Foul situation: Virginia Tech professor probes bug stealth | Education

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Su Clauson-Wicker special at the Roanoke Times

BLACKSBURG – Shut the hatches and shut the doors, it’s fall and the brown mottled bugs are coming.

The marbled bug, as it is often called, is an invasive species that arrived in Pennsylvania in the 1990s, likely via imports from Asia, and has been a pest ever since.

While the stink bug is technically harmless to people aside from the nasty stench and annoying buzz, it still seems to find a way to sneak into our homes, closets, and closets. Ben Chambers, an associate professor of engineering training at Virginia Tech, has spent six years studying the abilities and inclinations of the BMSB to determine how they accomplish this stealth and how they can be thwarted.

“The way people talk, you’d think bedbugs could get into just about anything,” Chambers said. “But we now know that you won’t see much of it going through a rigid 3 by 7 millimeter opening.”

Stack three pennies on top of each other and their height is 3 mm. Seven millimeters is the width of a standard pencil. It’s a very small opening. But Chambers says you don’t want spaces this size in an energy efficient home.

“Weathering your home is the best thing to do,” Chambers said. “Insects usually enter through cracks around windows and doors. Seal cracks and gaps.

He also found that the insects were drawn to light sources and made their way to bulbs in spring and summer, but not as much in fall and winter. They also responded more in the afternoon than at night. Thus, a trapping system using light would work better during the day.


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