Tips on getting rid of those stinking stink bugs

Mike McGrath, wtop.com

Trap indoor stinkers with light

All of the stink bugs that snuck inside your house last fall to hibernate are now waking up and coming out of hiding to crawl all over your morning bowl of Lucky Charms.

What can you do?

  • Squish ‘em in a tissue (very emotionally satisfying)
  • Suck them up into a canister vacuum, Dustbuster-type thingie or a dedicated “Insect Vac” like this one offered by Hammacher Schlemmer. It’s the original. There are several other types available
  • Trap them using light as your lure

Yes, light. Late last summer, the Rescue brand Stink Bug Trap appeared for sale in supermarkets and home stores. It’s a typical insect trap that you fit with pheromone lures and hang in your garden, so the bugs will enter the trap instead of your tomatoes. And it was designed to be retrofitted with a light instead of those sex lures for indoor use (that light assembly should now be available at the same stores.

It’s a fixture containing six cute little LEDs that can be powered by a wall socket or batteries. The bugs are attracted to the light, enter the trap and then can’t get out.

Place it in the attic, basement, or whatever room of your home seems to be their entry point, and make sure to turn off any other lights. In the morning all the stinkers will be trapped in the trap.

Oh, and the flea traps I always recommend for home infestations (a small light suspended above a sheet of sticky paper positioned in an otherwise dark room) should also work well. They’re easy to make, and there are several pre-made brands available. Mail order firm Gardens Alive sells a version and Victor (the mouse trap people) has another version.

Make your own light trap

You can also try a few do-it-yourself versions. There are several YouTube videos showing how to make a trap similar to the Rescue device using a battery powered LED fixture (apparently sold at home stores for use in unlighted closets and such) and an empty soda bottle.

Below is one example:

Or get an old, working table lamp, wrap cardboard around the body of the lamp and then spray the cardboard with sticky stuff or cover it with double stick tape. Bugs attracted to the light on top of the lamp will get stuck on the ‘tar baby’ body. When your cardboard is covered with bugs, cut it off and replace with fresh.

Although any kind of light will probably do — provided it’s the only light source in the room — researchers trapping stinkbugs in the field report that a blacklight seems to be the most effective. And I recently noticed several styles of blacklights, including one in the shape of a standard compact fluorescent swirly bulb, in a local home store’s ‘party light’ section. Just don’t stare into the blacklight (or any other kind of light).

You can have a ’60s flashback party and lure stinkbugs to their doom, all in one night!

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