Stink bugs are beginning to appear surprisingly early this year. You may see a random stink bug on your window screen or, heaven forbid, in your house. Stink bugs are harmless, but their sheer look sends most homeowners running.
What is a stink bug?
Thanks to our friends at PestWorld.org for this comprehensive description:
The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is considered an invasive species, or a pest of foreign origin, as it was introduced to the United States from Eastern Asia in the mid-1990s. It is also referred to as the yellow-brown or East Asian stink bug. The bug was first collected in the United States in Allentown, PA, in the fall of 1996 but apparently not recognized or identified until September 2001. It quickly spread east to New Jersey, then Virginia by 2004, and now southward to the North Carolina border. Today, brown marmorated stink bugs are most prevalent in the mid-Atlanta region, but they have been identified in 44 states and the District of Columbia. The bug’s native range includes China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
The stink bug earned its name from its tendency to release an odor when disturbed or when crushed. Many other insects have these same characteristics, including some species of ants, beetles, and other bugs.
What does a stink bug look like?
Stink bugs are unmistakable. Their bodies look like tiny brown shields and can often appear oval-shaped. They can reach up to 2 cm or a little over one-half inch in length and are equally wide as long. Because their legs stick out from the side, they look larger and more ominous.
Adult stink bugs are good fliers and fold their wings on top of their body when they land. Nymphs do not have fully developed wings. The wings appear when the nymph becomes an adult. Fully developed wings are a way to identify adult stink bugs.
Do stink bugs bite or harm people?
No, these small and menacing-looking bugs do not bite, nor are they a threat to people and pets. They are adept at gaining entrance to your house through the smallest cracks.
How do I stop stink bugs from coming into my home?
Stink bugs typically gather on warm, west-facing walls and enter buildings via cracks and crevices. Once they find an ideal spot, they release pheromones, chemical signals that beckon more stink bugs to join the party. (HGTV)
They can squeeze through the smallest places and are as quick as lightning when a window or door is open. You won’t even see them come in! Stink bugs love windows, screens, and doorways. Barrier prevention and ensuring your home is adequately sealed is the best method of keeping stink bugs out of your home. Diligence is the key:
- Remove plants and standing yard debris such as heavy weeds from around your home this time of year.
- Make sure crawl spaces are sealed.
- Install screen windows and doors and regularly check for tears in the screens. Watch for gaps!
- Seal your windows using caulk when necessary.
- Install weather strips on every outside access door.
- Keep our garage door closed.
- Check pipes, roof pipes, dryer vents, and other access points for cracks or gaps in the closure.
Stink bugs can enter your home through tiny and tight places. They only need a small space in a window screen or door to get in.
How do I know if I have a stink bug infestation?
As with many insects and pests, finding large amounts of live or dead stink bugs is the tell-tale sign of an infestation. You will find them on the sunny and warm side of the house- they prefer warm to cold! As the summer evening temperatures cool, stink bugs will look to enter your home.
Remember, killing them emits a nasty order, hence the name stink bug. The stink bugs produce the smelly chemical in a gland on their abdomen. Some species can spray the chemical several inches. The smell is often compared to potent herbs and spices like cilantro and coriander. Pest World suggests that a licensed pest control professional should be called to evaluate and assess the problem if an infestation has developed inside the home or building. A professional can also pre-treat for stink bugs in the late summer or fall just before bug congregation.
Stink bug season is almost here! Ongoing treatment for all household pests, nuisance wildlife, and invaders is critical to the long-term protection of your home and family. If you are not utilizing our annual service agreement, ask us about it and see how you can eliminate stink bugs, ants, other pests, and nuisance wildlife. The best action is prevention. Don’t wait until you find damage or signs of infestation. Annual maintenance is cost-effective and can save money, time, and resources.
Contact us in the Albany, Schenectady, or Saratoga, New York area for a free home estimate. We are here to keep your home and business safe and pest free.