Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Did the Stink Bug Trap Work?

Time to count the trapped stink bugs

Monday was Day 14 of my experiment with the Rescue Stink Bug Trap, and since the manufacturer said the attractant used in the trap was good for two weeks, I decided to take down the trap and count how many brown marmorated stink bugs it had caught.

Trap directions include a section on “Empty and Reload Trap,” but the directions are simpler than actually doing it when there are live stink bugs moving about inside the trap.  To simplify matters, I put an inch of water in a bucket, added a few drops of dishwashing liquid, and then took apart the trap inside the bucket, shaking the “cone” and “trap chamber,” tapping them on the side of the bucket, and occasionally flicking a stink bug into the suds with a finger.

I was surprised at the number of stink bugs in the soapy water, but many were still practicing their best doggy paddles, so I waited for a half hour until the soapy water had taken its toll.  Then I used a plastic spoon to dish out and line up the dead stink bugs on a paper towel for easy counting.

106 stink bugs
Total: 106 brown marmorated stink bugs, from mature adults to early instars (phases), plus a moth, an ant, a host of gnats, and a few other soggy insects that I didn’t recognize.

What’s my opinion of the Rescue Stink Bug Trap? My feelings are mixed.

On the positive side, the trap caught 106 stink bugs, which means those 106 stink bugs won’t be trying to get into our house when the weather cools, perhaps as early as this weekend.  The trap has excellent instructions and was easy to assemble.

On the negative side, considering the number of stink bugs residing at Meadow Glenn, 106 stink bugs are about as significant as one of the commas in the text of this posting.  Before I took the trap down, I looked around its target area.  On the nearby Japanese maple I counted 17 stink bugs on the main trunk and major branches.  Around our front door and on the gutter were another 23.  In short, I think the trap made no appreciable difference in the number of stink bugs we’re dealing with.

What was the cost of stink bugs caught—always an interest of this Frugal Gardener?  A trap retails for about $20.00, so the cost for each stink bug caught was about 19¢.  If you hate stink bugs, that may be an acceptable cost, but if you have thousands or tens of thousands and wish to protect a large area with multiple traps, well, go figure with your calculator. 

Now nine feet from
our front door
What next?  I reassembled the trap and hung it nine feet from our front door, as the trap’s instructions suggest hanging it in late summer or fall “within 10 feet of house to intercept stink bugs before they enter homes to overwinter.”

Before I re-hung the trap, did I replace the two original two-week lures with new seven-week refills as the manufacturer suggests, at a cost of approximately $10?  Another trap user tipped me that original lures last much longer than two weeks, so I’m using the originals still and will check occasionally to see how long they attract the critters, though by frosty mid-October, most stink bugs will have found overwintering spots.

After one day in its new location, the trap has lured seven stink bugs into its “trap chamber.”


  1. Bob, it looks like your experiment yielded about the same results as the one Wayne White from American Pest conducted recently! We did a three part video series on YouTube to show our followers the progression! Glad you're still fighting the war on stink bugs! :-)

  2. The good thing about that experiment is that it worked. I admire how you discovered a way to control your pest problem. Maybe this can still be modified. I think this idea is smart in terms of using cheap materials. Good luck!

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