The brown marmorated stink bug, or Halyomorpha halys, is the most common stink bug found in the United States. Native to Asia, this invasive pest made its way to the U.S. in the 90s. Their migration to this country happened by accident. Researchers believe that they traveled here as stowaways in international shipping containers. Since then, the stink bug population in America has grown tremendously and they can now be found in 38 states, mostly throughout the mid-Atlantic.
Since their arrival, this invasive species has been causing farmers in the mid-Atlantic region undue stress. The brown marmorated stink bug enjoys feeding on various crops and can cause widespread damage to fruits and vegetables. The bugs suck juice out of the crops, causing ripples and punctures to the surface. Although their saliva isn’t poisonous to humans, the damage done to the crops can make them unmarketable as fresh produce.
When the weather turns cooler, stink bugs move inside for their hibernation state. Stink bugs will infest homes in the fall and emerge when temperatures warm up in the spring. Once inside your home, they’ll hide anywhere – under furniture, behind baseboards, in closets or attics. They are recognizable by their brown, shield-shaped bodies and, most notably, by the foul-smelling substance they secrete when startled or crushed. Stink bugs are not known to bite people or pets, but their defensive secretions can act as potential allergens to people that are sensitive to the odor.
In addition, stink bugs aren’t known to transmit disease or cause physical harm, but they can congregate in large numbers. Their tendency to form a crowd makes it important to be proactive rather than reactive in fighting them off. Here are a few simple steps you can take to reduce their presence:
- Caulk both the interior and exterior of your windows.
- If you can see sunlight peeking through your doors, apply weather stripping.
- If you have a fireplace, attach a screen to the top of the chimney to keep pests from dropping in.
- Remove debris and vegetation from your property. Those fallen autumn leaves may look pretty, but they are a breeding ground for stink bugs and other insects.
These tips aside, completely sealing off entrance points can be difficult or near impossible. Exterior insecticide applications in the fall, before stink bugs begin congregation, can provide some relief from infestation.
Located in an area heavily populated by stink bugs? Contact your local Mosquito Squad today for help keeping them at bay.