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 the 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 them from coming into your house?
Identifying Stink Bugs
Fortunately, adult stink bugs are large enough to easily spot, and 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. It has wings and is able to fly.
After the adult female lays eggs (about 20 to 30), they will hatch about 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 with red eyes. They may resemble ticks. As they grow, the yellow on their bodies lightens to an off-white color. The nymphs go through five phrases, 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 an Invasion
Stink bugs are like many other pests (like rodents) that seek warmth and shelter in the winter in people’s 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 stink bugs take over your house, 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—realizing that they 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. After stink bugs have made your house a home once, 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. We’re a trusted pest control company with more than 80 years of experience serving Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus, Ohio, and Northern Kentucky. Call us at 1-877-748-9888 or via web inquiry, Facebook, or Twitter.