Killing Stink Bugs Inspires American Inventors

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Shutterstock

    You don't need to grow vegetables to know about the "biblical" infestation of brown marmorated stink bugs that has swept through the mid-Atlantic states. 

    For homeowners around Maryland and Virginia, collections of dead bugs on the windowsill have been a common sight for some time now.

    Everything You Wanted to Know About Stink Bugs

    [DC] Everything You Wanted to Know About Stink Bugs
    Michael Raupp, an Entomology professor at the University of Maryland, discusses stink bugs. Raupp has a "bug of the week" page: click here.

    But the stink bug has not just inspired disgust -- the species has set off a new wave of American ingenuity.

    Up and down the East Coast, inventors are tinkering away in basements and garages, coming up with new ways to stop the stink bug.

    Stink Bug Invasion

    [DC] Stink Bug Invasion
    News4's Darcy Spencer spoke with people upset about stink bugs.

    Stink bug traps range from $50 models sold on the internet to the homemade variety made out of cardboard.  Here are a few of our favorites:

    A trait many stink bug trappers have noticed is the insect's love of light.  With that in mind, an inventor from the Pittsburgh area came up with a trap that uses an LED light and a soda bottle.

    J R Productions has posted a YouTube video that explains exactly how to make the trap.  What you need to do is cut the top off of a two-liter soda bottle.  Buy an LED tap light, available at hardware or department stores, and place it inside the soda bottle.  Take the top of the soda bottle that you have cut off, turn it upside down, and place it back on the body of the bottle, creating a funnel.  Tape the top in place, and put tape around the bottom of the bottle, so that the light only shines up the through the top of the bottle.  The bugs will see the light, climb down in the bottle, and get stuck, trapped by the funnel.

    After that, you can flush the bugs down the toilet, or bag them up and throw them in the garbage.  Some homeowners are tossing bugs into a mixture of water and ammonia to kill them.

    The infestation first hit in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, an area that has been a hotbed of stink bug trap innovation.  The Hunterdon County Democrat reported on a stink bug "motel" that can be crafted out of cardboard.  Delaware Township carpenter Jody Williams noticed how the bugs loved to crawl in the spaces in between walls.

    His invention is elegant in its simplicity - two square pieces of cardboard, separated by three thin pieces of wood, creating a stink bug sandwich.  The bugs, loving tight spaces, will crawl in between the cardboard.  After a few hours, the trapper can pick up the trap and shake it out over a garbage bag, or the water and ammonia mixture.

    Don't have the time or space to build your own trap?  There are inventors that are happy to sell you a trap you can use right out of the box.  A former aircraft engineer that moved into a stink bug infested home is now marketing the trap he designed, the Post-Gazette reported.  The Strube String Bug Light Trap looks like a back-lit bird feeder, but you likely won't be sitting around on your porch listening to the songs of the visitors it attracts.  The trap uses light and a faint pheromone to attract bugs, which you can then dispose of after the trap gets full.  The trap can be ordered for $50 here.

    Of course, there is an organic path to stink bug control, too.  Woody Woodruff, of Red Wiggler Farm in Clarksburg, Md., plants trap crops to attract the bugs.  He noticed that even though stink bugs loved to eat his tomatoes and eggplants, they were even more attracted to sunflowers.  He's planted many around the farm, which help divert the pests from the plants he wants to protect.