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Catch indoor stinkbugs with homemade traps

Saturday - 9/24/2011, 6:15pm  ET

Keep stink bugs out with this easy-to-make trap

The cries have been heard from all over TOP-land: The stink bugs are coming; the stink bugs are coming ... INSIDE!

Yes, now that they've finished violating our late season tomatoes, the stinkers are looking for ways to get into our houses to hibernate for the winter. Enter Jody Williams, an amateur inventor from New Jersey who created a simple way to intercept them.

Jody's trap is simplicity itself. He uses two thick pieces of cardboard -- each about the size of an extra-large pizza box -- and three long strips of wood, each about 5/16 of an inch thick, "to create the size space that stinkbugs seem to prefer crawling into," he notes.

He staples the three strips of wood, lengthwise, to the inside of one piece of cardboard -- one strip down the center and the other two several inches from each edge.

Then, he staples the other piece of cardboard overtop and hangs it on the outside of his house, where most of the stinkers are gathering.

The stinkers crawl inside in huge numbers. Then once a day, he heartily shakes the contents out into a big plastic trash bag, closes the bag quickly and puts it out in the sun to kill the stinkers. Then he hangs the trap back up.

He reports capturing thousands of pests that would otherwise have come inside to watch TV with him all winter. You'll find step by step photos and a great how-to video at Jody's website.

Trap indoor stinkers with light

And what about the ones that do get indoors?

Late this 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 so that the bugs will enter the trap instead of your tomatoes. And it was designed to be retro-fitted with a light instead of those sex lures for indoor use. The light assembly should now be available at the same stores. Here is what it looks like.

It's a fixture containing six cute little LEDs that can be powered by a wall socket or batteries. The bugs -- presumably all kinds of bugs -- are attracted to the light, and they 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 it's the only light source in the area. In the morning all the stinkers will be trapped in the trap.

Note: If you still have working pheromone lures for the outdoor version of the Rescue trap, hang that trap outside for a while. Or, take the pheromone lures out and put them inside your homemade outdoor trap to make it doubly effective.

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. Here's the one Gardens Alive sells. And here's one from Victor that you can find at some retail locations.

Make your own light trap

You can also try a few 'do it yourself' versions. There are several You Tube videos that show you how to make a trap similar to the Rescue device using a battery powered LED fixture, which is apparently sold at home stores for use in unlighted closets and such, and an empty soda bottle.

Or, you can 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. You can have a 60's flashback party and lure stinkbugs to their doom, all in one night.

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