Residents in mid-Atlantic states should prepare for stink bugs seeking warmth inside homes, Western Pest Services entomologists say.
PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Experts from Western Pest Services warn that homeowners should act now to protect their homes from stink bugs this winter. Western experts point out that while early fall is when stink bugs begin seeking indoor shelter, many service calls come well into October after stink bugs have already invaded homes and businesses seeking overwintering sites.
“Now is the time to take action and protect your homes,” said Phil Pierce, entomologist and technical services manager for Western Pest Services. “As temperatures drop, the likelihood that this bug will seek refuge in your home increases. If you see one, you likely have many more that may not be seen. Preventing this pest’s access to your home or businesses is critical, as once they find their way inside, stink bugs are very difficult to eradicate.”
When the weather starts to cool around mid- to late-September or early October, the brown marmorated stink bug flies onto the exterior of homes and businesses seeking entrance to buildings to overwinter. Stink bugs do not reproduce after they enter homes and businesses in the fall. Instead, stink bugs remain relatively inactive inside these buildings until the weather warms and it is time to reemerge, typically from mid-April to mid-June. Stinky odor aside, these pests are not indicative of poor sanitation and do not transmit disease to humans or pets.
“While stink bugs do not pose a direct threat to humans, they can be a major nuisance if they find their way inside your home,” said Pierce. “Reduction is the best prevention for this pest. That’s why it’s important to seal any possible entry points and work with pest management professionals to perform stink bug control treatments before the cold weather arrives. Late summer and early fall is the best time to safeguard your home from this invader.” Common entry points for these smelly pests include small cracks and crevices around air conditioning units, chimneys, attic vents, door and window frames, and gaps or holes in the foundation.
Named for the unpleasant odor that is released when they sense danger or are crushed, brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) have spread rapidly since they first arrived in Allentown, Pa., in the mid-1990s. Originally from Southeast Asia, the stink bug has quickly become a major nuisance throughout the mid-Atlantic states expanding its range from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. To date, this species of stink bug is found in all states east of the Mississippi River.
Western Pest Service experts offer these tips to help you reduce the effect of stink bugs:
1. Use caulk and other sealant compounds to seal stink bug entry points such as cracks around windows, doors, siding and chimneys.
2. Repair or replace damaged screens to prevent easy stink bug access.
3. Install weather stripping and door sweeps to the windows and doors of your home.
4. Use a vacuum to remove live and dead stink bugs that are already indoors. Avoid crushing the bug. When crushed, stink bugs emit a pungent odor that can remain in your home for hours. Use a vacuum that is “dedicated” to stink bug removal.
5. When practical, remove vegetation from around the exterior of your home. Stink bugs will often use vegetation as staging sites and feeding sites prior to entering the home seeking places to overwinter.
To help educate the public, Western Pest Services recently published an infographic covering the history and habits of the stink bug. Click here to learn more.