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Stink Bug Traps, let the buyer be informed

Stink bugs have not just overrun homes and offices…but Stink bug stories have over run the media as well. Seems like twice a year, in the spring when stink bugs head outside and in the fall when they come inside, EVERYONE is taking about Stink Bugs.

And everyone is looking for an easy solution.  Which leads to why EVERYONE now seems to be selling stink bug traps to protect your home from these annoying pests.

Home-Made Stnkbug Trap

If you’ve been in a home improvement or hardware store recently you have probably seen a number of  NEW insect traps labeled “for stink bugs.” In truth, according to John Moore, M.S. Entomology, Ohio State University and Senior staff entomologist at Royal Pest Management, most of these traps …well…STINK.

Most of these traps involve the use of some sort of sticky surface to trap the insects, surrounded by cardboard, paper, or plastic construction.  Some also include lights to increase the effectiveness of the traps.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), the one that has invaded Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland and is moving south, has presented some unique challenges when trying to use traps to control or even monitor their movements. The most difficult challenge when trying to use a trap is getting stink bugs to ENTER the trap.  Stink bugs do not feed or reproduce when they are starting to enter your home. They are programmed to look for shelter to overwinter, once the days get shorter and the outside gets colder.  Traps using food attractants and sex pheromones are of little use.  In fact in most cases they will attract more stink bugs to your home.

“Currently,” says John, “there are no exterior traps that will effectively stop the stink bugs from entering your home.  Sure, exterior traps may catch a few, even a few hundred.  But, when you consider that several thousand may be working their way into you attic, trapping a few hundred makes little difference.”

“However, interior traps can give you significant reduction in the numbers of stink bugs flying around the inside of your house,”  he added

Here are some important things you should consider based upon much research (independent and USDA) and much trial and error, if you want to use traps to reduce the numbers of stink bugs inside your house:

  1. Stink bugs are difficult to keep in traps once they enter. 
  2. They seem to be very adept at finding their way out.  

Black seems to be more attractive color than others tested perhaps because it appears to be a hole or void area to them.  
Traps that use a UV light as an attractant has shown to be very effective at catching large numbers of stink bugs when placed properly.  Placing light traps in the attic, crawl space, or other dark and undisturbed areas where the stink bugs hibernate can significantly reduce the numbers of these insects in your home.  These light-based traps will also catch a number of other insects like bees and wasps.  They should incorporate the use of a glue board as the trapping method.  

In explaining the science and habits of why an interior attic light may be the most effective trap for stink bugs, John Moore explained: “Many times stink bugs enter the home along the roof line and end up in the attic space. They then can come down through the walls and other spots into the living areas of your home.  Since stink bugs navigate in part by sight, they will be attracted to the strong source of UV light in the attic and become trapped before they make it down to your bedroom.  You won’t get them all, but you trap more this way than trying to trap them outdoors or hanging a glue trap in your living room.”

Insect light traps are readily available and can be very effective in reducing the numbers of insects in your home if placed properly and maintained.  It doesn’t have to say “stink bug trap” to be effective.  Conversely, just because it may say “stink bug trap” does not mean it will do anything to solve your problem.

Also keep in mind that once YOU catch stink bugs in a trap, no matter what kind of trap you choose, YOU have to empty the trap. In the case of UV light traps in the attics, John reported that the pest professionals at Royal Pest have emptied “BUCKETS” of the stinky pests into garbage bags when servicing their traps.

And as a final note, we may be looking at an overwhelming number of stink bugs this year.  As John was leaving he asked me if I have seen many stink bugs yet this year and I told him I saw what looked like little ones in my garden on leaves. He casually said, “Well…those are the SECOND generation of stink bugs produced this summer.” According to his studies and observations, this is the first year that TWO generations of stink bugs were produced during the summer. He said if it doesn’t get really cold until October, those will grow into adults and join the first generation of the summer crawling into your home.

Twice as many stink bugs this year???? Now that really stinks.

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