Stink bugs belong to an entire family of insects and while there are many different types of them, the kind that homeowners often have problems with is known as the brown marmorated stink bug, or Halyomorpha hayls. Though they are docile creatures by nature, they can become pests when found indoors, especially in outdoor living areas.
What Are They?
The brown marmorated stink bug is easily recognizable by its shape which resembles a shield as wide as it is long. The brown color appears to be marbled, hence the name marmorated. Adults reach about 15mm long, give or take, so they are actually quite small insects. The juveniles, known as nymphs, are even smaller. These appear yellow with red eyes. Of course, many homeowners know what they are immediately because of their unpleasant yet characteristic odor. They also reproduce quickly, making them difficult to control these stinky pests without professional help once inside the house.
What Do They Eat and Where Do They Live?
Stink bugs are known for feeding on vegetation, so they will likely first appear in gardens or even in thick lawns. They especially like apples, peaches, tomatoes and even green peppers, though they feed on corn, too. They have a piercing part to their mouths that allows them to penetrate the skin of fruits and vegetables, but once they have finished feeding, the fruit or vegetable continues to grow. Homeowners may notice scars on apples or tomatoes that resemble a cat’s face; this is the trademark of a stink bug “bite”.
Are They Bothersome to People?
Stink bugs are not aggressive and the largest of them is two centimeters at most. What’s more, even though some species are known predators, they will only attack other insects – never humans. However, they can become bothersome because they reproduce quickly and can grow in number very rapidly. When they feel threatened, they emit a very distinct odor that is unpleasant, to say the least. Homeowners can use a vacuum to attempt to remove them, but in many cases this never truly solves the problem at its source and leaves the vacuum cleaner with a terrible stench when it is used in the future.
How to Get Rid of Them
Although the vacuum method may work for the short term, the best way to get rid of stink bugs is with the help of a professional pest control service. These individuals can help to assess the numbers in the home and determine the best ways to eradicate them. In many cases, insecticides are used inside the home as well as around the perimeter of the home to kill any insects that are present and to discourage them from reentering the home. Some other precautions include sealing off windows and doors with caulk, protecting vents in attics and crawlspaces with screens or mesh, and using materials to ensure that the gaps beneath outside doors have all been sealed.
Though stink bugs can certainly be a smelly nuisance, they pose no imminent threat to people. While prevention is the best cure for any infestation, homeowners who have seen these insects in their home will get the most benefit from contacting a professional pest control service.