Living With Stink Bugs

2011 was another banner year for Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs on the East Coast of the US. Entomologists have been busy trying to help growers find solutions to the attacks on their crops. Homeowners have been challenged by the stink bugs invading their homes. This has brought out the do it yourself-ers who have developed a variety of devices for trapping the stink bugs. Some traps have gone commercial and command high prices from homeowners desperate for solutions. Egalitarian inventors are sharing their inventions via YouTube.

As winter approaches, stink bugs search for overwintering sites, often inside people’s homes. Jody Williams has invented a pizza box trap. Two pieces of cardboard separated by strips of wood is an enticing harborage. The trap is placed outside the home to intercept the bugs before they get indoors. Placed near the house, the trap fills with bugs. The trap can fit into a garbage bag and the bugs shaken out of the trap. The garbage bag can be placed in the sun to heat kill the bugs.

Once inside, the methods change. Julian Smith noted that stink bugs inside his home were attracted to lights. He devised a trap from a 2 liter soda bottle. The top of the bottle is cut off and inverted onto the bottom to form a funnel. A battery operated LED light is placed into the bottom. The bottle is sealed with tape and strips placed on the bottle sides to allow stinkbugs to climb the bottle. Once the bugs scale the summit, they topple into the funnel and slide into the bottle bottom. Once inside, they cannot find their way out. The trap can be placed in attics or dark areas of a house and collect hundreds of bugs. The device without the light can be used to collect the bugs from the walls of a house. The funnel is placed under the bugs and they are collected in the bottle.

Some homeowners are content to live with stink bugs in their homes. They are quick to point out that stink bugs are likely entering the home through openings that allow cold air to enter the home in the winter. The stink bugs, they argue, are energy monitors. If people properly winterize their homes, stink bugs will not get inside.

For those whose homes are not airtight or those who are interested in do-it-yourself insect traps, check out the video.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, Environment, Invasive Species, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Living With Stink Bugs

  1. CGJ says:

    This is cool. I’m sure a trap like this could be used to trap any number of interesting insects.

  2. Pingback: Trapping Stink Bugs | Living With Insects Blog

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