Stink bugs are called as such because they emit a pungent odor when they get disturbed or feel threatened (similar to skunks), or when their bodies are crushed. Descriptions of this odor vary widely, with some describing the smell as dusty, earthy, woody, oily, or like coriander. If you detect a coriander-like scent in your home and you don’t know where it’s coming from, it’s possible you may have a stink bug infestation. In some species of stink bugs, this defensive pungent spray contains cyanide compounds with a rancid almond scent.
The stink bug is also commonly referred to as a shield bug due to shape of its body.
There are more than 200 kinds of these bugs that call North America their home, and their diet consists of plants, crops, and fruits, and are usually a pest to owners of gardens and farmsthough they will also nest in homes especially during winter time, often staying hidden in walls or in quiet places inside your house until spring when they become more active again.
The most common type of stink bug is the Brown MarmoratedStink Bug. It is an invasive species and is found in 44 states (and the District of Columbia) throughout the US. It’s a mottled grayish-brown and is ¾ of an inch long. It has 6 legs splayed outward that makes it look larger, 2 straight antennae, and is triangular in shape. They have wings that stay folded, so it’s easy to miss that adult stink bugs are actually pretty good flies (nymphs do not have fully developed wings).
They are not known to cause structural damage nor do they carry diseases dangerous to humans and pets, but they are destructive to agriculture and an infestation of stink bugs also mean more food for other pests that feed on them (spiders, birds, bats, and parasitic flies to name a few).
A DIY approach for getting rid of stink bugs would be vacuuming them or leaving trays with soapy water (this mixture kills them and leaves no defensive spray for you to deal with). You can also spray them with it directly. Regularly vacuuming not only clears your house of dust and debris, but a number of other pests (such as stink bugs) get sucked in too. Squish them only as a last resort, as the stench they release lingers for some time.
To help make sure stink bugs don’t get in your home, inspect your property and seal off any cracks and crevices on your walls. Install window screens and use weather strips on doors. Make sure to install screens on any outside vent too. These not only deter stink bugs, but a myriad of other pests as well.
Regularly check your property every 3 months to reseal cracks and crevices and repair screens.
If you have a stink bug infestation, or need help getting rid of other pests, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a pest control company for assistance!