This is the time of year when stink bugs begin to look for shelter in advance of frost and colder temperatures. They are triggered by the length of the day shortening. They hibernate during the winter in a comatose state, but on unusually warm winter days, they can get confused and become active. There are a variety of stink bugs in this region of the country, but the brown marmorated stink bug is the variety that most people seem to complain about.
The brown marmorated stink bug, native to Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea, was first discovered in the United States in eastern Pennsylvania in 1998. Since then, the stink bug has migrated to other states such as: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.
After hatching, the wingless nymphs go through five immature stages before becoming full-sized, winged adults. Adults are approximately three-quarters of an inch and brown, gray or dark green in color and are shaped like a shield. They have alternating light bands on the antennae and dark bands on the thin outer edge of the abdomen. It can be most easily identified by its shield-like shape and brown coloration.
Although stink bugs are completely harmless to people- they don’t bite, sting, or spread disease- the fact that they look to our homes as a winter vacation spot makes them a major nuisance this time of year. Stink bugs secrete a foul-smelling liquid from a specialized gland when threatened or crushed. This liquid has a light yellow or clear color and may smell like strong cilantro or coriander. It isn’t dangerous, but it could trigger mild allergic reactions. It may also stain furniture, carpeting, or other fabrics.
There are very few natural stink bug predators aside from the samurai wasp, which was discovered to be in the area in 2017. They lay their eggs inside the stink bug eggs and then their larvae feed on what was inside the eggs and they emerge instead of stink bugs. So they essentially kill the stink bug before it even hatches.
Although they don’t inflict structural damage or infest food products, stink bugs can invade homes in huge numbers. In one home, more than 26,000 stink bugs were found overwintering! They’re attracted to the leaves of maple, ash, black locust, and catalpa trees, and large numbers may cluster near homes with these trees in their yards.
Stink bugs enter under siding, soffits, around window and door frames, chimneys, or any space which has openings big enough to fit through. Vents, chimneys and worn foundations also provide ways for these pests to sneak into your home. Some you will see, but many more will manage to hide in attics or other parts of the house. Their tendency to aggregate can cause costly problems, by clogging wells, pipes, and chimneys.
Replacing worn weatherstripping and re-sealing your windows this fall will go a long way toward keeping stink bugs out. Caulk or otherwise seal off openings as you find them, and replace worn-down insulation as needed.
With professional treatment, you can rest peacefully knowing that your property is taken care of. Our pest control programs are designed to keep your home pest-free all year long, so call Complete Pest Solutions today!