As temperatures cool in the fall, it isn’t uncommon to see an increase in insects and arachnids inside our living spaces. While nobody likes to talk about it, we have all seen a cockroach in our home. Even the occasional spider. The really concerning critters are the odd ones we can’t readily identify—such as stink bugs, for example. What are stink bugs? Can they hurt me? Why are they in my home? How do I get rid of them?
What Are Stink Bugs?
Stink bugs are gray/brown, shield-shaped insects. Native to the Asian continent, they were introduced to the United States accidentally, with their presence being first identified in the late 90’s. While Asia and North America seem far apart, they sit a similar distance from the equator, meaning the climates are similar. This allows species like the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug to succeed and proliferate in our climate.
Their primary source of food are leaves and fruits. In large populations, they can create enough damage to decrease yields in certain agricultural crops. While not terribly common, a large enough population could cause injury in a residential garden or landscape.
Can Stink Bugs Hurt Me?
The short answer is No. Insects typically cause injury to people or pets in one of two ways: biting or stinging. Stink bugs aren’t capable of causing injury in either of these ways. They have piercing-sucking mouthparts, meaning they pierce their food source. Fortunately, they can’t pierce your skin, and they have no interest in doing so. Also, stink bugs don’t possess a stinger.
The only discomfort they can provide is from an odor they produce and excrete from glands on the underside of their bodies. Stink bugs generally release this odor as a threat response, and if you’ve ever smelled it, you will avoid crushing or frightening them at any cost.
Why Are Stink Bugs in My House?
Stink bugs come inside for the same reasons cockroaches, spiders, and ants do. It’s getting cold outside, and they need somewhere to hang out until it warms up again. In nature, they will find a cozy spot in a crack or behind the bark of a tree trunk to nestle down in. If they’re lucky, they will find a nice toasty house while they are searching.
How Do I Get Rid of Stink Bugs?
Removing stink bugs is a fairly straightforward process. Calmly pick them up and place them outside to avoid triggering their odorous stress response. Don’t crush them, or they will release the stench. If the idea of touching them is just too much for you, vacuuming them is an alternative, but this will likely crush them and make the inside of your vacuum smell unpleasant. For these reasons, the best defense is a good offense.
To avoid a stink bug encounter in your home:
- Make sure the cracks and crevices around your house are sealed. This includes door jambs and window sills.
- While they won’t feed on crumbs like ants or roaches do, stink bugs do need water. Be sure to remove sources of free water.
- Hire a pest control professional like your friends at Nature’s Turf. Quarterly pest control not only establishes a barrier of protection for your home but also enables us to help identify and circumvent issues. For more information, give us a call at (770) 637-7515 or send us an email at email@example.com.