It’s Time to Put an End to the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
When the cold weather strikes here in Frederick, so do the winter pests. Several species of bugs begin making their way into your home, seeking out the promise of a warm shelter. One of these home invaders is the brown marmorated stink bug we’ve all grown to hate due to its stinky smell. This smelly pest is not harmful or dangerous, but the large number they congregate in makes them a pure nuisance. So what can you do, and how can you prevent and eliminate this putrid home invader?
What is a Marmorated Stink Bug, and Where do They Come From?
Stink bugs got their name from the foul odor they release when crushed or threatened. Usually, they can be found outside, living under woodpiles, boards, and weeds. They feast on agricultural crops and farmland. But, they hate cold weather and often make their way inside our homes and businesses via windows, chimneys, and other cracks and crevices during the fall.
While Numerous stink bug species are native to the U.S., the brown marmorated stink bug originated in East Asia. They made their way to the U.S. in the 1990s and were first discovered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1998. Because they don’t have many natural predators, their population has and continues to increase.
How to Identify Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs
Stink bugs have brown and tan bodies and have patches of copper or blue metallic on their heads. As an adult, they are oval-shaped and can grow as long as 2 cm in length, and are approximately the same in width. They are usually oval but can be shield-shaped as well. Their legs extend from the sides, making them seem larger in appearance. The brown marmorated stink bug has lighter bands on the antenna and dark bands on its wings. Only adult stink bugs have fully developed wings.
Stink Bug Behavior
Stink bugs typically feed on fruits in orchards, destroying the crops of berries, tomatoes, peaches, peppers, and corn. But when the cooler air creeps in they begin to seek shelter inside the home, where they feast on the fruits and vegetables in your kitchen directly from a fruit basket or fruits and veggies sitting out. They’ll find shelter inside your walls, attics, and crawl spaces.
Brown marmorated stink bugs mate and create up to three generations per year with 20 to 30 eggs laid at a time. The eggs are light green, barrel-shaped, and can usually be found in masses attached to the underside of a host plant’s leaves. The good news is that marmorated stink bugs do not reproduce inside your home or business. These insects go through a process similar to hibernation during the winter and don’t start mating until the spring.
Are Marmorated Stink Bugs Dangerous?
Stink bugs do not bite or sting and are not harmful to people or pets. They do not cause damage to your home or foundation like termites and other pesky insects. They leave off a foul odor that smells much like the scent released by skunks when they feel threatened. This is why you should never kill a stink bug inside your home. They can also pierce through the skin of fruit and plant roots to suck out the juices with their mouth causing millions of dollars in crop damages for farmers and the agriculture industry. The young ones have also been known to feast on your inside house plants as well so if an infestation is spotted, you may want to keep an eye on your indoor ornamentals.
So Then, Why are Stink Bugs Such a Nuisance?
Stink bugs like to gather in groups: therefore, if you find one, chances are there are many lingering somewhere inside your Frederick business or home. Once one of these insects finds a warm, cozy place to overwinter, they release pheromones that send out signals to other stink bugs inviting them to join. These overly friendly insects enjoy being together and clinging to objects. During a stink bug infestation, you may often see them in clumps, piled on top of one another, sticking to the underside of a table, along windowpanes, or on the backs of drapes and curtains.
Stink Bug Prevention
Because they find their way inside through windows, doors, utility entrances, and other openings or holes, there are a few ways you can help prevent them from getting in. They include:
- Caulking or sealing any cracks and crevices around your home, including windows, doors, pipes, behind chimneys, around air conditioners and other utility entrances, and underneath the wood fascia
- Repair or replace broken screens
- Stink bugs are attracted to light, therefore, changing your exterior lighting to lower illuminating bulbs may help
- Consider removing wood stacks, leaf and rock piles, and overgrown plants near your house as they provide shelter for box elder bugs
- Because female box elder trees are the primary food source for box elder bugs, having them removed and replanted with male box elder trees is an option
Unfortunately, because they can fit through the tiniest of holes, about the size of three millimeters, sometimes they just find their way in. In this case, the best way to stop them is to get rid of them. If killing or crushing them is not a viable solution, what then can you do?
Stink Bug Elimination
Because killing these foul-smelling bugs is not an option, you can vacuum them with a small shop vac. Use one that can reach in tight and higher spaces because they can often be found near the top of the wall or on the ceiling. Be sure to empty the vacuum right away and place it in a sealed bag. Otherwise, you risk them surviving and crawling back out.
A homemade stink bug trap is also an option. One popular DIY trap involves filling a small tray or pan with soapy water and placing it underneath a night light or desk lamp. The insects will be attracted to the light, then fall into the water and drown.
Prevent and Eliminate Stink Bugs for Good With Pest Control by Royal Greens
Stop stink bugs and other pest insects for good with one of Royal Green’s Professional Lawn Care’s pest control options. Our professional technicians are knowledgeable about the most up-to-date, high-quality products and are trained to use them. Our Home Armour Premium Pest Control plan was designed to reduce the number of stink bugs and boxelder bugs within your Frederick area residence or home.
For more informative articles on all things lawn care, seeding and soil services, and pest control, follow our monthly blog. And don’t forget to check us out on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.