For most people dealing with a bed bug infestation, sprays and powders are used as a first and last method of attack. Unfortunately, chemical treatments are rarely effective on their own; you might cut down on the population quite a bit, but unless you actually hit them where they’re hiding, you most likely left survivors that can quickly repopulate.
This is why we recommend a holistic treatment solution with a wide variety of products, from powders and sprays to heaters, steamers, and vacuum cleaners. Yep, you read that correctly. Vacuums are great for picking up bed bugs, shells, fecal droppings, and eggs from various hiding places. Whether you’re a homeowner or a pest control professional, the preferred weapon of choice is a sealed HEPA vacuum: these are designed to trap bed bugs in sealed HEPA filters so that they can’t escape through the hose or the body, reducing the chances of infesting other areas, like your home or vehicles.
Atrix offers many different flavors of HEPA vacuums, from their compact Lil Red to their professional powerhouse, the Omega. Lying somewhere in the middle is the model up for review today, the backpack-equipped Bug Sucker. This portable wonder offers the power of an expensive upright vacuum in a lightweight and affordable package. Let’s take a closer look:
Build & Design:
The first thing you’ll likely notice when you unbox a Bug Sucker is that it’s very light. The assembled unit tipped the scales at just about 10 pounds, well under the average upright vacuum’s 18-pound heft. Strapping the Bug Sucker to your back doesn’t feel cumbersome at all; the sturdy support rack helps make the weight feel like it disappeared.
The body is made of hardened ABS polymer, the same stuff used to make hard hats. The whole unit felt very sturdy and well-built; I’d expect it to stand up to years of on-the-job wear and tear. The attachments are equally well made, and slip on and off the metal extension tube with no difficulty.
The Bug Sucker is not much of a looker. Not that we expected it to be; this is purpose-built for pest control professionals, and was never intended to entice window-shoppers at department stores. Nonetheless, I appreciated the minimalism of the overall product design. The few things that interrupted the body’s cylinder shape each had a clear function; you won’t find any bright paint jobs or other embellishments here.
Sealed and Filtered:
The main attraction to the Bug Sucker is not in its rugged construction, or even its novel backpack design. No, the real reason you want one is for its HEPA filtration systems. After collecting bed bugs into a typical vacuum, you run the risk of allowing them to escape the vacuum through the bag, hose, or even vents on the side or bottom. Once they’re out of the vacuum, they are free to hide in other parts of your home and reproduce, making your infestation much more complicated than it was before.
The Bug Sucker comes with multiple filters that help prevent bed bugs from getting out. The main obstacle is in the bag, which is lined with a filter material made up of randomly arranged fibers. This material allows the bag to stop over 99% of particulates, most of which are much smaller than bed bugs, from escaping. When you’re done using the Bug Sucker, simply remove the filter, place it in a tightly sealed bag, and dispose of it. Replacement filters are available in our store.
As an added security measure, Atrix also included a shake-free HEPA lining in the body of the vacuum. Even if something did manage to gnaw its way out of the sealed bag, it won’t be able to escape through the ports on the bottom of the Bug Sucker. To ensure that escaping through the hose or motor isn’t possible, Atrix finished the job by sealing the gaskets and including a pre-motor filter and a cap for the hose.
While some other vacuums feature some form of HEPA filtration, these additional sealing features are what separates the Bug Sucker from others on the market. The layered defenses allow pest control operators to tackle a wide variety of annoying crawling pests, like bed bugs, roaches, ants, termites, and more.
Using the Bug Sucker:
Using the Bug Sucker makes me feel like a pro. It is so naturally designed that it feels like I’ve been using it for years. All you have to do is attach the hose to the body, strap on the backpack, plug it into an extension cord (mandatory, unfortunately, as the power cord is very short), and get to work.
What makes the Bug Sucker a pleasure to work with is its utility belt that wraps around your midsection, providing loops that each of the seven attachments can fit into. This makes swapping out attachments a breeze, and allows you to clean an entire room without interruption.
If the size of the vacuum makes it seem weak, trust me: it’s not. The 1400-watt motor puts the Bug Sucker on par with high-end upright vacuums, most of which weigh and cost substantially more. Luckily, the Bug Sucker is designed to run relatively quietly; at less than 70 DB, it won’t blow your ears out or leave a ringing noise after a couple hours of work.
Atrix knows their way around a vacuum. The Bug Sucker is light, sturdy, effective, and couldn’t be easier to use. After testing it on a variety of surfaces, from carpets to beds to cracks and crevices, I was tempted to knock over my potato chips just so I would have something to vacuum up again.
If you’re a pest control professional looking for a vacuum that meets your specific needs and wants, Atrix has a lineup of options for you, from the minimalist Express to the superpowered Omega. However, if you’re just a regular Joe who’s trying to get rid of bed bugs in your own home, there is only one answer: the Bug Sucker.