Along with warmer temperatures and blooming flowers, spring brings the much-maligned brown marmorated stink bugs out of hiding and likely hanging on a window or door screen as they try to make it outside. Last fall they crawled into your home and now that it’s spring, the super stinky when squished bugs are emerging.
Stink bugs don’t sting or bite, and they don’t belong here — they hitchhiked into the United States, likely in shipping containers from China, Japan and Korea. They decimate the fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants with their piercing and sucking mouthparts. Stink bugs aren’t particularly picky eaters, but they do like crops like sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes, grapes, raspberries, peaches and apples.
Stink bugs – given the apt nickname because of the musty scent they emit when frightened or squashed by people – are very active in the fall as they try to worm their way into your house and head toward the attic and nest in old newspapers or clothes. In the springtime, they will emerge and venture outside to find food and mate. This is why you will often see stink bugs on or around windows.
You’ve probably seen stink bugs crawling on your screens or fluttering around your house’s windows. You can’t crush them, because they expel that nasty smell as a defense.
The Chinese praying mantis, which loves to dine on stink bug eggs, is slowly obliterating the region’s population of invasive stink bugs, Dr. Michael Raupp, a University of Maryland entomologist known as The Bug Guy, said last spring.
“I think our indigenous good guys here have put the beat down on stink bugs, and I think homeowners and gardeners will enjoy better vegetables and fewer stink bug problems in their gardens this year,” Raupp told WTOP.
Stink bugs, which have a brown, shield-like body, were first discovered in Allentown, PA in 2001, according to a University of Maryland entomology bulletin. They feed on fruit trees, ornamental plants, vegetables and legumes, and are common throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, especially in the fall, according to experts.
Here are ten ways to get rid of stink bugs:
- Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the bugs.
- Cut the top of a half gallon or gallon jug, fill it with soapy water and use a piece of cardboard or a napkin to whisk the bugs into the water, which will drown them.
- Seal up cracks around windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping. – UMD Home and Garden Information Center.
- Take out window-unit air conditioners; stink bugs can easily get through these. – UMD HGIC.
- Plant or move fruit trees and vegetable gardens, especially tomato plants, away from your home to prevent stink bugs from landing on the exterior of your home. –UMD HGIC.
- Squish stink bugs outdoors–the odor warns other stink bugs to flee. – Bayer Advanced insect control.
- Hang a stink bug trap outside your house to catch them. – UMD Bug Guy, Mike Raupp, YouTube.
- Hang a damp towel outside your home overnight. In the morning, stink bugs will blanket…