Come fall, stink bugs are back—and in full force.
In the summer, these agricultural pests feed on apples, peaches, blackberries, tomatoes, corn, soybeans, lima beans and green peppers. As the weather turns cooler and winter approaches, stink bugs gather in large numbers on a house’s exterior as well as inside your home.
Stink bugs, though not a danger to humans or pets, are still quite a nuisance to homeowners. Their size and the fact that they emit a very unpleasant odor when crushed make them an upsetting and unwelcome find.
Once stink bugs have invaded your home in order to “overwinter” (the insect version of hibernation), they can be difficult to get rid of—making prevention key. But how do you know if you are looking at a stink bug or another pest? And what should you do to prevent a stink bug infestation in your house?
Identifying Stink Bugs
Fortunately, adult stink bugs are large enough to easily spot—they have a very distinctive shape, making their identification relatively simple.
Adult stink bugs have a shield-like shape with two antennae and six legs. The most common stink bug to this region, the brown marmorated stink bug, can range from half an inch to nearly three-quarters of an inch long. Its body is almost as wide as it is long. An adult stink bug is brown in color with lighter bands on the antennae and darker bands on the wings. And, in case you were wondering, yes, they can fly.
After the adult female lays eggs (roughly 20 to 30), they will hatch approximately four to five days later. Immature stink bugs, also called nymphs, look very different from their adult counterparts: they are yellow and red in color, have red eyes and may resemble ticks. As they grow, the yellow on their bodies lightens to an off-white color. The nymphs go through five phases, molting each time, before they look like adult stink bugs and have fully developed wings.
Somewhat less common is the southern green stink bug. This bug is bright green, with a similar shape and size to the brown marmorated stink bug. The nymphs, when newly hatched, are black.
How to Prevent a Stink Bug Infestation
Stink bugs, like many other rodents and pests, seek warmth and shelter in the winter inside homes. Stink bugs, though large, can still enter your house through tears in screens, cracks around doors and windows, and vents. Once they find their way inside, they will hide in voids in the wall, remaining inactive until spring, when they come out again.
Before you’ve got a stink bug infestation on your hands, you can take action. Make sure to replace any torn window screens and put caulk in any cracks around windows and doors. If your exterior doors have gaps at the bottom, fill them with weather stripping.
If you are already seeing clusters of stink bugs on your walls or in your attic, it’s time to call a professional. Many homeowners—knowing stink bugs smell when crushed—have tried to handle the problem by vacuuming up the bugs and discarding the vacuum bags; however, this strategy often results in the smell lingering in the vacuum and home. Also, once stink bugs have made your house a home, they are likely to do it the next year as well.
The experts at ScherZinger Termite and Pest Control can help you eliminate your stink bug problem once and for all.
ScherZinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton and Columbus. We’ve been pioneers who have engineered new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.