Now that fall is here it is time to watch out for creatures that may want to migrate into our homes to keep warm over the winter. One bug that likes to get inside for winter is the stinkbug.
Stinkbugs get their name due to the stink produced when they are squashed or even when they are disturbed. In nature, where they belong, the odor they release gives them some protection from their enemies. And when they invade our space, the odor must be dealt with as well. Just squashing them with a fly swatter, for example, will cause them to release their odor and it will linger in the house. This can be a reason to call a professional if you find you have an infestation of stink bugs.
There are hundreds of species of stinkbugs in North America, most of which remain in their natural habitat. Due to their small populations they cause little damage to any human belongings. They can still be a nuisance if they get into our homes.
However, in the 1990s the brown marmoted stink bug was accidently brought with some produce from Asia to North America. Since they have no natural enemies here they are becoming a problem both in the home, garden and for the agriculture industry.
The brown marmoted stink bug is brownish yellow, has white stripes on its antennae and a mottled appearance on its abdomen. It can be different shades of brownish yellow with lighter bands on its antennae and darker bands on its body. Some brown marmoted stink bugs may have small rounded copper/blue depressions along their head. Our native green stink bugs are bright green in color with thin, orange or yellow lines.
Stinkbugs live in the Northern United States and Southern Canada. They can be found anywhere there is vegetation.
They prefer warmer temperatures so when winter approaches they find somewhere to hole up and overwinter until spring. Rather than find a natural place to get stuck in for the winter they find it attractive to enter a warm house to overwinter.
Stinkbugs eat a variety of vegetation; fruits, vegetables, other plants and even trees. They like many of the vegetables we grow in our gardens. They like peas, beans, peppers, tomatoes, and corn. They like fruit also; apples, peaches, oranges, various berries and a multitude of other fruits. They like to eat a lot of the things we like to grow! They even eat parts of elm and oak trees. If you have these things in your yard, you likely have stinkbugs.
Infestation and Solutions
If you have one of the many varieties of native stinkbugs, you can get rid of them as you come across them. They have natural predators and their population doesn’t tend to get out of control.
If your garden harbors the brown marmoted stink bug then you could experience a severe loss of produce.
It could be a good idea to contact a professional on household pests to get their advice before the stinkbugs try to move inside for the winter regardless of which type you have lurking around.
One way to notice an infestation is the stinkbugs tend to cover the walls or screens of the house on the sunny side. If you see this you may want to seek professional help from a pest control company.
One suggestion a professional pest controller may give you is to block any entry points into your home such as cracks in the foundation or small openings around doors. Pay attention to where pipes or anything enter the home. The professional might suggest using an insecticide around the perimeter of your home. This can last up to a week which may be long enough for the stinkbugs to find a natural winter home.
Two other entomologist suggestions are: hang a damp towel on a surface that receives sunshine, near the house. The stink bugs might collect on the towel instead of their usual place on the wall of the house. The stinkbugs on the towel can be drowned in soapy water. Another tip to try is to squish a few stinkbugs outside in the hope this will warn others to keep away. If these simple tips don’t work easily it is time to call a pest control company to help you.
If you find stinkbugs on the walls inside your house, then you will know they have managed to thwart you and have moved inside. If it is one or two, simply carry them outside. Try not to squash them though as the stink really does linger. Maybe put a plastic bag over your hand to pick them up, or slide a piece of paper under them to carry them outside. They can be killed in soapy water once you have them outside.
Avoid vacuuming the stink bugs as the odor will linger in your vacuum cleaner.
Contact a professional if you feel an insecticide is needed to combat the infestation. If you just apply pesticides, the carcasses of the stinkbugs will remain. Killing the stinkbug does not remove their odor. If the carcasses remain in places inaccessible to clean up, such as inside wall crevices, their odor will become very annoying in your home.
If you have stink bugs devouring your garden or trying to invade your home, it would be a good idea to call a professional who can help get the infestation under control. They can advise you on the steps to take around your house and in your garden to avoid the next infestation.
Alliance Pest Services offers various stinkbug service and removal solutions.