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What are Stink Bugs?

When temperatures begin to drop, many believe their war with bugs is ending. Though this is true for many bugs, some search for places to stay warm during the winter and your home is the perfect spot. One pest you’re likely to smell before you see is the stink bug. We’ve gathered information about stink bugs to help you identify and eliminate an infestation.

Appearance

 Stink bug

There are about 200 species of stink bugs in North America. While most are brown, some may be green or gray. Stink bugs have a body that’s shaped like a shield. One of the most common home-invading stink bugs is the brown marmorated stink bug. This stink bug is grayish-brown and speckled. Light bands appear on its antennae, while dark bands are on its wings. Adult brown marmorated stink bugs grow between 12-17mm. Nymphs are small and have a yellow and red body. They also have red eyes. After five molts, they enter adulthood. Adult stink bugs attach green eggs to plant leaves that nymphs can feed on once hatching.

Habits

Stink bug near window

There are some stink bug species native to North America, but the brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive species. This bug is native to eastern Asia and it was introduced to the United States in the mid-1990s. The stink bug gets its name from the odor it releases when crushed or disturbed. While the odor has been compared to many scents, all agree on one thing—it’s unpleasant. These bugs emerge in the spring after spending the winter in a dormant phase known as diapause. During the winter, they are likely to hide in the walls and attics of homes. Adult stink bugs feed on fruit, vegetables, and ornamental plants. Nymph stink bugs will feed on the leaves and stems of plants. Stink bugs are most often found in the eastern part of the United States, but they have been spotted throughout the country.

Threats

Stink bugs

Stink bugs enter homes hoping to find a warm place to hide during the winter months. One of the main problems with a stink bug infestation is how quickly these bugs can spread. Depending on environmental conditions, stink bugs can produce up to three generations per year. They lack many natural predators, which means nothing is helping to control their numbers. Another concern is the odor they release. If they feel threatened, they release a chemical through glands on their abdomen. This chemical can leave stains on furniture, walls, and flooring. They also release pheromones that alert other stink bugs to their location. They are good at hiding, which can become a problem when temperatures rise in the spring and they all start emerging in your home. Thankfully, stink bugs aren’t known to bite or cause structural damage.

Warning Signs

Stink bug on window

Spotting stink bugs is the easiest way to identify an infestation. While you may find just one stink bug hanging out, it is likely that there are more hiding in your home. They enjoy gathering in sunny parts of your house since this will help them stay warm. Noticing an unpleasant odor can also help you identify a stink bug problem. The slightest disturbance could cause them to emit their odor. The more stink bugs you have, the stronger the scent will be in your home. Another warning sign is the health of your plants. Adults and nymphs feed on the juices of plants, which can result in tiny holes and discoloration to leaves. Adult stink bugs may also feed on fruits and vegetables causing damage.

Prevention

Caulking window

You can do a few things to help keep stink bugs out of your home. Stink bugs are small and flat and can fit into tiny places. Make sure to seal cracks and crevices to keep them from slipping inside. Check the screens on your doors and windows and repair any tears. Common entry points include doorframes, window frames, and electrical outlets, so pay close attention to these areas. Like all bugs, stink bugs need moisture and food. Check for leaky pipes to avoid moisture build-up. You’ll want to store your fruits and vegetables in containers or the refrigerator where stink bugs can’t access them.  These bugs are also attracted to light. Keep your blinds closed at night and use a yellow lightbulb instead of a white one in your exterior lights. 

Treatment

Maggie's Farm Simply Effective Home Bug SprayMaggie's Farm Simply Effective Yard Bug Spray

If stink bugs have chosen your home as their winter vacation spot, you’ll want to act quickly. It’s important to remember not to crush these bugs because you’ll be left with a foul odor. Instead, carefully vacuum or sweep up any stink bugs you find. You’ll want to place them in a sealed bag before discarding it outside. You can also treat your home with a pest control product. Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Home Bug Spray and Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Yard Bug Spray are a more environmentally and family-friendly solution. Not only do they kill on contact, they also provide you with residual repellency. This means you can eliminate an infestation and help keep these pests from returning to your home.

No one wants an uninvited guest in their home, especially stink bugs. Taking a few precautionary measures can help keep your home free of these smelly pests. If you’re dealing with a pest problem, we want to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.


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