If you live here in Montgomery County, I am sure you have experienced the “skunks” of the insect world first hand whether it was inside your home, in your beloved vegetable garden, or by accidentally invading the stink bug’s personal space and getting a whiff of how these nuisance pests got their name! What you may not know is that these little stinkers can invade the interior of your homes as well as destroy your seasonal vegetable gardens. When it comes to dealing with the wrath of the stink bug, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and Mosquito Squad is the area’s expert at dealing with these little stinkers!
What Are Stink Bugs and Where Did They Come From?
The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, is native to China, Japan, and surrounding countries. They were first discovered in the United States in Pennsylvania during the late 1990s, but no one knows for certain how they were introduced to North America. Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) populations are exploding in the absence of their natural predators, and they are quickly becoming a nuisance to residents as they invade our homes, and to the agriculture industry.
An article published by the National Wildlife Federation makes identification of the BMSB easy; “BMSBs have a “shield” like the shape and reach approximately 17mm in length as adults. They have various shades of brown on the top of their body and white (sometimes with grey or black markings) underneath. North America has about 250 native stink bugs which are usually under control by native predators. The invasive stink bugs look very similar to our native species.” There are some visible key differences in BMSBs: These include Alternating dark and light bands on the antennae and alternating dark and light banding on the exposed side edges of the abdomen.
What’s the Big Stink About?
If you have never dealt with stink bugs in the past, you may be asking what the big “stink” is all about. The biggest problem with BMSBs is their ability to infest our homes. As temperatures start to become cooler heading into fall, the stink bug begins to search for a warm, dry space. Even though they do not reproduce inside the home or cause any major structural damage, their name-sake odor spent shells from those that perish, noisy flying, and overflowing populations can make the stink bug an extreme nuisance throughout the fall and winter, especially on warmer days when they are prone to be more active. These pests will readily take up residence within the closets of our homes, in attics, behind pictures hanging on our walls and many other places where they can remain out of view.
Also, stink bugs can also cause severe damage to our landscapes and gardens. BMSBs feed on plants by piercing the skin and consuming the juices within. One of the tell-tale signs of stink bug feeding appears as “necrotic” or dead spots on the surface. Along with being a huge agricultural pest in the Mid-Atlantic region, stink bugs can also damage ornamental trees and shrubs around your home. They can also ravage that veggie garden you have labored on all season, and decimate an orchard full of fruit trees and even our grapevines.
What's the Best Course of Action for Stink Bugs?
BMSB’s will hide in curtains, your bedding, behind hanging pictures, along with windows, in the attic and walls. They gain entry from cracks and crevices found around the exterior of your home. Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington DC can prevent their entrance into your home with our exterior stink bug control service. Our high-quality, thorough service stops the stink bugs before they have a chance to enter, and continues to protect for up to three weeks per application. We recommend a preventative spray now, we then follow-up with a second exterior perimeter application to ensure extended protection as we move into the fall.