Small, invasive, and smelly, the Stink Bug is one overwinter pest that is just plain unpleasant. One accidental swat of these little critters could leave a bitter stench in your nose and your home.

What exactly are Stink Bugs and how have they become such a pest problem for homeowners and farmers alike?

Here are some frequently asked questions about Stink Bugs.

The brown marmorated stink bug is a small bug that releases an extremely offensive odor when disturbed or crushed. An invasive species, these insects are originally from Eastern Asia, and were introduced to the states in the mid-1990s. In fact, they were first found locally, in Allentown, PA. They’ve since spread across the country, 44 states, and have been causing problems ever since.

Marmorated stink bugs are six-legged insects with a distinct “shield-like” shape. Typically, they can measure up to ¾ of an inch. These bugs are grayish-brown, and they have antennae. They do fly, and they keep their dark-banded wings folded when they are grounded. As invasive as they are, they tend to be silent, and unless you catch sight of one, you may never know they are there.

While stink bugs don’t cause any physical harm, they can be a nuisance to people, and a threat to fruit, plants, and gardens. These smelly insects are known as ‘overwintering’ pests; while they thrive outdoors in the warmer months, as the weather turns cold, the seek refuge inside. Anyone unlucky enough to bring one inside may walk into an unexpected swarm inside their home, or you might find them covering the sunny side of your house.

When not seeking out shelter, stink bugs are feeding off important crops, including fruit trees, which can severely threaten several crucial plant species. Since these insects are invasive, they have no natural predator, the infestations can grow quite large. With no way to control the population, stink bugs have become a huge problem.

Stink bugs can find their way inside simply by landing on your shirt before you walk in the house. They aren’t heavy, they move quietly, and sometimes it’s hard to notice they are there. Additionally, they can hitch a ride on several things you bring inside your home. They can hang out on outdoor decor, lawn furniture, or even come in on your grocery bags.

When they aren’t tagging along on your coat, they can get through much like any other pest. Drawn to light, they will sneak into open doors or windows, and they are tiny enough to fit in cracks, utility pipes, or any free opening they can sneak in.

Stink bugs emit a distinct odor as a way of protection; the stench acts as their defense mechanism. If they feel threatened or if you happen to squish them, you may be greeted by their unpleasant stench. The odor is like cilantro of a combination of heavy spices, and the stink can linger for hours.

Stink bugs, like most bugs, are set on a lifecycle. They mate, molt, feed, and repeat. Their mating season lasts from spring and lasts until late fall. During this period, they usually feed off of fruits, leaves, stems, and other plant life. Once cold weather starts, stink bugs begin to look for “warm places” to pass the winter. Often, you’ll find them hiding away in attics, walls, or in crawl spaces. If it gets warm enough, sometimes these insects will re-emerge too early.

No; stink bugs are more pest than dangerous. They do have mouthparts, much like a mosquito, but they don’t sting or bite. They don’t feed off blood and cannot physically bite humans or animals. Mainly, the danger in stink bugs lies in their taste for plants. Additionally, they don’t cause any home damage and they carry no diseases. However, they do stink quite a bit.

Stink bugs can create up to three generations per year depending on where they are located. If they are in a cold habitat, they may be limited one or two cycles, while warm habitats can produce three easily. Female stink bugs lay between 20 to 30 eggs at once, and usually between May and August. The females will lay their eggs beneath the leaves of host plants, and they will hatch within five days. Once hatched, the insects will undergo several molts before they become adults.

Usually, these insects prefer fruit such as apples, peaches, figs, mulberries, citrus fruits, corn, tomatoes, green peppers, and persimmons. Stink bugs will also eat soybeans and beans. Unfortunately, aside from eating crops, they can damage them permanently. Stink bugs can cause a distortion called “cat-facing,” which can render fruit unmarketable.

The best way to keep any bugs out is to stop them from getting in. Seal all possible entryways with caulking or screens. Take the time to do routine maintenance on doors and windows. Take care of any cracks, and be mindful of where bugs may be able to sneak in. Check all your items before bringing them inside the house, especially in the Fall.

Outdoors, keeping a clean yard is a good stink bug deterrent. Trim the grass, pull any weeds, and maintain your garden beds. Be sure to clear up any overgrowth to really discourage the stink bug population.

While not necessarily dangerous, a stink bug issue can still be a huge problem, especially if you are experiencing an overwhelming swarm. These invasive insects don’t have to be a problem. Take the steps to protect your home from these stinky intruders and fortify your home against overwintering pests.


Contact Us Today and Set Up a Free Pest Inspection!