The brown marmorated stink bugs might sound dangerous and scary but they are not harmful to you, your children, your home or your beloved family pet. They are not known to bite, suck blood or spread diseases. They are however, unsightly and becoming a nuisance for homeowners as they shelter inside houses almost everywhere including entry points, in cracks and under baseboards, bookcases and even under beds and sofas.
The damage the brown marmorated stink bug is causing to fruit and vegetable crops is becoming a serious concern to the agricultural industry. The species feed off apples, apricots, cherries, corn, peaches, peppers and even tomatoes. The damage to the fruit can render the crop unusable.
How to spot a brown marmorated stink bug
An adult brown stink bug has a shield-shaped appearance, typically 5/8” long. That’s about the size of a U.S. dime. You might have seen the dark, mottled brown stink bugs hanging around your home, but there are also green ones with white specks and the brown and cream critters with black and white banding exposed on the abdominal edges.
The elliptical eggs are generally found in clusters of 20-30 on the underside of leaves. They are light yellow to yellow-red in colour with tiny fine lines forming their spines. Eggs of other bug species are generally more barrel shaped.
Are the brown marmorated stink bugs hiding in your home?
As the weather cools in fall, the stink bugs generally find haven in warmer areas inside your homes. They will sneak in through small cracks or openings around windows, doors, vents and chimneys. And although they won’t cause any structural damage or reproduce in your home, the thought of stink bugs living under the rug where your child plays or worse yet, under his or her mattress where they sleeps at night is worrying.
Their presence in your home will be hard to miss as the warm temperatures keep them active and they are generally not alone, grouping together in clusters. When threatened or crushed, the brown marmorated stink bugs let off a strong, unpleasant odor. Whilst the smell disperses quickly, it is not ideal, particularly with young children or people who suffer from allergies.
The best ways to deal with brown marmorated stink bugs living in your home
Firstly, it is best to locate where the stink bugs are getting into your home and seal any access points.
- Caulk windows inside and out
- Repair any window or door screens with damage
- Search for egg masses in your garden and destroy them
- Install weather strips around windows or doors where there are gaps
- Clean up any debris and edible vegetation near your home’s foundations
- Secure crawlspace entries
- If you have a fireplace, cap the top of the chimney
Tidy up your home, particularly in children’s bedrooms, to limit the hiding spots for the stink bugs. Start with clearing out over cluttered bookshelves and toy storage units it will also do wonders making your children’s rooms more spacious. Perhaps its worth while teaching your kids what the brown mormorated stink bugs look like so they don’t get a nasty surprise of a stinky mist when they touch one!
How to remove the little critters once you have found them
When you are removing the brown mormorated stink bugs keep in mind they are generally more sluggish and easier to catch on cooler, overcast days. They are strong fliers and when disturbed will usually drop downward extremely quickly.
You can remove both dead and living brown marmorated stink bugs from inside your home with a vacuum cleaner. However, keep in mind your vacuum may carry the smell of stink bugs for a period of time. In many cases it is also too hard to remove the bugs in cracks and tight crevasses with a vacuum so finding their habitat and breeding areas is crucial. Another natural technique of removing the bugs is to sweep them into a container of soapy water or let them drop down into the liquid. Immediately dispose of the contents to avoid any little escapees.
he best long term solution from keeping brown mormorated stink bugs out of your home is to contact your local Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington DC professional to treat the surrounding vegetation with registered products suitable for residential outdoor use. The representative will also recommend ways you can reduce the brown mormoated stink bug habitat around your property to keep your home stink bug free!
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