It’s that time of year again for football games, pumpkins, fall weather and…. stink bugs. When the temperature gets cooler, stink bugs search for a way into warm homes where they will “overwinter” from now until spring.
Stink bugs are commonly found in Mid-Atlantic states like West Virginia, Virginia, Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. According to a survey from HomeTeam Pest Defense, Washingtonians have the most problems with stink bugs. Fifty-nine percent of metro residents say they’ve experienced a problem with these smelly pests.
In recent years, the brown marmorated stink bug (the variety and type discussed here and infamous for invasiveness and smell) has also been sighted in California, Minnesota, Texas and Florida. It is estimated that stink bugs arrived in the U.S. in the late 1990s, catching a ride on container ships from Asia. They are about the size of a dime and are identified by their shield-like shape and brown color. Stink bugs feed on flowers and trees and are usually content to stay outdoors during the warmer months.
Although stink bugs cause no harm to humans and are not considered a structural pest, their invasion can be a nuisance for homeowners because of the abundant quantities in which they arrive. In some instances, they can cover the entire outside wall of a home as they are looking for a way inside! As the name implies, their defense mechanism against predators is to release a pungent smell through glands located on the sides and undersides of their bodies when they are disturbed, but the strongest odor is emitted when they are crushed.
To help prevent stink bugs from entering your dwelling, seal potential entry points, like cracks and crevices in doors, windows and siding. If you do find them indoors, vacuum them up and discard the bag immediately. Avoid crushing them! Some infestations may require the help of your pest control professional.