KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Ready or not, here they come! The brown marmorated stink bugs are about the size of a nickel, but cost many homeowners their sanity.
Unlike other insects, these creepy critters don't die in the wintertime. Instead, they protect themselves from the brutal elements by seeking refuge under a pile of leaves, loose bark, or inside your home.
"The good news is, these things aren't major, structural pests," Rose Pest Solutions Board Certified Entomologist Mark VanderWerp said. "That means yes, they will enter, but they don't do anything once they're inside. They don't bite you. They're not infesting your walls, not laying eggs in your house. None of that kind of stuff. They don't chew on your wood. So, they're OK to have in the structure, not ideal, but we can tolerate this."
According to the Department of Agriculture, the invasive species arrived in the United States by way of Asia, likely through a shipping container.
The first confirmed stink bug popped up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 2001. They've spread into states like Michigan ever since.
“These are fairly large insects, so if they are penetrating into your structure, it means you’ve got some holes and gaps and seams that probably should be sealed anyways," VanderWerp said.
VanderWerp suggests shielding vents and other structural openings with thick, metal screening like hardware cloth to prevent stink bugs from sneaking inside.
“You can also treat to exterior of the home with an insecticide," VanderWerp said. "That is, of course, one of the main things we do at Rose to help cut down on the amount of wildlife coming in for the fall.”
A vacuum will do the trick when the stink bug is already in the building. Just suck it up, then throw it out.
As far as smooshing stink bugs, and attracting more, VanderWerp says that's an myth.
“That is a chemical defense odor. So, you don’t have to worry about it. Doesn’t work like that,” he said.
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