Trap Would Help Keep Stink Bugs Outdoors
July 27, 2009
A trap to keep stinks bugs from Asia
out of peoples homes is being developed by
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, has expanded its
range to Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware and Oregon since its
discovery in Pennsylvania about a decade ago.
The bugs impact on crops remains to be seen, but the biggest problem
so far has been that it looks for warm wintering sites and makes its way
indoors when the weather turns cool each fall. These bugs dont harm
humans, but if theyre squashed or pulled into a vacuum cleaner, they
Aldrich and chemist
Khrimian, at the ARS
Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., were recently
stunned by the infestation seen in a Maryland home. The bugs can be a
particular problem in attics and crawlspaces, and homeowners have no easy way
of getting rid of them, according to Aldrich. Stink bugs are not particularly
susceptible to insecticides.
Aldrichs experimental traps show that stink bugs increased from barely
detectable levels in 2004 to numbers that now surpass those of the native green
Aldrich and Khrimian are searching for an attractant pheromone to synthesize
and use in a trap. In Japan, the brown-winged green bug, Plautia stali,
a cousin of the new arrival, releases a compound that is the basis for a
lure used in a Japanese commercial trap.
Khrimian synthesized the compound and with it produced experimental
dispensers used in traps to monitor the bugs population. But synthesizing
the bugs own pheromones would likely make for a more effective trap than
one based on pheromones from another stink bug.
Aldrich is raising H. halys in his lab, inserting them into specially
vented tubes, and using gas chromatography to look for pheromones among their
more about this research in the July 2009 issue of Agricultural
ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.