Dealing With Stink Bugs
"Uughh! What is that smell? It's these bugs! They really smell foul!" We are hearing this more and more these days. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) has become firmly entrenched here in the U.S. After being accidentally introduced from Asia into Pennsylvania in the late 1990's, it has quickly spread across the country and become a major pest to both home owners and farmers alike.
Getting Rid of Stink Bugs and Control for homes
The key to getting rid of and eliminating indoor stink bugs in the spring is preventing their entry in the fall. Once they have entered the home, there aren't a lot of treatment options. The easiest way to remove them once they are indoors is with a vacuum cleaner; however the vacuum may take on the characteristic smell of the stink bug. If you've had them you know the smell.
Mechanical exclusion is the best method to keep stink bugs from entering homes and buildings. Cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath the wood fascia and other openings should be sealed with good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk. Damaged screens on doors and windows should be repaired or replaced.
Spraying the exterior of the home early in the fall can offer an additional layer of protection.
Pest Control Treatment for Stink bugs
Products such as D-Fense SC , Cyzmic CS, Bifen IT, Cyper WP, and Demon WP are very effective at preventing the stink bugs from congregating on the side of the home, thus preventing their entry. Timing of the application is important. As the night time temperatures dip into the low 50's or lower you can expect the stink bugs to arrive. Focus on spraying the south and west exposure of the house. The more surface area you cover the better the results will be. This may require the use of a ladder to reach the uppermost areas around the roof. Remember to use proper ladder safety protocol and, as always, be sure to read and follow all label directions for the pesticide you are using.
So keep in mind that while stink bugs are a nuisance they can be dealt with. It's not easy or fun to do but avoiding the stinky smell they bring is worth the effort.
When and Where Stink Bugs Are A Problem
The problem for home owners begins in the fall. As the temperatures begin to drop, the stink bugs try to stay warm by clustering on the sides of homes and other buildings. They are particularly fond of the south and west sides of the building because those sides are warmed by the afternoon sun. Many stink bugs will congregate there and they will inevitably work their way into the building through small cracks or crevices, door jams, attic vents, and other gaps in the structure. They are seeking a suitable place to stay warm and spend the winter. Once inside the building, they go dormant and they fully expect to stay dormant until spring. The problem is that every time there is a warm sunny winter day their hiding spot warms up and they think it is spring. After spending the winter months tucked away in the walls or the attic, they have simply forgotten how they got in. In their effort to get back outside they accidently end up inside the home. They don't want to be inside at all. They are merely looking for a way to get outside. This may happen all at once in the spring, or be sporadic all through the winter and spring, depending on the weather.
Stink bugs can range in colors, but are commonly green or brown. They are about 5/8 inch long. The adults have a triangular thorax. All stink bugs have the characteristic five-sided shield shape. Their eggs are barrel shaped . Sting Bugs nymphs resemble adults in shape but are smaller and have contrasting color patterns
Stink bugs give out a foul odor.
Stink bugs feed on plants and shrubbery. Generally thought of as an agricultural pest, stink bugs will take up residence around any garden or landscape rich with plants and flowers.
Stink bugs feed on buds and seedpods, sucking juice from plants. This results from badly formed buds and fruit.
Plants are the primary source of food for stink bugs. They feed by sucking on the sap from pods, buds, blossoms and seeds. Some species of stink bugs even feed on juices from caterpillars and beetle larva. They are often crop pests on cabbage, cotton, beans, squash or melons.
Life Cycle and History:
Stink bugs do not reproduce inside, therefore they invade homes from the outside. They go through a simple metamorphosis: egg, nymph, and adult.
There are one to two generations of stink bugs each year .Peak population sizes occur in late September to early October. It is during these months that stink bugs may become agricultural pests. Adults are sometimes dormant in the winter, overwintering in logs, leaf litter or other similar habitats where they are unlikely to be disturbed
Nymphs feed throughout the summer and molt to adults in late summer.
The eggs of a stink bug can be found on the underside of leaves in clumps of 20-30 eggs. Adults mate in the spring and females will lay eggs on plants. These eggs will be laid in groups and are not plant specific. The eggs are oval in shape, ranging from light yellow to a yellowish-reddish color, equipped with tiny spines forming fine lines along the eggs. The nymphs, similar in appearance to the adult stink bug, are differentiated by its lack of wings. From the nymph stage, the stink bug will molt (5 stages)before becoming a full grown adult. They take a couple months to mature.
Due to milder temperatures the South has the highest populations.