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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Where Did All the Stink Bugs Come From, and How Can I Fix the Problem??

By JC Leahy

I’m not talking about Progressive Democrats; if I could fix that problem, I’d be a national hero. I’m talking about those ugly little, brown, shield-shaped bugs that are now, or soon will be, bothering you in your home. When I was a child, the infestation that captured our attention was the Japanese Beetle. Japanese Beetles were everywhere, eating the neighbors' roses and other garden plants, and bothering farmers to no end. Japanese beetles had two redeeming traits: (1) they didn’t want to come into your house, and (2) they made great fishing bait. The infestation of the 2010’s is the Stink Bug.

Like Japanese beetles, stink bugs came from Asia. They came from Korea or China, probably in an agricultural shipment, in the mid or late 1990’s. Since their arrival, they have multiplied remarkably in the Mid-Atlantic region, absent whatever predators keep them in check in Asia. Like Japanese Beetles, stink bugs eat crops: fruits such as apples, peaches, citrus crops, and soybeans – as well as ornamental plants you might have in your landscaping or garden. Some Maryland farmers have reported losing as much as 20 percent of their crops to stink bugs.  Like Japanese Beetles, stink bugs are resistant to pesticides.

Unlike Japanese Beetles, stink bugs want to infest your house. They are attracted to light.  Your household lighting system says, “Welcome Stink Bugs!!  ENTER HERE!!”   This goes for grounds lighting, too.  If you light it, they will come. If they come, they will enter through any opening. They can come around and through your window air conditioners, kitchen vent fans, dryer fan, attic vent, or any other opening in the exteior of the house.  This is particularly true in the autumn as they seek to escape the cooler temperatures.  There are MANY of them.  The photo at the right shows a handful I just scooped off the windowsill here in front of my desk. (Fortunately all of these are dead, becaue my insect fogger did the job!)  They won’t damage your belongings, but they will fly around your rooms with a loud buzzing that is impossible to ignore. They also smell. And if you upset them, they stink – hence the name.

How Can I Get Rid of Stink Bugs?

Prepare Yourself: Like the Federal Deficit, Experts Expect Stink Bug Population to Soon Explode!

Here’s your strategy: Turn out your house lights at night during late summer and autumn. Remove window air conditioners and close the windows. Check your weather stripping and caulking. Every now and then use bug bombs (insect foggers) in the attic.  The attic may be a stink bug's point of first entry. You can also use bug bombs in living spaces when the situation warrants, but not while you're there; that would make a silly headline, wouldn't it?  My experience is, and the literature confirms, that with stink bugs many or most insecticide foggers DO NOT work. I’ll provide links to insect foggers that work.  (It is best to select a fogger that contains pyrethrum, a relatively safe insecticed made of natural ingredients.)  Turn out the lights. Buy insect foggers and use them.  Seal your house. Repeat: Seal your house.  Where possible, vacuum up the stink bugs and empty the canister right away to avoid stink.  And on November 2, be a hero and take out the trash.




Cheers! 

Further Reading:

Fox News On Stink Bugs

JC Leahy on Health Care Reform

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Clauida said...

I heard on the radio that if you crush a stink bug it will send a distress call and other stink bugs will come looking for the stink bug you just killed!

JC Leahy said...

Well, Claudia, I can tell you that I have read that stink bugs are attracted to their own smell. Since the smell can be lingering, this can lead to worsening infestations from year to year.

JC Leahy said...

Here's a useless stink bug factiod: If you eat them, stink bugs are rich in vitamin B2

Anonymous said...

My boss's husband said he used dawn dish liquid and rubbing alcohol mixed it in a squirt bottle and started squirting them, and they just started dropping.

Anonymous said... of my moms friends said that he killed a stinkbug...and the stinkbugs mate started attacking him!!!

jordyn said...

so i killed a stink bug and it was still moving so i flushed it down the toilet and since i did that stink bugs flew out of the toilet.!! its really gross.:p

Andrea said...

A friend shared this link with me. It has directions for how to make a stink bug trap. Fortunately for me, there are few stink bugs on the 13th floor!