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Va. Tech studies best way to kill stink bugs

It’s spring, which means that brown marmorated stink bugs are out and about and making a general nuisance of themselves again. A team of researchers at Virginia Tech recently concluded a two-year study of stink bug eradication techniques and has found that a simple home-built method is both cheaper and more effective than several store-bought traps. The findings will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Extension.

John Aignar and Thomas Kuhar enlisted the aid of 16 Virginia households experiencing significant stink bug infestations in 2012 and 2013. Over an 11-week period in the spring of each year, each household tested four different stink bug traps – two commercial traps, a homemade trap involving a 2-liter soda bottle made into a funnel, and a homemade trap consisting of an aluminum roasting pan full of soapy water left out on a countertop.

All four traps operate under the same principle, using light to lure the bugs into the trap. And among the four, the pan of soapy water was the clear winner, killing 14 times as many stink bugs as one of the store-bought traps. Best of all? Assuming you already own a lamp, a leftover foil turkey pan and some dish detergent, the cost is essentially zero.

In the 2012 test, the Strube’s Stink Bug Trap performed admirably (about two captured bugs per trap per week), but it was still outshone by the water pan (a little more than three captured per trap per week). The soda bottle trap registered about 0.2 bugs, and a Sterling Rescue Stink Bug Trap caught nearly nothing. The 2013 results show the same general distribution, although the Strube model was discontinued that year and was thus excluded from the analysis.

“Although this trap may not remove every stink bug from a building,” the researchers wrote, “it will provide a homeowner with some relief from their stink bug infestations.” The trap is so simple the researchers were able to fit a complete “how-to” in a 22-second video tutorial viewable at youtube.com/watch?v=DNjzdH45XT4.

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