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Facts about Stink bug Invasions

Winter is coming, but so are the pests. The brown marmorated stink bug, BMSB, is a prime suspect for pest management around your Rhode Island home this season.

Common Stink Bug Myths

Are stink bugs dangerous?

Short answer, no. But there are some things you should know:

  • They stink. True to their name, they can emit an incredibly foul smell when threatened or squished.
  • They don’t bite. If they do, though, it shouldn’t be serious. You may have an allergic reaction. If you do, consult a doctor.
  • No diseases. Stink bugs don’t carry diseases communicable to humans.
  • Allergic reactions. If you are bitten or sprayed by a stink bug and experience a reaction, consult your physician immediately.

What do they eat?

Stink bugs are herbivores, so they prefer fruits and leaves as their food source.

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Berries
  • Corn
  • Ornamental plants

What do they do, and what are their habits?

  • Hibernation. During the cooler weather in autumn, they will seek a safe place to undergo a process called diapause to hibernate during the winter months
  • Avoid predators. They excrete a stinky chemical that is a serious and effective deterrent from predators
  • Mainly, a nuisance pest. As the weather cools during the fall, they soak up the sun by crawling all over your house or car. Because they have a foul taste, stink bugs have few natural predators.

Stink bugs emerge from diapause, or hibernation, in March or April, and immediately begin laying eggs. You might see the red or yellow nymphs, newly hatched insects, crawling over a host plant such as maple trees, ash trees, or on their favorite fruit trees or plants: apple, pear, peach, grape, blueberry, soybean, tomato, corn. When stink bugs feed on a developing fruit, it can cause the fruit to become malformed during growth and cause what is called a cat facing injury.

A stink bug invasion into your home in the winter months is a sign to take action now. Just remember, stink bugs emit a nasty smell when threatened or squished, and their excrement could leave a stain on your walls, carpet, or clothes, so refrain from squishing them.

What exactly are Stink Bugs?

Two major species

  • The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys
  • The almost identical cousin stink bug, Euschistus servus

Both of these species eat fruit and ornamental plants. The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive species, which means it originates from a foreign country, and its cousin is native to the United States and North America. The brown marmorated stink bug was introduced to the United States in the 1990s from Eastern Asia, China, Japan area, and was formally discovered in 2001. We’re focused more on the brown marmorated stink bug, but the native types are almost identical in appearance and habits.

Great, Now How do I Get Rid of Stink Bugs?

You know you have a severe stink bug infestation, where they have infiltrated the insides of your walls and into the insulation, if you find them coming out of electrical outlets, cracks around light fixtures, air ducts or air return vents, or other cracks inside your home. If you suspect you have a severe infestation, do not try to get rid of them on your own. Over-the-counter pesticides will most likely force the stink bugs deeper into your home, and the stink bug carcasses inside the walls will attract bacteria and other pests. Consult professional pest control immediately if you suspect a serious stink bug infestation has entered your home.

Since stink bugs are an overwintering pest, you’ll likely find them gathered on your car or the siding of your house during autumn, just before they go into diapause, their hibernation state. Before they emerge again in spring, reinforce these methods to prevent invasions during the year.

Here are some effective methods to keep these bugs from invading your home. Professional pest control options, however, are extremely effective for getting rid of and preventing a stink bug invasion from happening in the first place.

Use these methods for your shed and garage as well:

  • Seal Entry Points

    Repair or replace window screens and use silicone caulking to seal cracks around the frames around your doors and windows. Check the cracks around the foundation and sill plates of your home. Repair cracked mortar and fill any holes or cracks you see there. Install and maintain weather strips and exterior door sweeps. Remember, the most common entry points are near doors and windows, so be sure that every crack is completely sealed.
  • Remove Attractants

    Keep your landscaping clean and well-maintained. Trim shrubbery at least one foot from the sides of your house, keep short grass two feet from the home perimeter, and keep firewood or compost piles at least twenty feet from the home and raised at least 1 foot off the ground. Collect fallen fruit, birdseed, nuts, or berries from your yard. At night during late fall and early winter, turn off porch lights that attract insects after nightfall and cover windows to keep the insects from seeing and being attracted to the light. Keep the crawl space, attic, garage, and shed free of moisture. Repair and ventilate leaky pipes and keep them dry.
  • Home Solutions for Stink Bug Removal

    Prevention works best if you don’t already have a problem, but there are things you can do if you already have stink bugs in your home. Remember: Do not squish stink bugs. They will release a nasty smell, and their body excrement can leave a stain. Here are some things to do if you already have a problem. Pour dish soap and water mixed into a spray bottle or hose sprayer and apply the soapy water liberally to stink bug gatherings on the siding of your home, your car, or other places outside your Rhode Island home. Use a vacuum to suck them up if they have come inside, or you can use a shop vacuum on the exterior. Place the vacuum bag in the freezer overnight to eliminate live bugs, then empty and reuse the bag. Don’t empty the vacuum cleaner bag into the garbage can without eliminating the stink bugs collected there.

Pest Control Professionals

Stink bugs are a nuisance this time of year in the Rhode Island area, so do what you can to keep them from coming now and in the spring. Don’t squish them if you encounter them to avoid their nasty stink defense. If you suspect you have a serious infestation between your walls, do not wait to call. Call today for timely, friendly service from our pest professional technicians. Our products will root stink bugs out of your walls, off of your siding, and away from your Rhode Island home this season. Pests … it’s what we do.

Posted on December 2, 2019.

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