Brown marmorated stink bug control can be a little difficult. These bugs are responsible for blighting a good percentage of agricultural crops, causing farmers to become alarmed.
Exterior walls of houses appear to be alive as masses of the bugs crawl over them. People report killing hundreds – if not thousands – of them in their houses within a 24-hour period.
The bugs nestle in attics and crawlspaces, in clothing, inside beds, in toothbrushes and hairbrushes, and sundry other places, surprising some, unnerving others.
Stowing away on packing crates from their native Asian country, probably China or Japan, brown marmorated stink bugs were first identified in American shores in 1998, specifically in Allentown, in eastern Pennsylvania.
It is possible that they arrived several years earlier. For a decade, they existed pretty much undisturbed and un-disturbing.
Brown marmorated stink bugs, or halyomorpha halys, are members of the insect family Pentatomidae. Full-grown adults are 17mm – or around 5/8 of an inch – long and are almost as wide as they are long.
They come in various shades of brown. What makes them distinguishable from other stink bugs are the dark and light bands on their antennae. All stink bugs have hard, flat, shield-like covers on their backs called scutella, which serve as protection.
It is these body parts that result in their sometimes being called “shield bugs”. They get the appellation “stink bugs” because of the foul-smelling and bad-tasting fluid they excrete as a defense against predators.
Brown marmorated stink bugs feed on a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and even on crops such as cotton. They do not bite as they have no chewing mouthparts; instead they use their needle-like proboscis to pierce the outer surface of the plant and suck out its juice, leaving cosmetic damage to the host.
In most regions in the United States, adult bugs are active from early spring to late fall. During this period, they feed and mate, and the females lay eggs. The females lay neat clusters of between 30 to 100 eggs at a time.
In their native Asia, where the weather is warm, brown marmorated stink bugs can have four to six generations per year. In the United States, they typically lay eggs only once a year; however, an atypical warm and early spring and summer in 2010 allowed the bugs to produce two generations in some areas of the country.
The eggs hatch into nymphs, which go through five stages before they become full-grown adults. The onset of cold weather is a sign of brown marmorated stink bugs to begin to seek shelter from the cold.
By this time, the nymphs that were produced will have turned into adults that join their parents in the mass exodus from the great outdoors to the warm indoors.
Unlike other bugs that winter in piles of leaves and foliage, brown marmorated stink bugs seek warmth indoors. They congregate on exterior walls and work their way in through any openings that they can squeeze through.