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From the "I Hope It's Not Too Late" Advice Department, it seems like a couple of companies are introducing stink bug traps and other new insecticides purportedly aimed at again knocking out stink bugs, the tomato crop's worst enemy for the past two years!
If you listened to the GardenLine show on 740 KTRH last weekend, we had some fun suggesting that high-maintenance gardeners use a shop vac or a hand-held vacuum daily as the ultimate "organic" stink bug control. The stink bug is hard to kill, because insecticides have to make physical contact to be effective. And since you may not actually see every single one, using insecticides may be a wasted effort. You could spray chemicals on your vegetable garden and never achieve total control.
A leading researcher in environmental insect controls recently told me that stink bug traps with baits were being introduced to the retail market, but they were slow in coming. Then, voila! This week I got messages from two forward-thinking retailers alerting me to two new traps on the market.
The first is from a company called RESCUE. Their stink bug trap uses multiple pheromone attractants to lure pests that are within a 30-foot radius. The bugs crawl or fly into the trap, walk up to some green "fins" and through a cone to get trapped inside where they dehydrate and die. The pheromone capsules are replaceable, but the one included only lasts two weeks. The replacements last seven weeks. Ahem!!! Do I need to ask? Why not include a seven-week capsule initially and not look so greedy?
The second trap is from a company you've heard about for years on GardenLine - Bonide. While it too uses a combination of pheromone attractants, this one appears to be a one-time use trap and lasts up to four weeks.
Another new product, while not organic like the traps, has reported great success as a contact killer, but it's far less toxic than pesticides like malathion. From Monterey Lawn & Garden, another company you've heard about for years on GardenLine, comes Bug Buster II. In the past, Bug Buster was a permethrin-based insecticide, but Bug Buster II is esfenvalerate-based. Esfenvalerate, like permethrin, is a synthetic pyrethroid. But the early reports on its effectiveness are positive, and it's for those who don't mind spraying an insecticide approved for vegetable crops but who want to avoid a nasty smell to go along with it.
As with most new products, all success stories for these are anecdotal for now. Studies need to be conducted and more research is needed to prove their absolute worth to someone like me. Also, because they are so new, finding these products can be a hit-and-miss prospect. However, Lake Hardware in Angleton and Clute alerted me to the Bonide product, and The Arbor Gate in Tomball told me about the RESCUE trap. If you've heard me recommend or endorse a place on air, there's a pretty good chance they will have one or the other. But I can pretty much assure you that none of these three products are available at any "box store."