Bug Blog

Don't be fooled by Stink Bugs!
Still hoping the "polar vortex" killed all the stink bugs? Then the April Fool's joke may be on you.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are hardy enough to withstand sub-zero temperatures because they have the equivalent of anti-freeze in their bodies. What's more, most stink bugs hibernate indoors so they're protected from the winter weather. 

Right now, stink bugs are waking up from their slumber and starting to head outdoors, where they will soon mate and multiply. Two adult stink bugs can become hundreds in a matter of weeks. 

Stop stink bugs now: Early action is critical to keep their populations from growing. Use the RESCUE!® Stink Bug Trap outdoors with the patented pheromone attractants to lure and trap the stink bugs in your yard. Consistent use of the trap throughout the spring and summer will cut down the population and reduce the numbers that want to come back indoors to hibernate in September and October. 

The best place to hang your Stink Bug Trap in spring is a deciduous tree where emerging bugs will head to mate -- usually one that has sprouted new spring leaves. If such a tree is not available, hang the trap from a fence, stake or post.

For every female stink bug trapped during mating season, a potential 400 stink bugs are eliminated.

Post Date:  April 1, 2014
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RESCUE! Stink Bug Attractant is new, improved and now, patented!
Heavens to murgantiol -- a more powerful weapon against stink bugs is patented and on the market!

Sterling International, manufacturer of the RESCUE!® Stink Bug Trap, has received a U.S. patent (8,663,620 B2) for murgantiol as a stink bug attractant.

In testing, murgantiol was proven to have a synergistic effect on the original attractant used in the RESCUE!® Stink Bug Trap. By adding murgantiol, a proven attractant on its own, to the original RESCUE!® attractant, their combined effectiveness is multiplied -- meaning, the product traps even more stink bugs!

RESCUE!® Stink Bug Traps and Attractant refills with this new & improved formulation are already on store shelves, having been part of product shipments in 2013. 

Permit us to geek out on chemistry and entomology for a moment: Our investigative path focused on murgantiol as a known aggregation pheromone for the Harlequin bug. Sterling synthesized and tested the molecule on the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) and found a strong "cross-attractancy". Methyl 2E,4E,6Z-decatrienoate, an aggregation pheromone for the brown-winged stink bug, was reported and further proven as a strong cross-attractant for both the BMSB and the green stink bug, Chinavia hilaris. We then tested the two molecules together and found a surprisingly strong synergistic effect for attracting Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs.

Unlike the original RESCUE!® attractant which worked best during the late summer and fall, the new synergistic effect with murgantiol means a better-than-ever means of killing stink bugs in early spring, right after their emergence from overwintering sites. It continues to be extremely effective throughout the summer and fall seasons.

"Our new attractant is more powerful, but still within the active range of 30 feet," said Rod Schneidmiller, president and founder of Sterling International. "We develop our products to lure only the insects that are already in the consumer's yard."

Sterling's Director of Research, Dr. Qing-He Zhang, adds that a key window of time to use the RESCUE!® Stink Bug Trap and Attractant outdoors is coming up in just a few weeks. "Once stink bugs start waking up from hibernation and heading outdoors in spring, it will be crucial to trap them starting April 1, before they start mating and multiplying," he says.




Post Date:  March 6, 2014
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What do cold weather and snow do to hibernating insects?
The winter of 2014 has had much of the country surrounded by snow and crushed by cold. Many are hoping this weather will bury the bugs… but will it?

The answer is not necessarily. Insects are quite adaptable to cold, and can be surprisingly hardy. Thanks to their biology and their behavior, many insects have no problem surviving winter’s frigid temperatures.

Biology: Stink bugs and other insects have the ability to super-cool themselves when they hibernate. Dr. Qing-He Zhang, Director of Research and Development at RESCUE!®, compares this super-cooling ability to “antifreeze” inside the insect bodies that allows them to tolerate sub-zero temperatures.

Behavior: Insects such as stink bugs, yellowjackets and Japanese beetles also have behavioral means of surviving the winter. Of course, we know that huge numbers of stink bugs go indoors and hibernate in houses, which protects them (while causing plenty of irritation to the homeowners!). Many insects may hide under soil or in a hollow tree stump. Japanese beetles can burrow into the soil several feet down so they’re protected. For any insects overwintering outdoors, a heavy snow cover actually helps to provide a nice shelter.

“Ironically, a mild winter and early spring can be more deadly to insects than a long, cold winter,” says Dr. Zhang.

Why? “Because an early thaw can cause the bugs to emerge from hibernation earlier than normal… and before there are ample food sources available to survive,” he explains. 

The bottom line: Don’t let winter lull you into a false sense of security concerning insects. Make sure you are prepared with our traps to catch these stink bugs, wasps, hornets, yellowjackets and Japanese beetles when they wake up in spring!
Post Date:  February 5, 2014
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A stink bug smorgasbord!
Brown marmorated stink bugs have been a scourge in the U.S. ever since they arrived from Asia in the late 1990s. As an invasive pest, stink bugs have had no natural insect enemies in this country to keep their populations down. But that may be changing, as some beneficial creepy crawlies are developing an appetite for this stinky pest. For help in the fight against stink bugs, we can look to the arachnid and insect world. (Hat tip: University of Maryland Professor Mike Raupp's "Bug of the Week" blog.)

In this video, a brown marmorated stink bug gets stuck in the web of a black and yellow garden spider, who quickly comes along and wraps him up: 



And then the same spider makes a meal of the stink bug! 



This praying mantis found a stink bug to be a good source of protein. (It even licks its "fingers" after the last bite!)



And then there's the wheel bug -- a species of assassin bugs that preys on other insects, including stink bugs. 

Post Date:  December 10, 2013
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Stink Bugs and you: It's complicated
Stink bugs are rearing their ugly heads again around the country, announcing their presence and intent to invade your house throughout late fall and winter.

Although you don’t want a relationship with this bug, if you live in any of the affected areas, it’s in your life for the time being. And if your relationship with the stink bug was to be defined in social media, you could say “It’s complicated”.

What makes this bug so complicated? Start with the fact that it’s an invasive species, non-native to the U.S. So it has no natural insect enemies to keep its populations in check.

It’s also the fact that it’s a pest both outdoors and indoors. And the fact that their “stink” is a defensive measure to warn other stink bugs of a threat – not tell them there’s a party.

But the main thing that makes stink bugs so complicated is the fact that controlling them is counterintuitive; when they’re out in the open and most visible is not the easiest or best time to trap them.

Stink bugs are most noticeable and cause the most panic when they congregate on the side of a house – usually on the sunniest side, and usually in September and October. However, this is the time it gets complicated. A switch goes off in their tiny stink bug brains when their focus is only on finding a warm indoor spot to go to sleep. They don’t respond to the outdoor trap with the pheromone lures, and they won’t respond to light traps either. They almost become tiny robots that don’t react to any outside stimuli. Your best bet if you want to get them off the house in fall may be to use a spray that makes direct contact with the bug. From October until January, you may be stuck with stink bugs hibernating in your home.

Once the calendar year changes over, stink bugs wake up from hibernation inside your house. They do this when they run out of food stores and their body tells them it’s spring – even if there’s snow on the ground.

You can use the RESCUE! Stink Bug Trap with the light attachment in your attic to catch stink bugs as they wake up from hibernation.

But the real opportunity to significantly decrease the stink bug population happens outdoors.

When is the best time to trap stink bugs outdoors? There are two critical windows to stop their spread:

Early spring, around April 1: This is when stink bugs start to emerge from houses and head to the foliage to mate and multiply. Since a single female stink bug can lay up to 400 eggs over the summer, this is an optimal time to break their life cycle by catching them in the RESCUE! Stink Bug Trap. Think of every stink bug you catch as hundreds that will never be around in the fall.

Late August/early September: This is when stink bugs that were hatched from eggs laid over the summer reach adulthood and appear in greater numbers. As gardens reach maturity and trees produce fruit, they provide sources of food so the bugs can fatten up to prepare for hibernation. Those who have used our Stink Bug Trap consistently over the spring and summer report a sharp spike in the number of stink bugs caught two weeks before Labor Day.

Here are three time periods to remember if you want to trap stink bugs:

1)      January 1: When you put holiday decorations away, get out the trap. Use the RESCUE! Stink Bug Trap indoors with the light attachment to catch stink bugs during January, February and March as they wake up from hibernation.

2)      April 1: Don’t be fooled; use the RESCUE! Stink Bug Trap outdoors to catch stink bugs before they mate and multiply.

3)      August 15: When kids are preparing to head back to school, stink bugs are getting ready to head back to the house. Use the RESCUE! Stink Bug Trap outdoors to catch them before they get there.
 
Post Date:  October 17, 2013
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