At SenSci, we often get questions regarding what the differences are among interception devices and which one pest control companies should use. We believe the pit-fall styled interceptors fall into two categories: under-the-leg and free-standing. In this article we will illustrate the differences between both and the benefits they offer your bed bug management program.

What is a Bed Bug Interception Device?

Before we highlight the differences among interceptors, it is helpful to explain exactly what it is and what roles it plays within a bed bug management program.

A pit-fall styled interceptor is a trap used to capture bed bugs while they are moving throughout an environment. Depending on the type of interceptor, it can either be used under-the-leg of beds and furniture or placed next to the furniture legs, along baseboards or within corners in a room. The bugs will climb up the interceptor and then be trapped within the interceptor, whether it is an under-the-leg or free-standing.

What is a Bed Bug Interceptor Used For?

As the name implies, an interception device can intercept a bed bug’s movement as it travels throughout an environment. As they search for a host, or while they are traveling to or from their resting areas, these devices can capture them.

There are many benefits to using an interception device including:

  • Bed bug detection
  • Continuous monitoring for bed bugs
  • Provide relief to individuals who are experiencing bites by catching the bugs before they enter the bed.
  • Rutgers University research has shown pit-fall interceptors to help contribute to control of low-level (10 or less live bed bugs) infestations with mass-trapping.

What Are Under-the-Leg Interceptors?

As the name implies, these interceptors are primarily used under the legs of furniture to capture bed bugs. An example of these are the ClimbUp® or BlackOut® interceptors. These pit-fall styled interceptors are typically round in design (although some designs are square) to provide circular coverage around the leg of furniture.

Aspects that Differentiate Under-the-Leg Designs

The ClimbUp® was one of the original pit-fall interceptors based off of an upside down dog bowl design. The ClimbUp® has an inner and outer well, which bed bugs can fall into. As one of the first interceptor designs, this device does require the use of talcum powder to be effective.

Not only does the ClimbUp® require the use of powder, but it also needs to be thoroughly cleaned and every 2-4 weeks with the recommended maintenance from the manufacturer. Upon preforming the recommended maintenance, the ClimbUp® may require to be re-talc every few weeks to ensure its effectiveness.

The BlackOut® differs from the ClimpUp® in a few ways. The biggest difference you may notice is the color. It has been suggested in research that bed bugs tend to gravitate towards the color black, so the BlackOut® was designed with that in mind.

Additionally, you will notice that it has two wells similarly to the ClimbUp®, however, the wells are very different. The interior well is textured inside to promote the continuous movement of the bed bugs from off of the bed, whereas the outer well is slick. This design is to keep the bed bugs from moving out of the interior well into the outer well where they can then be captured.

The textured walls on the BlackOut® eliminates the requirement of powder for effectiveness, however, it still does need necessary maintenance to remove household dust that may jeopardize the interceptor’s effectiveness every few weeks.

Free-standing Interceptors

As research on bed bugs has progressed over the years, so have the tools associated with their monitoring and control. Although the under-the-leg interceptors were effective at bed bug detection, they lacked the discreet design that many markets desired.

With those markets in mind, visionaries at BedBug Central created the unique, discreet bed bug interceptor called the SenSci Volcano™. This innovative tool allows pest control professionals the ability to use the discreet design in a number of different settings, including office buildings and hotels.

Free-Standing Interceptor Design

As opposed to under-the-leg interceptors, the SenSci Volcano™ is a free-standing device that can be used next to the leg of furniture, along baseboards, in corners, and much more.

Its “volcano-like” style provides the visual cues to attract bed bugs. Along with the sides being angled, they are also a black, textured material that bed bugs typically prefer. This type of material promotes the continuous movement of bed bugs up the sides of the volcano and encourages the commitment to fall into the trap. Inspection with the Volcano is also very simple because of the clear bottom design.

Since the design is so unique and discreet, it offers property management personnel a tool that can be hidden and unknown to their customers, all while providing effective detection of any possible infestations that may occur.

Under-the-Leg Interceptors: Benefits and Drawbacks

Under-the-leg interceptors provide a great deal of benefits for any pest control professional, although there are a few drawbacks associated with them.


  • Circular or square design provides optimum coverage around the legs of furniture where bed bugs may travel to or from.
  • Can provide relief for occupants who are being bitten from bed bugs while sleeping at night.
  • Easy inspection for bed bugs


  • In order to use, you must lift the furniture leg to install the devices. This can include lifting up mattresses and box springs in order to put the interceptors beneath each bed frame leg. Be advised that heavy weight of furniture may compromise the structural integrity of some of the interceptors.
  • Some under-the-leg interceptors require a powder application to be effective at capturing the bed bugs. Reapplication of the powder may be necessary.
  • Household dust collection can happen, causing the interceptors to be ineffective within 2-4 weeks after installation. Continuous maintenance is needed to ensure the effectiveness of the under-the-leg interceptor.
  • Not discreet in design and can be noticed by outside sources if used within different markets.

Free-standing Interceptors: Benefits and Drawbacks

Just like under-the-leg, free-standing interceptors like the SenSci Volcano™, also have benefits and drawbacks to their use within the pest control industry.


  • Discreet design allows for use in a variety of settings, including office buildings, hotels, colleges, apartment complexes, senior-living facilities and much more. Can be used in common areas and are not as visible as under-the-leg interceptors.
  • Easy inspection due to the clear bottom design of the SenSci Volcano™.
  • There’s no need to lift up a piece of furniture to install them, all you have to do is place them next to or under locations where bed bug activity is suspected.
  • Unlike under-the-leg interceptors, the Volcano does not collect household dust and requires little maintenance.


  • Two-part interceptor that requires assembly prior to use.
  • Does not have as large of a surface area as under-the-leg interceptors and therefore may allow some bed bugs to bypass the monitor and access the bed.

Under-the-Leg vs. Free-standing: Which One to Use?

There are pros and cons to both interceptor types, but which one should you use in your bed bug management program? It’s all about preference.

Do you want to spend more time lifting up furniture to put an interceptor under the leg to get more coverage in that area? Or would you rather spend less time and simply slide the free-standing interceptor next to the legs of the beds and couches? Are you looking to capture as many bugs as possible and are willing to sacrifice clients being able to see the monitors?

We can suggest that if you are looking to cut-down on your service time without sacrificing effectiveness, you may want to look into free-standing interceptors. They can provide you with effective coverage while cutting down on your installation, inspection and maintenance time.

Regardless of which interceptor you use, it is important to include it in your bed bug management programs. Research has shown how effective these tools are as part of a bed bug control program and can provide you with valuable information that you may be missing with visual inspections.

To purchase any of these interception devices, contact your local distributor.