Flying-Insect Trap Could Ease Lady Beetle NuisanceBy Tara Weaver
December 29, 1998
WASHINGTON, Dec. 29A new indoor trap uses a blacklight to capture flying insects, including a pesky ladybug species that sometimes clusters inside homes, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman announced today.
The trap, invented by U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists in Georgia, doesn't harm beneficial insects or use chemical insecticide. Instead, flying insects attracted by the blacklight are caught in a bag that has a non-stick surface. The insects are collected alive for subsequent release or disposal.
"Once commercially developed, this trap could provide relief to homeowners annoyed by lady beetles that enter their homes in large numbers in the fall, said Glickman. The insects are only seeking refuge from approaching winter, but they are a serious nuisance for many Americans."
In tests, the trap captured nearly 100 percent of Asian multicolored lady beetles, known to scientists as Harmonia axyridis, an imported species.
"We urge people not to kill these lady beetles. They're harmless," he said. "Outdoors, they are an environmentally sound and effective natural control for harmful
pests such as aphids, greenbugs and other insects that damage crops. Still, indoors and in large numbers, they can be bothersome." If agitated or squashed, the beetles can emit a foul smell and secrete a bright yellow substance that stains walls and fabrics, he noted.
Researchers have applied for a patent and USDA's Agricultural Research Service is currently evaluating applications from companies interested in licensing the technology for commercial use.
The new trap was developed by retired ARS scientist W. Louis Tedders, formerly with ARS' Southeastern Fruit and Nut Research Laboratory, Byron, Ga. To date, Tedders said, no available trap uses visual stimuli to catch almost 100 percent of flying insects without allowing them to land outside the trap where they can possibly damage furnishings.
The new trap is small--about 12 by 24 inches--and can be easily assembled or disassembled in as little as two minutes. If necessary, an insecticide can be added inside the bag for killing harmful pests.
Scientific contact: W. Louis Tedders (retired, ARS consultant), ARS Southeastern Fruit and Nut Research Laboratory, Byron, Ga., phone (912) 987-4262.