What Caused The Pittsburgh Stink Bug Outbreak
I have been in the exterminating industry for 25 years now. I never saw a stink bug until 2011 or 2012. They came out of nowhere, one day we didn’t have them and the next we were polluted. I can remember the first year of the outbreak, people’s home were literally covered with them. They seemed to be everywhere.
The stink bugs that invaded western Pennsylvania are the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. They were accidentally brought into the united states in shipping containers from either China or Japan. They were first discovered in Allentown Pennsylvania in 1998. Allentown is about a four-hour drive from Pittsburgh, so we are right in the heart of the invasion. The problem with stink bugs being smuggled into America is we have the perfect climate for their reproduction, and they have no natural predators in the United States.
In Japan and China there is a parasitic wasp that keeps the population in check, but without something to keep their numbers down their population will explode. This is the reason for Pittsburgh’s outbreak. They had 12 years of reproduction under their belt and when they hit Pittsburgh, they hit hard. The female stink bug can lay 400 eggs per year which is about 5000 eggs over the course of twelve years. That is for just one stink bug, so you can imagine the number figuring ever stink bug can lay that many eggs per year.
The stink bug outbreak lasted for about five years, but they have seemed to die down. Scientists believe they are just migrating out of the Pittsburgh area on their way west. Honestly, I don’t care where they went, I am just glad they are not around Pittsburgh anymore.