Stink Bug Infestations and How to Control Them
One of the more common pests that homeowners have to deal with in the Pittsburgh area is the stink bug (a.k.a. box elder beetle). Although they are classified as an occasional or part-time invader and prefer an outdoor environment to thrive in, they will come indoors to escape the cold of the local frigid winters. Basically, they are attracted to the heat that is radiating out from your home as it ensures them of a safe spot for breeding.
Gaining Access to Your Home
Stink bugs typically gain access to your home through areas where the caulking has loosened up such as around your doors and windows. However, they will enter through cracks around the eaves and soffits, on the backside of your chimney, through cracked bricks, and through cracked mortar. Once they have entered the home, they hide in your attic, crawl spaces, and walls to keep warm.
Once springtime comes, they become active, begin moving around, and eventually start showing up in your living spaces. They typically start gathering on the walls or windows in an effort to return outdoors. This can be very upsetting for homeowners when they find stink bugs inside the house. Furthermore it is their unpleasant odor that they are known for, especially when you smash or squash them, as well as their size that makes them such an unwelcome pest to deal with.
Like so many other insects, the stink bug likes to feed on fruits and vegetables. Some of its favorites include apples, blackberries, corn, green peppers, lima beans, peaches, soybeans, and tomatoes. They first pierce the skin in order to get at the juice inside the fruit or vegetable. Once they are done feeding, they simply leave, but the damage has been done. As the fruit or vegetable continues growing, a cat-faced scar develops on the surface. Growers can detect them by the damage they inflict upon their crops.
Reproduction and Infestation
During the summertime, the female will lay up to 30 eggs and secure them on the underside of the leaves on the plant she selects as the host for her nest. Within 4 to 5 days, the eggs begin hatching and the nymphs begin feeding immediately. By fall, they have undergone several molts and have become adults. Infestations of stink bugs are typically detected during the fall when they invade in mass. They usually accumulate on the sunny side of your home in order to warm themselves, all the time searching for a way to gain access to the inside.
On a closing note, the key to avoiding an invasion of these pests is by fixing those areas where they can gain access (see above under “Gaining Access to Your Home”). But the best way to eradicate them and keep them from invading your home in the future is to hire an experienced, local pest control service.