stink bugRapid globalization has dramatically changed pest control. New species of insects are being introduced into the United States every year; Stink Bugs (or Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs) are an example. These bugs originated in Eastern Asia and were non-existing in the U.S. until they were found in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1996. Since then, they have spread across the country; wiping out fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops and increasing 60% in total population in 2012 alone!

These insects get their name from their brown, marbled color. Adult bugs measure 1/2 - 5/8 inch and have a shield-like shape. Nymphs aren’t much smaller, instead measuring 1/8 - 1/2 inch, and are similar in appearance, except for their distinct yellow abdomens. Stink Bugs can cause many problems for farmers and homeowners feeding on ornamental plants (crab apples, Norway maple, Pyracantha, etc.) and fruits and vegetables (raspberries, Asian pears, peaches, asparagus, etc.). Adult Stink Bugs typically feed on the fruits and vegetable while the nymphs feed on the leaves.

Outdoors, adult Stink Bugs become active in early to mid April, when they mate and lay clusters of 20-30 eggs on the underside of leaves. After four or five days, the nymphs will hatch and begin to feed on any leaves they can find. You won’t typically see Stink Bugs until they start flying into the house in mid-September to overwinter (peak activity is seen during the third week of October). Due to the rancid odor they emit when killed, this can cause extra problems.

IF YOU SEE STINK BUGS IN YOUR HOME, grab a vacuum and dispose of all that you see. Next, seal entryways into your home (around doors, window frames, outlets, ceiling fans and light fixtures and change all exterior lighting around your home to yellow or sodium vapor bulbs). Stink Bugs, and most other bugs, are less attracted to these lights. Whatever you do, DO NOT kill Stink Bugs; this will only attract dermestid beetles and cause more issues. If you choose to use light traps in your home, make sure to use ones that use glue boards, not electricity. An electric shock may release their odor, causing your entire home to smell Stink Bugs can “stink up” anyone’s day, but with proper care, you can breathe easy!

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