Winter Invasion of Stink Bugs

It’s just January 2014 and we’ve received a lot of emails about stink bugs inside the homes of people from Northeastern, Midwestern, and other scattered parts of the United States. The bugs have definitely felt the sting of the winter cold, just as we have, and are seeking warm environments. What better place to hunker down than a well-heated home!

If you’ve noticed a recent stink bug infestation and want to stop the pests from further invading your home we have a few tips for you.

  • Remove any foliage or other debris nearby your home. Stink bugs are inclined to gather in piles of leaves, firewood, or anything else you have built into a pile. It’s only a short move from those piles to the warmth of your home.
  • Caulk and seal your windows, door frames, and any other access points to your home. Stink bugs are masters at finding a way inside your house. Sealing everything as tightly as possible will definitely help keep them out!
  • Use a stink bug repellent near doors and windows opposed to a stink bug trap which only attracts more stink bugs to the perimeter of your home.

Repelling and Killing Stink Bugs

One product we recommend and have tested is Stink Bug Repel. We found this spray to be the best way to repel and control stink bugs at home. It uses a combination of bitter ingredients that stink bugs find unattractive and cause them to seek shelter elsewhere. Which is a fantastic alternative to emptying foul smelling traps or having your home invaded and then having to kill the bugs.

Stink Bug Control

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Stink Bug Eggs

The Department of Agriculture, farmers, and just about everyone else in the United States has found out that stink bugs are extremely difficult to control. Pesticides are often ineffective because the bug pierces a fruit or vegetable and avoids the poison. Even if the pesticides do kill the stink bugs currently feeding, it’s likely that another wave of the pests will follow closely behind and find crops that are free of the poisons used to kill the first wave.

Natural predators, such as wasps and certain birds are increasingly attacking the stink bug and may consider it a food source. Protecting crops is usually done with a combination of trapping and spraying pesticides. For stink bug control in the home there are a number of sprays and traps available. Most of them kill the pest, but do very little to repel the bugs from in and around your home.

What Stink Bugs Eat and Damage

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Stink bugs feeding on an apple and destroying it

Stink bugs eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Orchards and other clusters of fruits and vegetables are all vulnerable to the invading bug that can destroy an entire season’s crops. The stink bug pierces the skin of what it’s feeding on, leaving damage or even causing the fruit or veggie’s death. It quite literally sucks the life out of anything it feeds on!

Stink Bug Bites and Defenses

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Brown Marmorated Stink Bug – Halyomorpha halys

Most everyone fears an insect bite, especially one from an insect that looks as though it’s ready for war with its shield-like shape. Fortunately, the brown marmorated stink bug neither bites, nor stings. Its only defense is releasing the pungent odor that brought about its name.

There are no known diseases caused by the release of the foul-smelling odor. More of an annoyance, the defense chemicals may irritate those with sensitivity to strong odors. The stink bug releases its awful smell when it feels threatened or once it’s killed. The odor may linger long after the removal of the pest.

Stink Bug Invasion

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Common Stink Bug Infestation

Stink bugs are invading our homes in record numbers! With the cold weather in October, and now November 2013, stink bugs have started seeking shelter in masses. Unfortunately, the best shelter available in both quality, and quantity, are houses and other building structures. Huge home infestations that number in the  hundreds have been reported. That is unsettling to say the least! Even worse, instead of entering into a state of hibernation as per the norm, the warm temperatures inside our living areas cause the stink bug to remain active.

The increase in stink bug population is at least in part due to an unusually warm spring and fall in the year 2010. The unusual weather allowed the stink bugs to deliver an added two generations. Want more bad news? Today’s stink bugs are living longer than previous generations. Adults that may have died off before their eggs hatched are now living to see their offspring mature.

2014 May See Record Numbers of Stink Bugs

The stink bug population in 2014 will depend on a number of factors. One of which is how cold of a fall and winter we have during 2013. If a prolonged warm period would occur, stink bug numbers in 2014 could be off the charts and the worst year yet! It gives us all a good reason not to be so depressed about the cold.

With stink bugs already confirmed in 40 of the 50 states, it’s only a matter of time before they creep their way into the remaining 10, if they haven’t already. By the spring and summer of 2014, we could have a nationwide infestation that will cause millions of dollars in fruit and vegetable crop losses. Not to mention an increase in stink bug home invasions!

You will probably know ahead of time whether or not 2014 will see rises in stink bug numbers. If that warm period does hit the U.S., the stink bugs hiding away underneath the siding of your house, around your windows, and in vegetation close to your home, will wake from their dormant stage and start buzzing around your home. This awakening may lead to an additional generation of stink bugs.

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