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Posted at 01:45 PM ET, 08/17/2011

Traps for fighting the inevitable stink bug invasion


Three stink bugs were lured into a homemade trap that was made from a two liter soda bottle, tape, and a battery powered light. The bugs were trapped on August 10, 2011. Kevin Ambrose

The first wave of stink bugs arrived at my house last week. It was a small wave, I saw about two dozen stink bugs crawling up the siding of my house to the soffits, no doubt searching for an area to hibernate this winter. I thought they were supposed to arrive in late September?

The brief, cool weather that we received last week seemed to motivate some of the bugs to seek out their winter home a little early in the season. Unfortunately, my house and many other houses and businesses in our area have been targeted as hibernation havens by these relentless bugs. They return each year. I fear the waves of bugs will grow with increasingly scary numbers as our weather cools down this autumn.

During the summer months, the stink bugs target fruit and vegetable crops and threaten to taint the taste of our area wines. As fall approaches, the stink bugs leave the crop fields, orchards, and gardens and seek shelter under rocks, under mulch, and, unfortunately, inside of our houses.

Last December, I wrote a post about combating stink bugs. I hired a contractor to caulk the outside of my house and I sprayed poison on the siding of my house. Both efforts failed to keep the stink bugs out. This year, I’m trying a different strategy. I’m building traps for the bugs. I am hoping to catch as many of the bugs as possible before they enter the living space of my home.

Read below for details about building a stink bug trap.

I noticed that hibernating stink bugs in my home were attracted to light. For most of last winter, the bugs would slowly emerge out of my walls and ceilings and clumsily buzz the lights and then settle upon a nearby wall. I had to catch each bug individually. It was a frustrating and stinky chore.

To combat the stink bugs this year, I plan to use battery-powered light traps to the catch the bugs. I researched various types of stink bug traps and I found a simple and inexpensive design based on a two liter soda bottle and a battery powered light. When the weather cooled last week, I tested the trap outside and caught a few stink bugs next to my house. It seems to work. I plan to build multiple traps and put them inside my attic, outside the house, and in any room that has a stink bug problem.

The trap design is outlined below with photos. Let us know if you have any experience with stink bug traps or keeping the stink bugs out of your house. I plan to write another post this autumn to discuss the trap’s success and any lessons learned in the fight against the stink bug.


Step 1: Cut a two liter soda bottle in two pieces, carefully slicing the bottle across the top edge of its label. Make the cut as straight as possible. The edge of the label provides the guide.


Step 2: Remove the bottle’s label from the bottle and apply weather stripping tape, or masking tape, from the bottom of the bottle to where it was cut. The tape helps the stink bugs get traction when landing and walking up the trap.


Step 3: Tape a battery powered light to the bottom of the bottle so that it shines into the bottle. The light can also be placed inside of the bottle, facing up. If the light is placed inside the bottle, it has to be separated from the bugs when the trap is emptied. I used the Sylvania DOT-it light.


Step 4: Invert the top of the bottle and gently insert it into the bottom half of the bottle. Fasten the two parts of the bottle together with a couple pieces of tape so that the cut edges are even. A small amount of soapy water can be added to the bottle if the light is taped to the bottom. This will drown the bugs.


Step 5: Turn on the light and place the trap near the house, in the attic, or in a room that has stink bugs. It works best in the dark to attract the bugs. The light has a push button center and it can be turned on and off with a pencil, pen, or butter knife. The trap can be emptied by removing its top and shaking the bugs into a small bag or into a toilet.


August 15, 2011: Plenty of stink bugs are in the trap. It’s going to be a long stink bug season.

By  |  01:45 PM ET, 08/17/2011

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