Stink Bugs Are Invading the Country

    October 3, 2013
    Erika Watts
    Comments are off for this post.

Yes, you read that title right. And, no, it isn’t a crack about Congress and the government shutdown. Stink bugs are swarming all over the country, and the problem is expected to get worse before it gets better.

“We’re going to have buckets full of these things coming in if they do what they’ve done in Maryland and Pennsylvania and that’s not going to be fun,” said University of Wisconsin bug expert Phil Pellitteri.

While stink bugs have been around the United States for years, this is the most recent major infestation. So far the stink bugs have been found in Wisconsin, Alabama, Indiana and Virginia, to name a few states. Click here to identify the various types of stink bugs.

Some people report that the stink bug problem has gotten really bad, and one person even went so far as to compare it to something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. “This is like being in an Alfred Hitchcock movie, only it’s stink bugs instead of birds,” said Pennsylvania resident Drema Brubaker. “When you step outside they jump on you. This is like a plague or something! I’ve lived here since 1976 but I was so mad I was throwing a fit, saying I didn’t want to live here anymore.”

Some reactions to stink bug invasion have been a little more severe than others.

Has the stink bug infestation reached you? Share your experiences and remedies below.

Sallie Lee, an Urban Regional Extension agent in Alabama, says that the stink bugs are looking for a warm place for winter, which just might be your home. “If they can’t find a warm crack, somewhere in a rock, someplace like that, if they see an open window or door they will sense that warmth and they’ll go inside,” Lee said.

The good news is that as long as a stink bug doesn’t feel threatened, you probably won’t have to worry about finding how they get their name. But if the bug feels threatened or if you squish it, you’ll be hit with a foul odor that some people describe as being very “musty” or smelling like “cilantro,” and the smell could linger around your home for up to a couple of days.

According to Pest World, there are a few ways to deal with stink bugs that don’t require involving an exterminator:

Seal off entry points: Spend some time inspecting the outside of your home for easy access points.

Turn off the lights: Stink bugs are attracted to lights, so it’s recommended to keep outdoor lighting to a minimum.

Reduce moisture sites: Eliminating all moisture build up around your home can go a long way to help prevent many pest infestations.

Eliminate food sources: Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.

Properly landscape: Keep branches and shrubbery well trimmed. In addition, make sure to store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.

Think before squishing: When many people find a stink bug, their first instinct is to squish them. However, when disturbed or crushed, stink bugs have a tendency to release a bad-smelling, bad-tasting odor from pores on the sides of their bodies. This is how the pest earned its name.

Use a vacuum to remove stink bugs.

Image via WikiMedia Commons

  • Sally

    Stink bugs are a real annoyance! I’ve seen plenty of them in my life, but more and more are appearing! Maybe if some of the stink bug’s predators were brought over to America, they would die down a bit.

    • Virtuous

      We would then have another problem.

    • Josh

      I think the only natural predator of the stink bug just happens to be the Black Widow spider. I think I prefer sinkbugs

      • JoAnn Huskey

        Our North Carolina foothills area was invaded early this spring by a species of stinkbug that I had not seen before. It is much smaller, about 1/8″-1/4″ with a squared off back end. It is called a Kudzu Bug because Kudzu is its main food source. No kudzu leaves to eat when they arrived due to a late freeze, so they covered sunny white building and porch surface and every twig of every the Wisteria vine until the Kudzu leaves came out. Per Clemson University, they are native to Japan, imported to control the Kudzu vine that is overrunning the South…..which was also imported from Japan…to control erosion. Importers solving one problem with an even worse problem apparently never heard about native species.

      • Safa

        Eeeek! I was thinking the same thing the other day, Josh. I thought, well, it could be worse. It could be ANY kind of spider. Yes, these things are a pain, but I would have had a heart attack if I had to keep one eye open all the time for arachnids!

  • Eddioei

    In PA. Two years ago had Stink Bugs all over the place, inside and outside the house. At least four or five or more each day in our bedroom. Last year we saw a few outside and only one in our bedroom. This year zero anywhere. never had a problem with them in the winter, only the spring and summer. They sem to have moved on from PA or the northeaster part of the state anyway.

  • mickey roberts

    Get used to this and a lot more. That old global warming myth strikes again. When average temps go up by just a couple degrees, it causes lots more problems than melting ice. Coffee crops in S.A. are in grave danger, insects we never had because it was too cold in the winter for them are getting breaks they never had. This year, because of the mild winter, we had an out break of ticks in Wayne County that reached biblical proportions. There were days when a hike in the woods, on a dirt road, would gather 30-40 ticks. I have never seen that in my life. And spend a great deal of time outdoors. Winter here used to be long and cold. Not any more. Like I said, get used to it.

  • Karen

    This is one of the pestilences that the Bible talks about in the last days before Jesus returns.

    • mike

      just stop…

    • jerry

      Not sure if what you wrote was a joke or not but I myself am a true Christian and I am ready for Jesus at any time.

    • Safa

      Could be, along with other prophecies.
      Mike: it’s a free country. And yes, maybe we’d be a little more blessed here with a healthier economy, no pestilence and no division if we hadn’t booted God out of everything.
      Jerry: me too!

  • Kimk

    Remember,,,! If you vacuum them up…use a shop vac or a dust buster, something you can empty fast. If you vacuum them up using your ‘house’ sweeper…It WILL make your sweeper stink!…especially if you leave them in there!

  • jerry

    And I thought I was the only one here in northern Ohio. These thing are all over in the house.

  • Pat

    Raid for wasps kills them! Found that remedy last year at this time!

  • Josh

    In Maryland, we’ve had a pretty bad infestation for well over two years, I’ve have had to vacuum well over 100 per day, each day, for a number of days in a row. There’s always one in one place or another. It’s to the point where I see one and ignore it. If they don’t lang on me, I don’t have a problem. I very hard to grab them with a napkin like any other bug because they fly and scurry around and are shelled and relatively flat so it tough to grab them, even tougher to hold on, and even harder to hold on without killing them and stinking up the joint. Oh, and they are proficient swimmers.

  • Theresa

    I work for a Lowe’s in the Garden Center in SW Ohio. This week I saw them all over the place for the first time. I wondered about that. I guess they’ve got this far.

  • Jen

    Wait a sec … I understand the fear of spiders, but stinkbugs? Really? They often accidentally fly inside my house in Tennessee, and I just coax them into a butterfly net and bring them back outdoors. I’ve even coaxed them into my palm when at friends’ homes and just place them outdoors on a plant. 35 years of handling these guys, and not one stinkbomb! (and yes, I’m female!)

    • M

      Stop putting them outside!!!! The reason why they are such a problem is because they dont have anything that preys on them, and thats because they are not native to the United States. There are technically an invasions species from China. They only thing they do is destroy crops. So please the next time you see one kill it. You do more wrong than right by letting it stay alive.

    • Safa

      I think that’s fine if you have one or two. Around two hundred, and you start hating the pests.

    • Robert

      Awesome Jen

  • Alex

    They are in Michigan also. Earlier today I had about 5 on each on of my window screens.

  • John

    We have them bad in Amherst Ohio. I got regular pesticide and mixed bleach (for the smell) and Dawn dish soap (to dissolve their protective coating). Also I have bombed a few times. It seems to help a little.


    They have all started from California and invaded every western state. The rest started in New England and moved to all of the states east of the Rock Mountains! They are called Democrats!

    • M

      Ummm I believe its the republicans that caused this shutdown. and if you believe they didnt well than your just like every other dumb republican that thinks that backwards party never does anything wrong, which means they have you fooled and your in the their control, republicans only do whats right for their party and not whats right for the people. Democrats are not very much better, but at least there not helping people who have the means to help themselves. Republicans are ALL greedy dirty people who will get there day in hell one day, as all politicians will. So maybe do your reasearch on your party before claiming it b/c you seem like your only a republican b/c thats what your parents were growing up and you really have no idea what the party is about.

      • doublej

        Demos want to help people? Are you really that stupid? All they do is keep stupid people like you in a constant state of poverty, so you’ll keep voting for them over and over to keep getting the same handout that keeps you in a constant state of poverty!

      • ChillOut

        “M” I usually vote Republican, but I am not dirty or greedy, so try harder next time and don’t be such a hater. The situation in Congress is very complex and both sides believe in what they are doing. Be patient and it will all sort itself out; it always does. BTW, if you like for your taxes to keep going up, keep voting for Democrats, because they will surely do that as you watch your paycheck get smaller and smaller. If you don’t work and you are on government assistance, well that’s just VERY special that you are saying that Republicans are greedy. You just think about that.

        • JD

          “I am not dirty or greedy”

          No one actually thinks they are evil. Even Hitler thought he was doing good for the world. So forgive me if I don’t accept your glowing endorsement of yourself.

          • ChillOut

            You’ve already failed in your comeback by stooping so low as to make a Hitler reference. Congratulations!

          • Safa

            JD, if I were you, I’d stop condemning others, stop robbing the working to pay the refuse-to-work ‘entitled’ and think about where *you* are going to spend eternity. This situation is what happens when you are of the belief system that people are babies and the world has to be wrapped in bubble wrap lest someone be offended.
            God is still in control, yet you just keep drinking more of the Flavor Aid and hating your fellow American because your Great Leader tells you to. Kinda sad.

        • Tammy

          I thought we were talking about stink bugs?? Leave politics out of it. Take it to another forum

  • JoAnn Huskey

    Our North Carolina foothills area was invaded early this spring by a species of stinkbug that I had not seen before. It is much smaller, about 1/8″-1/4″ with a squared off back end. It is called a Kudzu Bug because Kudzu is its main food source. No kudzu leaves to eat when they arrived due to a late freeze, so they covered sunny white building and porch surface and every twig of every the Wisteria vine until the Kudzu leaves came out. Per Clemson University, they are native to Japan, imported to control the Kudzu vine that is overrunning the South…..which was also imported from Japan…to control erosion. Importers solving one problem with an even worse problem apparently never heard about native species.

    • Wayne

      These also have another name. They are called soybean bugs. They love soybean plants.

  • Sheri

    They’re always coming through the cracks of the back door from the deck!!! Ugh TN has them too

  • patsy

    Definitely having a problem……sitting here and they fly in through the littlest openings in the windows…..where fans are….even through the a.c. One landed on my arm so hard it scared me to death…then flew right into my face behind my eyeglasses! They are attaching themselves to the screendoors and you can’t flick them off….i go outside and whack them with the swatter…soft…and they land and walk around. If i really wallop them it’s too gross and not worth the clean up…not to mention trashing fly swatters. Any suggestions welcome!!

    • Squeaky Hinge

      I torch them with a handheld propane torch. I only do this outside so I don’t set the house on fire. Inside my home, I use a large plastic cup half-full of water with a squirt of Dawn Dishwashing liquid stirred in. I put on rubber gloves and gently place them in the soapy water. They die in about 10 minutes or so. I also put powdered Borax on my windowsills and underneath my baseboards, this seems to dehydrate & dry them up.

      I just keep burning or drowning them. They say that stinkbugs are attracted to light, but I never see dead ones in my bug light; so I don’t think they like the blue florescent bug lights, but they seem to like white light bulbs.

      I also grab them in tissues or napkins & toss them into the fireplace if there’s a fire going. I recently had one fry inside of my electrical panel. I only had half my power & couldn’t figure out why, but I could smell the burning stinkbug! After removing the fried bug, my electricity was back at full power! Their shells are thick. This bug shut off half the electrical power to my house! That’s how hardy their shells are!

  • Amanda

    Add Kentucky to that list as well.

  • http://heatlhier-you.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-lose-belly-fat.html james

    Yep they are invading me as I write this, I have thrown 5 out today. I am in Mass and don’t remember them ever being this bad.

  • Jen

    They’re in California too….I’ve already removed a few from inside my home and they are outside as well.

  • Molly Kramer

    We’ve had them appear in one room of our house for the last 3 years. I have not ever experienced a stink, even when I’ve handled them to put them outside. They’re shy. They don’t bite,they can’t claw you. They do eat insect pests in the garden — aphids etc.
    We haven’t yet had a huge number outside. Molly from Massachusetts

    • rmb

      I’m also from MA and we also had them in my office building the last two summers, but they were on the window where the patio was. Well, I sit next to that big window, so I would have someone come and take care of them because I hate bugs or insects of any kind. Just gross me out completely. I think one of the guys killed one and it didn’t stink, thankfully. But this past summer, I didn’t see any. I’m hoping it stays that way!

  • Bobbie

    This is the western mountains of VIRGINIA and they are definitely here! Had a whole porch full all day today….ceiling, rails, steps, walls and even the 2 cats that normally sleep and lounge there had to leave cause the bugs were all over them and one was even sticking out the females mouth! It is crazy….worse than lady bugs were to me and if they come in house I will be screeching cause the darn earwigs in the house sure make me screech. Good luck all! Sorry…I hate them!

  • Firefly

    I live in Mt. Holly, NC, and I’ve been noticing them on my screen door recently. Only 1 or 2 at a time, but I’m wondering if they’re going to get worse.

  • Steven K.

    Saw one of these on my porch yesterday and didn’t know what is was till I saw this article, I live in Flat Rock, MI. It seems they have made their way here now. Glad I didn’t kill it with my foot, it just went underneath the porch, going to buy some good bug spray now!

    • Tammy

      Don’t waste your money. Spraying doesn’t work. If it did, they wouldn’t such a PITA!

      • Stephanie

        Actually, Raid insect/roach spray works! I use the lemon scented kind. I sprayed a stink bug on yesterday, not knowing what type of bug it was.

        • http://webpronenews.com Murphy

          I read that Ortho kills them but nothing else.

  • Eva

    I saw one yesterday. It flew into my house and landed on our ceiling light.We have a zap fly swatter so I zapped it and it died instantly and didn’t stink at all.

  • Eva

    I saw one yesterday. It flew into my house and landed on our ceiling light.We have a zap fly swatter so I zapped it and it died instantly and didn’t stink at all.

    • Jeannie

      This is weird. We live way out in Tennessee and have been fighting these things for a month now.

  • Susan

    They’re in St. Louis also!! I live right outside the downtown area on the Illinois side and we are infested!! My $400 vacuum cleaner smells like them and the only bug spray I have found that works is Raid for roaches and ants. I have gone thru at least 14 cans of them trying to kill them!!

  • Dwayne Oxford

    Quick, someone call DHS!

  • Bob

    Stinkbug stole me baby.

  • steve

    They are in Randleman, NC. by the thousands! I wouldn’t mind too much, but they attack you like Japanese kamikaze Zero airplanes!! Hitting you in the face, eyes, forehead, etc.

  • karen

    We have stink bugs here in Northern NJ. Every day there would be several on our window screen so I read up on how to repel them. I mixed mint oil, lavendar oil and water and spray the screens and window sills with this mix. For two days I haven’t seen them!

  • Leman

    yup,,got em here too in Columbia Falls Montana.

  • brockpowers

    Stink bugs were around in the 70s when I was a kid. They have been in large numbers over the last couple years in Northern NJ, but they haven’t really bloomed yet this year until last week. They kinda kept to small numbers until now. Last couple years, they were around all summer long. They will recede in numbers all on their own. They might be a pain now, but they were a pain back in the 70s too. Everything balances out.

  • julia

    If you are from Pittsburgh your use to them by now… the scary thought is these originated from china so whos to say those new killer bee’s are not next . let’s hope not

    • clarissa

      I was thinking that same thing when I saw the article on the killer hornets that rot your flesh. I was thinking dont let them get started here. maybe if we stopped getting crap from China… Anyhow, live south of Pittsburgh myself and they are like the plague. hate them.

  • http://webpronews georgetta busler

    we have had varieties of ‘stink bugs’ called ‘shield bugs’ here in northern ohio for decades. right now, 4 of these critters are crawling on the screen on my north window. if they are in the garden i use pesticide, in the house they entertain my cat until i can catch and kill them. here in ohio i think that the unusual weather we’ve had over the last two years has helped the population explosion.

  • Dave

    Use a product called Hi Yield 38 plus…works everytime. You can spray this outdoors on your foundation and on your plants. Big problem here in Indiana.

  • http://webpronenews.com Murphy

    We have had a few, but last night when we to bed, I kept getting buzzed. We got up and there must have been dozens of them in our curtains, behind our headboard, picture frames, everywhere. I had sprayed around all the baseboards and the crappy stinking things had climbed to the tops of the walls. The insecticide didn’t kill them. Ahhhhhhh!!!!! Western NC.

  • Natalie R

    Here in Ohio we have them. They gravitate to my daughter’s room. I just capture them in a tissue and then flush them down the toilet and this method has never caused an unplesant odor.

  • Doc Brown

    In TN the bugs were worse last year than this year.
    I have found the best way to get rid of them is to use Ortho Max home defence bug spray.
    These bugs seem to work in teams and when you’ve sprayed about 6 or so the others try to hide.
    I have found that after swatting them they releasethe dor and more of them swarm in to the odor which makes killing large numbers simpler, however using the bug spray eliminates the odor issue.

    • LaceyMae

      I soOoooo beg to differ. I’m in Chattanooga and they have INVADED my house. I’ve read they are attracted to white… and my house is white. I, for the life of me, can NOT find how they are getting in. But, they gather and party at my kitchen window after the light outside once they get in. They dive bomb my face… And, the cat loves the entertainment. I’m talking like, 50 a day! I’m over it!

  • Steve

    I live in Stamford, CT and we have them all over our house. My screens on my windows are a resting place for them. I am knocking of at least 50 a day from one screen alone.

  • Cass

    I was just saying to myself, after going outside this morning and opening my umbrella, only to find 15 or so stinkbugs inside. I live in North Carolina as well and prior to that I have noticed a lot of stink bugs in my back outdoor pad. My goal is to spray back there this weekend and hopefully that minimizes the issue…Any suggestions on what to use?

  • Doll

    I’m in Los Angeles. I live in a house and on occasion, one or two get in. They fly around the ceiling near the canned lighting, but I usually find them dead on the ground like the next day. So far, not a huge nuisance. And for a bug, their kind of pretty – bright green. But, my husband made the mistake of touching one once… didn’t smell so good!

  • Robin

    These bugs are harmless as far as hurting people so who really cares as long as you dont have a garden that is being destroyed? I dont mind them at all. I just put them outside and let them find their friends..lol

    • Jenna

      because they are evil.

  • Beau Charles

    I live an hour north of Sacramento (where that news piece was filmed) and I haven’t noticed these bugs around my home/yard. I do have a regular pest control service, if that makes any difference.

  • Safa

    Oh, I envy those of you who see ‘one’ or ‘two’ or ‘five’. We get about 50 a day in each room. At the beginning of this scourge at our house (when I moved back about 3 years ago), they had nested in my car. In town, they were flying out of my hood and hitting me inside my car. The other day, they actually brought me to tears. Here’s what I’ve found works:

    1- For individual ones, it’s a pain, but using a water bottle with the top cut off, flipped upside down and taped back on with packing tape works to capture them. Stuff a tissue in to keep them from coming back out. You don’t want to squash them because that calls others, like the Bat Signal. Gross, but it’s better than having them dive-bomb you. Throw the bottle away when it’s full.

    2- In the bedroom, I turn on my big fan. I took out my box AC and that seems to have quelled the population, but they really seem to hate moving air.

    3- There is a trap you can buy that draws them with light and some kind of scent. The one we have has 1″ holes in a big PVC shell with a light around it (about a foot tall, total). We hang it there, and they get caught on the sticky surface when they fly over there. Fly paper does NOT work. They’re too fat and work their way off.

    4- Sprays: I’ll try some of the suggestions of other posters because the only thing I know that kills them is Dawn in water, in a container (like the bottle mentioned above). You obviously don’t want to spray that, but to put them in a container so you don’t have to waste tons of water flushing them, this is an option.

  • Laura

    Just caught one! Put it in soapy solution (dish detergent and water) and it died in seconds. Iq had the outside of the house treated a month ago and again today. Let’s hope it works. I don’t want them hibernating in my walls!

    • Laura

      BTW….I live in Upstate New York….and we are being invaded. Hopefully, the pest control treatment will keep them out of the house.

  • Jenna

    There was a stink bug on my bedroom ceiling last night. Dressed like a ninja, I leapt onto a chair, Febreeze in hand, and I sprayed that little bugger all over his little stink bug face. But guess what? I figures Febreeze would make stink bugs go away as well as stink… but no no no! That little asshole flies strait at my face. Hear that? Little demons can fly. Like evil whirring HELLicopters. Clever, eh? Anyway.I jumped off the chair(but I was quite graceful, thank you) and grabbed a spiral notebook off my floor and slapped that thing into nonexistence. Or so I hope. Anyway, I couldn’t find where it landed. Needless to say, I slept downstairs that night.

  • Kellee

    My apartment complex is infested outside with these! Last year, and this year, They creep me out! But They are really hard to kill, but when we finally do kill them, they dont stink? They look like stink bugs, but without the smell…

  • kim kim sabim

    Why does another site say the severe winter will kill off 95%? Sure didn’t here in Ohio!