Last fall I was away caring for my sick mother when the brown marmorated stink bugs invaded my house, and they were bad roommates all winter. Never again! This year I have aggressively collected them in jars of soapy water, sometimes catching several hundred a day. By accident, I also have discovered several passive traps that temporarily detain stink bugs in the house until I can collect them:
~Fabric curtains and wall hangings seem to offer a comfortable way-station for the stink bugs. If I wait until the bugs quiet down in the evening, I can scour the curtains with my death jar (canning jar one third full of slightly soapy water) and easily gather several dozen.
~Folded cloth placed near doors and windows where the stink bugs enter seems to be an irresistible passive habitat trap. From two loosely folded old pillowcases I have collected as many as a hundred BMSBs, herded into a broad bowl of soapy water with a gloved hand.
~Pieces of cardboard with spaces between the layers are another good way to collect large numbers of stink bugs at once. And, although it's gross, a piece of cardboard under the sofa becomes a stink bug resort.
~Unwanted books with a couple of chapters cut out make excellent habitat traps, too. Last year, I was horrified to find dead and dormant stink bugs throughout my cookbook shelf. This year I gave them their own books, and cut out pages to make spaces for them. The book method is a great way to collect them because you can fan the pages into a bucket of soapy water to get them out.
These and other passive habitat traps are the best way to deal with brown marmorated stink bugs in your house. None of the currently-available stink bug traps are effective, so don’t waste your money. As you make your own habitat traps, keep in mind that you are trying to mimic the sheltered space under the bark of dead trees. West Virginia researchers have found that in the wild, brown marmorated stink bugs spend the winter beneath the peeling bark of dead oak and locust trees.
Scientists are hopeful that a tiny Asian wasp that parasitizes BMSB eggs will be ready for trial release by 2015; specimens are now in quarantine at Oregon State University, with research proceeding as quickly as possible. See the second video below if you feel the need for encouragement.