Scientists at Virginia Tech think they’ve found a new way to control stinkbugs without conventional pesticides. If it works, it could save millions of dollars for farmers, and perhaps the sanity of the rest of us, when the bugs resume their invasion every spring.
The team of scientists has been studying the stink bugs’ pheromones – those chemical signals that attract members of the same species for mating.
Stink bugs make pheromones inside their own bodies, but the team figured out how to synthesize them in the lab. The idea is to go one step further and actually produce the mate attracting substance inside expendable plants known as ‘trap’ crops. The decoy plants attract the bugs, luring them away from cash crops and potentially, peoples’ houses and gardens.
According to a news release from Virginia Tech, there’s commercial interest in this kind of pest management. The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.