SenSci™ products in our units because they deliver a quick and easy installation as well as inspection, which helps cut down drastically on our labor,” AMHA said.

Even though previous research has shown that as little as one interceptor per unit can help detect bed bug infestations, Wang suggests that housing authorities use more than one interceptor and lure per dwelling.

“Although one pitfall fall trap per room can detect the presence bed bugs in some cases, it is always much better to install more pitfall traps,” Wang said. “I suggest installing a minimum of four traps under the legs of each bed or sofa that is used for sleeping. The cost of pitfall traps is low and they can be recycled. To save on the cost of monitors, housing authorities can hire experienced staff or professionals to conduct brief resident interviews and cursory visual inspections first and determine which apartments need monitors.”

White added, “The interceptors should be left in place for the foreseeable future because you never know when bed bugs will be introduced,” White said, “so having them in place continuously you’ll be able to detect infestations early on.”

Although interceptors should be left out for on-going monitoring, bed bug lures should be replaced every three months to maintain their effectiveness.