Are you seeing stink bugs emerging this spring as the weather warms up? The stink bug (Brown Marmorated Stink Bug- BMSB) is considered an invasive species, as it was introduced to the United States from Eastern Asia in the mid-1990s. It’s a vegetation-eating insect that feeds on many crop foliage including apples, pears, corn, tomatoes, ornamental trees, etc.
When stink bugs feed on fruits like peaches or apples, they use their mouth to pierce the skin of the fruit. The insect injects a small amount of saliva into the fruit. The saliva is toxic to the cells of the fruit, so when the damaged fruit grows, it develops a scar. The scar causes the fruit to resemble the face of a cat. Stink bugs also feed on stems and leaves of plants. Besides making fruit unfit for sale, stink bug feeding secondarily allows other insects to enter the fruit. The stink bugs can also spread plant diseases. These plant-feeding stink bugs can become serious pests in farms, orchards, and gardens
In and around the home BMSB is a problem when it aggregates on structures where it overwinters, or when it emerges from wintering and appears on and in your home. It also has a negative effect on urban agriculture including and backyard gardens where it damages fruits and vegetables, sometimes causing complete crop destruction.
Stink bugs search for overwintering sites in late fall before the weather conditions drastically change. They spend the winter hiding inside homes or buildings, usually in the walls, attic or crawl space. However, entering into inactivity may not be the complete end to their season. If the weather warms up for a long enough period of time, indoor overwintering stink bugs might be misled into thinking it is time to exit their diapause period and become active again. Stink bugs reemerge in early spring and become active. Check the south and west facing outside walls of structures to see if stink bugs are attempting to find their way inside to keep warm.
Some steps to keep stink bugs out of your home include:
– Seal and caulk cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys and underneath the wood fascia and other openings.
– Repair or replace damaged screens on windows or doors.
– Keep outdoor lighting to a minimum as stink bugs are attracted to lights.
– If stink bugs have already entered a home, use a vacuum cleaner for their removal and dispose of the bag immediately to prevent odor from permeating the area.
– If an infestation has developed, a licensed pest professional should be contacted to evaluate and assess the severity problem.
Wilco recommends these home-use chemical treatment products:
– Indoor: ORTHO ANT & ROACH SPRAY 16OZ, SKU 232652
– Outdoor: 32OZ HOME DEFENSE CONCENTRATE, SKU 216819
– Outdoor: Bonide Stink Bug Trap 3pk