The sight of one of these little brown critters often raises quite a stink… especially if you decide to swat it!
Halyomorpha halys, also known as the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), is an insect in the family Pentatomidae.
The adults are approximately 1.7 centimeters (0.67 in) long and about as wide, forming the shield shape characteristic of other stink bugs. They are various shades of brown on both the top and undersides, with gray, off-white, black, copper, and bluish markings. The stink glands are located on the underside of the thorax, between the first and second pair of legs, and on the dorsal surface of the abdomen.[*] Adults can live from several months to a year.
Since stink bugs feed on fruit and vegetable crops and can cause widespread damage, they’re a very unwelcome sight in a garden or farm field. They feed on a wide array of plants including apples, apricots, Asian pears, cherries, corn, grapes, lima beans, peaches, peppers, tomatoes, and soybeans. Compost bins look like a buffet table to stink bugs!
This little guy poses no health hazard at all to humans, nor does he transmit diseases, sting, or bite. He doesn’t cause structural damage. He’s annoying because of his odor and his loud WW2 bomber flight noise, but this is actually a God-given defense mechanism meant to prevent him from being eaten by birds and lizards. (Of course, we could be discussing a female – we don’t intend to send gender dominant messages here – but we’re talking about stink and loud noises, so it’s probably a male, right?!) 😉 He has two different scents – one to make him seem unappetizing to predators, and one to mark his territory. The interesting point here is that once he finds a great place to hibernate for the winter, he marks that area not to keep other stink bugs away, but to invite them to join him! It’s slumber party time at your house!
We’ve been hearing a lot of reports recently of people seeing these bugs in their houses now, but the brown marmorated stink bug home invasion usually occurs in the fall. The bug survives the winter as an adult by entering houses and structures when autumn evenings become colder, often numbering in the thousands. They will enter under siding, soffits, around window and door frames, chimneys, or any space which has openings big enough to fit through. Once inside the house, they will go into a state of hibernation to wait for winter to pass. The warmth of the house may cause them to become active. They are able to survive long periods of time in hot or cold conditions.
If you see an occasional stinkbug and want to get rid of it without swatting it and having to deal with its odor, you can devise a fun trap with little-to-no expense. Set a crook-neck or angled desk lamp (with a non-LED bulb) over a disposable aluminum pan containing about an inch of water and a few drops of dish soap. Darken the room so that the only light comes from the lamp shining into the soapy water. Leave the room for several hours (preferably overnight) before checking. The bug will be attracted to the light, land in the water, but be unable to escape once the soap coats its body.
Management & Prevention:
Managing this pest species is challenging because there are currently few effective pesticides that are labeled for use against them. Predators such as wasps and birds are helping fight the spread of stink bugs by feeding on the bugs.
Preventive perimeter spray (seasonal spray) around your home is the most effective defense to keep them from entering your home. Spring and fall treatments are recommended so as to kill them as they leave their state of hibernation or as they try to enter before winter arrives.
Sealing off cracks and crevices around the home is recommended so as not to allow them entry or harborage.
Little Bugs Pest Control, LLC offers preventive and seasonal sprays for your home or business. Feel free to contact us at: (814) 221-3424 or (716) 640-5006. We’ll be glad to deal with the stink bugs for you!
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