Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Stink Bug Facts
Able to release an odor through a hole in its abdomen as a defense mechanism, the brown marmorated stink bug was appropriately named after its pungent smell. Native to Asia, the stink bug was accidentally introduced to the United States in the 1990s, when they were first discovered in the state of Pennsylvania in 1998. The term “stink bug” comes from the chemical released in their abdomen, causing a smelly or stinky odor.
Most stink bugs are green or brownish, but can also vary to include bright colors as well. Stink bugs are considered a much more common pest in Asian countries, as they originated in Japan, China, and Korea. Once they were introduced to the United States, the population increased and spread drastically there. Today, stink bugs can be found in almost every state in the United States other than Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Montana.
The main target of stink bugs is the food in which they consume. Vegetation like peaches, tomatoes, soybeans, apples, and green peppers are all foods stink bugs consume, causing problems for gardeners, homeowners, farmers, and orchards that grow these types of produce.
Stink Bug Identification
Approximately a half-inch in length, stink bugs are brown in color, with gray, white, and copper markings on their back. These pests have six legs, as well as an antennae with alternating light bands.
Another distinguishing factor is the odor they release when disturbed. A smell described as a cross between old gym socks and mild skunk, it is best to avoid squashing these bugs if possible.
Stink Bug Infestation
Stink bugs can enter a home through gaps in doorways, the siding of a house, windows, utility pipes, or any part of a household that is not properly sealed. A broken screen on a window or door is a great entry point for stink bugs. Crevices found on or under door trim, behind baseboards, exhaust fans, or around lights are places where these bugs can be found. Seeking shelter for winter, stink bugs will spend overwintering period hiding inside wall voids in a semi-dormant state. Once spring arrives, stink bugs become more active and are then seen by homeowners moving around through their living space. Stink bugs are noticed most while seeking a way out, likely near windows and walls with natural light. It is not preferred to use insecticides, as it may kill as mass amount of stink bugs and leave an abundant food source for carpet beetles to feed off and take over the infested area.
Stink bug populations have increased over the years due to the ideal climate for reproduction. In optimal conditions like the Eastern U.S., a stink bug can reach the adult stage in as little as 35 to 45 days. With females capable of laying several hundred eggs in their lifetime, it’s no surprise their number has increased dramatically since their first appearance in the late 1990s. Stink bug populations are expected to continue growing, as there seem to be no environmental factors slowing their distribution.
Stink Bugs in Your Home & Garden
As an agricultural pest, the brown marmorated stink bug can cause serious damage to fruit and vegetable crops. Feeding throughout the summer, stink bugs puncture holes into the fruit in order to feed. Leaving blemishes and dimples, the stink bugs’ feeding habits cause seed loss, as well as possible transmission of plant pathogens.
As a nuisance pest, homeowners experience large numbers of stink bugs invading their homes during the fall. Looking for a warm, safe place to hibernate for the winter, stink bugs see man-made structures as a prime location to do so.
These pests make their way into structures as the weather gets colder, sometimes in numbers as large as several thousand. Stink bug enter homes through siding, soffits, window and door frames, chimneys, and any other opening they can find. Although they go into a state of hibernation, the warmth of a home can sometimes cause them to become active during the winter. You may see a stink bug clumsily flying around lights in your home, this is probably due to the warm temperatures in your home.
Frequently Asked Questions About Stink Bugs
Do stink bugs bite or sting humans?
No, stink bugs don’t bite and are relatively harmless to humans in general. Aside from the offensive odor they release when they feel threatened, these bugs are essentially harmless.
Why do stink bugs gather in large groups?
When a stink bug finds a habitat that will suit it, it releases a chemical called aggregation pheromone. This chemical (a different chemical than the one that causes stink bugs to actually stink) attracts other bugs and lets them know they can inhabit that area as well, causing huge clusters of bugs to form together.
What do stink bugs eat?
Stink bugs eat vegetation like peaches, tomatoes, soybeans, apples, and green peppers, as well as other fresh produce that is easy for them to reach since it is typically outdoors.
How many different species of stink bugs are there?
There are over 4,700 different types of stink bugs around the world. They originate from certain Asian countries like Japan, China, and Korea. Over time, stink bugs have spread to the United States, first being discovered in 1998. Today, 250 different types of stink bugs currently can be found in the United States. It is believed that stink bugs were shipped over accidentally in fruit and machinery crates and reproduced in the United States.
How do you get rid of stink bugs in your home?
After a recent study, it was found that placing a pan of soapy water under a light will attract any stink bugs in your home. Landing on the pan and inevitably falling to their soapy death, this method has been shown to be quite effective. Much more successful than the expensive bug traps available for purchase, this is a inexpensive solution to your stink bug problems.
You can also, of course, contact your local pest control professional.