Bug Catcher Vacuum Review – a Nifty Device

Spring is here, and along with the rains and milder days have come droves of moths, gnats, flies, mosquitoes, june bugs, mayflies, scorpions, spiders and every other weird bug that will scramble in when someone accidentally leaves the screen door open for longer than a second. I live in the country so I might have a few more bugs on my list than you would, but I know that you “city dwellers” have to deal with some of the same.

I was recently on the Home Improvements website looking for some heat register deflectors and recycling bins, and I saw a device that I just had to try – the Bug Catcher Vacuum. I figured it was just an overpriced and oddly shaped Dirt Devil. Not quite…


From the catalog blurb:

Lightweight, cordless bug vac sucks up live insects from about 2′ away, through a one-way valve tube, then shocks them on a low-voltage grid at the base (grid can be disabled if you want to return the bug to nature). Won’t leave “remains” on wall or flooring! Just open the tube to dump the insects out; your hands won’t touch the bugs. Telescoping tube (up to 27″ total reach) and large, flexible nozzle help you reach bugs in hard-to-get-at places. Battery pack included recharges while stored in the UL-listed AC charger stand (also included).

So basically the vac sucks in bugs and then zaps them.To clean it you just pull the tube portion off the vac and dumb the toasted bodies into the trash. This is so much more sanitary than chasing bugs down with a flyswatter, and I thought it might help with my squeamish factor when the bug wasn’t something I didn’t want to mash with a tissue.


The bug catcher has a rechargeable battery and charging base so there are no cables to contend with when you are trying to chase down an interloper. The blue dome on the end of the wand has small air vents to help with the device’s drawing power. Under the dome is a flexible bit of hose so that the dome can be mashed right against flat surfaces. A little flap directly under the flexible portion opens to allow the bugs to draw in when the vac is on, and it will close when the vac is turned off. If you suck a bug in and it isn’t zapped for some reason, it will be trapped in the 2′ long retractable wand and die soon anyway. As long as you can set the dome down flat around larger bugs, the results are extremely good.

When you can’t get the dome perfectly placed, the results are 50/50. Sometimes the sucking power is enough to get the bug in – especially when dealing with smaller bugs like gnats and mosquitoes. Sometimes you may have to chase larger bugs (flies, moths, mayflies, etc.) around a little bit until you can get them to land on a flat surface (windows, ceilings, floors, etc.). Even so, chasing a bug is less trouble than breaking out the full-size vacuum cleaner’s hose which was our previous flying bug removal method.

The best use I have found so far is that it is very effective against the really small bugs that love to congregate around light bubs, but that are too small to swat. This thing munches gnats – and you don’t have to set the dome down against a flat surface to make it work; it will catch them mid-flight. :evil laugh:


Probably the most disconcerting thing about using the bug catcher vac is the slight odor that wafts out of the device when certain bugs are zapped; it’s nothing particularly nasty, but it is a little bit noticeable.

I got mine from the Home Improvements catalog for $49.99 – and yes, I bought the other goodies I was originally shopping for, too. 😉

What I Like: Sucks the bugs in and zaps them dead; no need to get close to stinging or biting bugs; no need to bust out the big vacuum cleaner to get smaller flying bugs; works extremely well on flat surfaces; sucks small flying bugs in mid-flight

What Needs Improvement: I wish it had a little more sucking power for larger bugs, as it doesn’t work as well on them if the surface isn’t flat

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct smaller.com; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

2 Comments on "Bug Catcher Vacuum Review – a Nifty Device"

  1. Maybe for the larger bugs it could double as a juicer.

  2. Mmmmm…tasty! 😉

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