Stink Bugs: What They Are and How to Get Rid of Them

It's that stink bug time of the year again and the invasion is on. Here's what they are, and what you can do.

The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, is an invasive species of insect that arrived on U.S. shores somewhere around September 1998 from Asia. Although there are multiple species of stink bugs, this rank little bugger has now effectively taken over the United States and we've just about had it!

The infestation started somewhere near Allentown, Pennsylvania, possibly as a result of a stowaway from either China or Japan in a shipment of machinery.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has now declared pest control war on this illegal alien and has started a pest management program that we can all help with.

From New Jersey in the mid-Atlantic to Kentucky and beyond, specialists have begun to study and come up with ways to push this little pest back to where it came from. Knowing what it is that they like can help us to fight it, and they've found that at this time of the year, the stink bug is looking for nothing more than to creep into your home and find some warmth.

"Right now, there is a very distinct species of stink bug called the 'Brown Marmorated Stink Bug,'" Agriculture and Natural Resources Specialist with OSU, Dan Lima told WTOV9. "They are not considered an infestation because they won't mate inside the house, they just stay over winter. They do stink when they get smashed, very acrid odor, pretty gross, but as far as a disease, they are not known to spread diseases."

With cooling temperatures in the fall, stink bugs seek out cracks and crevices around our windows, doors, siding and chimneys. They are attracted to the warmth and although they only want our homes as overwintering sites, their unpleasant odor can be a smelly nuisance.

Several creative tip to help with this onslaught include, checking yourself and your belongings before you enter your house for the sneaky little buggers, dry up wet areas around laundry rooms and under sinks as they like the moisture, keep outdoor lights to a minimum and most of all: seal off any possible entry points.

So what do you do for stink bug control? While stink bug traps come in several forms, a homemade trap can be made from an aluminum pan and some common dish soap. Fill the pan most of the way with water, add a couple of teaspoons of the detergent to make some soapy water and add an incandescent light to attract them to their doom.

Stink bugs have few natural enemies in North America although parasitoid wasps do like to lay their eggs on them and even bats and spiders will munch a few. They're an agricultural pest that are a scourge to soy beans and even sweet corn and need to be eliminated.

Most of all, they are a freaky bit of the invasive insect world that get into everything, and they're not going away unless we work together to stop them.

Looking for a little more? Follow my webpage, or on Facebook and Twitter.