Stink Bug 101

Author: Mosquito Squad

This past weekend, I was out with a group of new Virginia transplants. We were discussing some differences from where they previously lived to their new home in VA. One of the major trends I noticed was bugs, they weren’t familiar with a number species (and sizes) that are common here. They all agreed that stink bugs were the worst, but they didn’t know very much about them.

Halyomorpha halys, or the brown marmorated stink bug, is nave to Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan and wasn’t found in the United States until 1998. Their introduction to this country happened by accident. Researchers believe that they traveled here in fruit ships from Asia. Since then, the stink bug population in America has grown tremendously and are now found in 26 states.

Stink bugs received a lot of media attention in 2010 due to their impact on farmers. These beetle like bugs are considered agricultural pets because they can cause widespread damage to fruits and vegetables. The bugs suck juice out of the crops, causing ripples and on the surface. Although their salvia isn’t poisonous to humans, the crops can no longer be sold because of their appearance.

One of the major issues with controlling the stink bug population has been that their most common predator isn’t found here in the United States. Without their primary predator, the brown marmorated stink bug was able to live longer and reproduce successfully. As they have become more common, some wasps and birds are showing signs of feeding on stink bugs.

Stink bugs have a distinct appearance making them easy to point out. Their bodies are brown and shield-shaped. Adults are ¾ of an inch long. They get their name from their main defense mechanism, stench. The pests release an odor through their abdomen when threatened by an outside source. That is why it is recommended that stink bugs are always picked up with a napkin, tissue or paper towel instead of with their hand. Additionally, stepping on or smashing a stink bug can result in the odor embedding in the surface it is smashed on.

When the weather turns cooler, stink bugs move inside for their hibernation state. That is why they are a common occurrence in many parts of the country this time of year. They enter the home through any opening they can fit in. You’ll often notice stink bugs buzzing around lights or around the house because the warm of the interior will make them more active. If you have stink bugs in your house, pick them up with a tissue and flush them down the toilet (vacuuming them with a bagged vacuum also works).

At Mosquito Squad, we offer stink bug protection in the form of a spray. We will spray the areas of the property where stink bugs are commonly seen. If you have questions regarding stink bugs and stink bug control, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.