While spring is the beginning of stink bug season, fall is the season they look for a safe place for live during the cold weather season ahead. Brown marmorated stink bugs were accidentally introduced from Asia into Pennsylvania in the late 1990’s. They have quickly spread across the country and become a major pest to both homeowners and farmers alike causing millions of dollars’ worth of crop damage and control costs each year. They feed on fruits, buds and pods. They will also feed on the sap of trees and other plants. As they feed, they pierce the stems and bark and cause a potential for disease transmission. Brown marmorated stink bugs are most active from March to September. Stink bugs spend their time hiding in inside walls or attic crawl spaces. They can also fly around rooms or crawl on walls and ceilings.
What Do Stink Bugs Look Like?
Brown marmorated stink bugs have a shield-shaped body. Adults are 5/8 inch long with a mottled brownish gray color and the next to last antennae segment has a white band. Several of the abdominal segments protrude from beneath the wings and are alternatively banded with black and white. The underside is white, and they can sometimes have gray and black markings. The legs are brown with faint white banding.
How to Prevent Stink Bugs
Prevent entry to your home by making sure that all cracks around windows, doors, ducts, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys and underneath wood fascia and attic overhangs are properly sealed. Any of these openings need to sealed with a good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk. Damaged screens need to be repaired or replaced. There are pesticides that can be used for outdoor control.
How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs
Once stink bugs have entered your home, there aren’t a lot of treatment options. The easiest way to remove them is with a vacuum cleaner. The only problem is that your vacuum cleaner might end up smelling like stink bugs. Make sure you throw the bag away or empty the canister when you are done. You can also vacuum bugs into a shop vac that is filled with soapy water and discard. Try not to squish stink bugs. They have glands between their legs that will omit an odor when they are smashed. Some people are very sensitive to the secretions and have allergic reactions, which can include irritation and inflammation of the eyes, nose and skin. Wear gloves when you’re dealing with stink bugs and sweep them up with a broom and dustpan instead.
What Do Stink Bugs Smell Like when Killed?
The smell has been described in different ways. Some say the odor smells like burnt tires. Some say it reminds them of cilantro. The odor has also been described as oily, dusty, woody and earthy. The way they smell really depends on the species and the person dealing with them. Whatever the smell-it can linger for up to an hour after released.