A Stink Bug Invasion
As sure as the leaves change a vibrant red, orange, and yellow each fall, stink bugs make their way inside homes to escape the cooling weather. According to Michael Ruapp, entomology professor at the University of Maryland, 60 percent more of these stinky invaders will be flooding our homes this fall.
Brown marmorated stink bugs, characterized by the pungent smell they discharge when bothered or smashed, are mounting a fall invasion across much of the Atlantic United States. This summer’s record heat, which began earlier then usual and stretched through late September, aided in the stink bug’s strong resurgence. This extended summer heat allowed stink bugs to have two breeding cycles, which means they are poised to invade homes in record numbers.
During this home invasion, homeowners in states like Maryland, Iowa, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin will likely see a stink bug influx. The Mid-Atlantic States will see the most stink bug activity this fall. It’s not uncommon for a homeowner to see hundreds of these bugs clustered together inside a basement… A sight that tends to freak out most anybody.
Identifying Stink Bugs
Source: The Washington Times
Large Stink Bug Population Worries Fruit and Vegetable Farmers
Most people consider stink bugs to be a smelly pest problem, which simply requires the aid of a pest control professional to correct. The truth is stink bugs can be ruthless and devastating to crops. Farmers have reported that stink bugs destroy important food crops, like sweet peppers, corn, peaches, apples, soybeans, pears, grapes, berries, tomatoes and grapes.
The 2010 stink bug influx cost mid-Atlantic farmers $37 million, proving to be the most devastating year for apple crops damaged by the insect. Estimates of how much damage the stink bugs have done to this year’s crop are unavailable because the harvest has yet to be completed. What is known is that growers will need to spray more insecticides, even at the end of the growing season, to better protect their crop for the next year.
Officials at the United States Department of Agriculture have said that they are taking this stink bug problem very seriously, and that they are working hard to try and understand the most effective ways of controlling them.
What the Increase of Stink Bugs Means for Pest Control Operators
The National Pest Management Association has issued a warning to property owners that the stink bug population has increased, making infestations significantly worse this year. Because of the 60 percent stink bug population increase, pest control operators need to be prepared for an influx in stink bug related calls. Adjustments in sales and marketing efforts need to be made for the upcoming weeks, educating the public about stink bug control.
Pest professionals also need to be up to date on all the latest effective methods to best control these stinky and bothersome pests. New research has identified a pheromone that attracts male and female brown marmorated stink bugs. This pheromone has been synthesized and made available, perfect for stink bug traps.
Stink Bug Prevention for Homeowners
- Cover any vents, window, and doors with tight fitting screens.
- Seal up any holes, cracks, or that might allow stink bugs easy access into your home.
- If you do happen to get any of the bugs inside your home, vacuum them up with a shop-vac filled with hot soapy water. If using an upright vacuum, make sure it has a vacuum bag that is tightly sealed. Remember, do not crush the bugs or you will be smelling them.
- If the stink bug problem is persistent, contact a pest control professional.