Color: Varies depending on species; can be green, brown, and other colors
Shape: Shield shaped bodies
Size: Adults are approximately 5/8" (17 mm) long
The brown marmorated stink bug, an insect not previously seen on our continent, was accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania and in recent years, calls to our office related to stink bugs are definitely on the rise. Identifying characteristics of stink bugs in Pennsylvania include:
Shield shaped bodies
Pungent odor that is released from stink bugs’ scent glands located on the dorsal of the abdomen and the underside of the thorax
Even though these insects do not harm humans and do not reproduce inside structures such as houses, they cause concern when they become active and conspicuous in fall and spring. The fact that they tend to aggregate in huge numbers can be quite alarming to the homeowner. Their smell, which is their defense mechanism, can also be quite apparent when disturbed or squashed, as their scent glands release a noxious odor our staff has compared to “rotten cucumbers.”
Ideally, a homeowner should address stink bug activity proactively, before the fall. Our experience has shown that mechanical exclusion is the best method to keep stink bugs from entering homes and buildings. Our preventive approach for stink bugs includes:
Detailed inspection of the exterior: cracks around windows, doors, siding, weep holes, utility pipes, and underneath the wood fascia.
Detailed inspection of the interior: attics, crawlspaces, window sills, baseboards and inside light fixtures. Sealing identified openings with caulk or other suitable materials.
Treatment for cracks and crevices with a residual material for added prevention. We will also communicate any conditions and/or recommendations such as repairing damaged screens on doors and windows.
Typically, stink bugs will emerge from cracks under or behind baseboards, around window and door trim, and around exhaust fans or lights in ceilings. When stink bugs have already entered a structure, our corrective approach consists of:
Providing a detailed inspection to assess all potential entranceways.
Sealing these openings with caulk or other suitable materials to prevent the insects from crawling out.
Removal of both live and dead stink bugs from interior areas with the aid of a vacuum cleaner.
Finally, and as the last line of defense, we will spot treat targeted areas of the home to knock down any significant activity that cannot be resolved using the other previously mentioned techniques.