What’s Up with the Stink Bugs
As I was vacuuming my house today, I accidentally sucked up a stink bug. My vacuum immediately started emitting the odor of a smooshed stink bug, a cilantro-like smell. The scent didn’t dissipate for an hour or so. It got me thinking . . . what’s up with the stink bugs?
Where Did They Come From?
The stink bug that has become such a nuisance in the United States is an invasive species from Asia. It was identified in 1998 in Pennsylvania and has made its way across the United States ever since. The official name for this bug is the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys. The mid-Atlantic region of the United States sees the most instances of stink bugs. They cause severe agricultural problems, and as most of us know, they are a huge nuisance!
What do They Look Like?
Stink bugs look like they wear of shield of armor on their backs and have brown blotches. They range in size from about 14-17mm long.
During the reproduction season (May-August), females lay their yellow to light green eggs, between 20-30, on the underside of leaves. Once fall rolls around, the newly hatched stink bugs have shed their exoskeleton several times and are adults. The stink bugs reproduce three times within a year.
Why are Stink Bugs Invasive?
Because stink bugs came from another country, they do not have any natural predators. They are free to multiply every year. Unless contained by pest management solutions, these bugs continue to reproduce and move across the country.
Are Stink Bugs Dangerous to Humans?
Stink bugs feed on plants by using a straw-like mouthpart, not teeth. Unlike mosquitos or bed bugs, stink bugs do not feed on blood. They can’t chew holes in plants and can not bite people or animals. They also do not stink. The only harm they can do is emit an awful scent when handled.
What is That Smell?
Stink bugs are appropriately named. When handled or squished, they smell. The scent resembles that of cilantro. A unique set of glands in the insects’ abdomen releases a substance when it feels threatened. This substance travels from the glands to the exoskeleton, where it seeps into the air.
Why Are They Bad?
These stinky bugs feed on our agricultural crops and garden plants. With those straw-like mouthparts, they suck all the nutrients out of our fruits, stems, and leaves.
Fruits become pitted and scarred while leaves look dotted with small holes after a stink bug feeds on them. In fields where stink bugs are prevalent, the bugs infest the edges around the field, creating an “edge effect.”
Why Are They in Your Home?
In the fall, the warmth coming from our homes attracts the stink bugs. They want to get inside so that they can overwinter somewhere cozy. Who can blame them?
Once inside, they gather in bookshelves, houseplants, crack in the baseboards, and attics.
To keep them out of your home, make sure all your doors and windows seal properly. If you have any openings in your foundation, put in screen vents to keep the pests from making their way into your home.
These stink bugs also like certain trees you may have in your yard. You could be involuntarily calling them to you. They love tree-of-heaven, mimosa, boxelder, and the princess tree. Lights around your house could be calling them to you too.
Check all houseplants before bringing them inside for the winter. Stowing away in the soil or leaves of your plants is another route into your house.
What Can You Do to Get Rid of Them?
If you have several in your home, dispose of them, so they don’t reproduce. You can drop them in soapy water and then compost them, or put them in a ziplock bag and throw them away. I would NOT recommend vacuuming them up. Been there, done that!
To see how prevalent this pesky pest is in your area, click the link below. This webpage is dedicated to stopping the migration of this bug.
Stink bugs are a nuisance and trouble-makers, but they do not harm humans or animals. Here’s to keeping these pesky guys at bay!
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I’ve always loved gardening and recently started gardening full-time. I also enjoy tending to our chickens, dogs, and other family pets (a bird, a snake, and rabbits).