I am sure that if you live in Maryland, that you are more than familiar with Halyomorpha halys, plainly speaking the brown marmorated stink bug.
This annoying and damaging insect was accidentally introduced into the United States by hitching its way by sea in packing crates coming from China or Japan.
The stink bug has been declared an agricultural pest which causes widespread damage to fruit and vegetable crops and was first sighted in Allentown Pennsylvania in 1998. Since that time it has been busy making its way steadily across the U.S.
It has also been reported that stink bugs are heaviest in the eastern half of the United States, and if you live in Maryland or Pennsylvania, you can attest to that.
So why are there so many in our area?
- They like the warm early spring and summers that Maryland and Pennsylvania have. Which allows them to reproduce two generations in one growing season.
- Adult stink bugs are living longer, laying eggs longer and maturing more generations to lay even more eggs.
- The “stink” from this bug gives off a bad odor which serves as its defense in preventing it from being eaten by birds and lizards. This makes it relatively predator free.
Other states that share our fate in wrestling with this little pest are; Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, New York, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, and Oregon.
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Okay, Okay, Okay, so most of this information you probably already know, and you are most likely wondering why I am writing about this most annoying bug that just won’t go away.
Well, if you are experiencing them in your house like I am, and wondering why, in the dead of winter, they are still alive and buzzing around, then I wanted to share some facts that you may not be aware of. Facts that may help you cope with them while you’re seeking their removal.
First Fact – HIBERNATION!!
- The stink bug invades homes in the fall to survive the winter. They will work their way into any, and I mean ANY element of your home to overwinter and shield themselves from the elements. Under your siding, into soffits, around windows and door frames, under roof shingles, attic vents, and crawl spaces. Once they are inside the house they will go into a state of hibernation and wait for the warmer weather. OR, if they are in your occupied rooms, not so much the attic or basement, the warmth will cause them to remain active and clumsily flying into walls and lights. Can you relate?!
Second Fact – LONGEVITY!!
- Adult stink bugs can live for several years! So it is safe to bet that the little bug you currently see, the one you’ve been kindly putting outside, could be the same bug that visited you last year. Does the word HARDY mean anything here?!
Third Fact – STINK ATTRACTS STINK!!
- Their “stink” attracts other stink bugs! It’s like their perfume. So when they spray to chase off predators, including us, they are, at the same time, sending out a calling card and marking a trail for others to join them. And as you know, simply jostling, cornering, injuring, or scaring it, let alone squashing it, makes it spray! So even in its fright, or death, its telling others to come and join the party! What nerve!
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So now that we know that the cold weather will not kill them, that they live ridiculously long, and their stink attracts other stink bugs, lets look at how we can remove them without causing a release of odor and acquiring more stink bugs.
Below are a few recommended extractions that I found on the web.
- Let it walk onto something (like newspaper) and dispose of it. Some folks take them back outside, but since we now know that they live for years, the chances that it returns are great.
- Use a piece of tissue, gently pick it up, and flush it (this is my choice of disposal).
- Electric flyswatter will stun them and after a few seconds kills them without squashing them.
- Dropping them into a jar with an inch of soapy water. Once you’ve collected a batch, flush.
- BugZooka (a hand-held device) captures live bugs without killing them.
- Vacuum cleaner, suck them up and you can just throw them out with the bag.
Some Good News: Oh happy day!
Recently, researchers have found that there are a few natural predators found to attack the stink bugs. They are several species of Parasitoid wasp and Praying mantises.
This is all well and good, but since Praying mantis lay their eggs in the fall and then die, and the queen wasp lays her eggs (also in the fall) and then goes dormant while the rest of the colony dies during the winter, we don’t have any of those little “helpers” handy to lend aid at this time of year!
So grab your tissues, electric flyswatters, or soapy water jars, and go forth and subdue!
Now for those of you who are looking for me to fit this subject matter into a spiritual lesson, here’s all I got.
Acts 11:6-7 And when I had fixed my gaze upon it and was observing it, I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the crawling creatures and the birds of the air, And I also heard a voice saying to me, “Arise, kill and eat.”
Though I do not suggest you arise and “eat” I do say, arise and kill the stink!
Sorry that’s the best I could do for such a pesky subject. I’m out!
For informational fact-sheet on Stink Bugs click here