U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers have deciphered chemical pheromones emitted by the brown marmorated stink bug, opening the door to better attractants and lures.
A study detailing the chemical structure of the stink bug's aggregation pheromone was published in the "Journal of Natural Products," according to a news release.
As part of the study, scientists collected airborne extracts released by the stink bug to attract other stunk bugs to feeding and overwintering sites. The work was led by Ashot Khrimian, who's based at the Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory in Beltsville, Md.
The brown marmorated stink bug is known for releasing these aggregation pheromones in the fall, attracting hundreds of not thousands of bugs to houses, dead trees and other structures.
The researchers found two chemicals produced exclusively by adult males. They then synthesized the attractants as lures.
Results showed the compounds were effective throughout the summer at capturing males, females and immature nymphs. They also were three times more effective when combined in one trap than when used individually.
Also involved were researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology in Taipei, Taiwan.
The invasive brown marmorated stink bug has been confirmed in more than 30 states nationwide. In regions where it has become established, it has forced fruit and vegetable growers to increase insecticide applications in an effort to control the pest.
The bug has a wide host range, feeding on everything from soybeans and field corn to apples, peppers and peaches.