I have seen these odd little shield-shaped brownish insects lurking around my home. They seem so ugly that they are cute, and the copper and bluish ‘bumps’ on their heads are quite unique. They have lighter bands on their antennae and darker bans on the rear of their front wings forming geographical-type patterns. When they are crushed they give off a nauseating ‘rotten cucumber’ stench that is unmistakable. So what are these intriguing little insects anyway? Well, they are the Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, of course.
Accidentally introduced into North America probably sometime in the early 90’s, they were first spotted in Allentown in 1998. These insects are native to China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, and are infamous for inflicting great damage on fruits, vegetables, and farm crops. Although they are relative newcomers to our country, they have been recorded in 49 counties in Pennsylvania alone. Nineteen states have reproducing populations, and nineteen others have listed sightings. In fact, only 7 states in the continental U.S. haven’t reported Brown Marmorated Stick Bug activity.
The list of crops these bugs are attracted to has grown exponentially. They have acquired a fondness for apples, peaches, figs, mulberries, citrus, persimmons, grapes, blackberries, beans, soybeans, corn, tomatoes, lima beans, green peppers, as well as ornamental plants and weeds. They invade these crops and damage the ‘fruits’ making them unsuitable for sale.
While these pests are mostly considered to be agricultural pests, they can cause problems with people. Allergic reactions including rhinitis and conjunctivitis have been reported among farm workers who have come into contact with the stink bugs. Also, contact dermatitis has been reported if the scent gland ‘oils’ come into contact with skin.
Stink bugs do not reproduce indoors but do start gathering in large numbers looking for a warm home to hunker down in for the winter in early September. Once they enter your home, there is not a whole lot you can do to get rid of them until they are good and ready to leave in the spring. They emerge from window and door trim, baseboards, exhaust fans, ceiling fans, and light fixtures in numbers that are staggering, and as happy as can be to live rent free in your home. This makes now the perfect time to start proactively applying preventative measures to avoid spending the winter with them.
It is important to fix cracks around windows, doors, pipes, and chimneys with silicone or silicone/latex caulking. Fixing screens is also important, but professional applications of insecticides around your home in the fall are really the only way to successfully avoid these unwanted winter guests. With that in mind, one call to Witt Pest Management offers you the opportunity to partner with Pittsburgh’s oldest and most advance pest control company. In business since 1908, our family-owned and operated company has the reputation and expertise to be trusted with the safety and well-being of your home and family while eliminating bothersome pests. We are QualityPro certified and use the latest technology and products to offer environmentally responsible pest control. Eliminate stink bugs before they take up residence in your home this winter with a call to Witt Pest Management.