Stink Bugs Are Invading the Country

    October 3, 2013

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