Stink Bug Invasion on the Rise in the US for Winter

Stink Bug Identification

Experts believe we will be seeing an invasion at it’s worse in the next couple of weeks with stink bugs.

The pests first came to the USA from Asia in the late 1990s and have now been spotted in 40 states: “Their range has expanded dramatically recently, from coast to coast and from border to border,” says University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp.

Stink Bug Infestation Map

With the weather becoming cooler, the brown marmorated stink bugs are looking for a warm place for the winter. “We’re getting a significant increase in calls in the past week,” Kim Reynolds, an entomologist with HomeTeam Pest Defense in Raleigh, N.C told USA Today.

“An important part of the seasonal biology of the brown marmorated stink bug is its movement to protected places for the winter,” Dr. Douglas Pfeiffer.

They’re not harmful in homes, Reynolds says, but it’s a visual thing: “Homeowners don’t care what type of bug it is — they don’t like lots of bugs and don’t want them in their houses.”

So while the stink bugs are not harmful, they are still a pain because if they are frightened, disturbed or squashed they emit a stinky pungent smell.

The stink bugs are however harmful to fruit, corn, soybean and pepper growers.

“Although they are a significant agricultural problem and concern for farmers,” said Missy Henriksen, a spokeswoman with the National Pest Management Association, “they are also quite a nuisance to homeowners.”

In 2010, fruit growers alone lost $37 million in crops because of stink bugs.

Since stink bugs don’t have a natural predator in the USA, they are multiplying fast. With the government shutdown, research into finding a pest — a tiny parasitic wasp from Asia that mainly eats stink bug eggs — has been put on hold while the government is closed.

“Just when entomologists are getting set to take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to better understand the brown marmorated stink bug, federal research funding is put in park,” Dr. Douglas Pfeiffer, a Virginia Tech entomologist, told Entomology Today.

The “Great Stink Bug Count,” a project of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, is on hold, too. USA Today reports that the project asking homeowners to count the number of stink bugs in their homes, the USDA website to submit the data remains down.

The name “stink bug” refers to the scent glands located on the dorsal surface of the abdomen and the underside of the thorax.

Keep Stink Bugs Out of Your House

Mike Raupp, “The Bug Guy” for the University of Maryland Extension, shows us the best ways to keep the infamous brown marmorated stink bug from invading your home. Through both stopping them outside your doorstep to finishing off the ones who make it inside, you too can keep your house stink bug free.

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