This article by Christine Gelley was originally published in The Journal on January 16, 2017.
The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is causing frustration for home owners and farmers across America. These shielded, flying, stout, and brown insects are thought to have invaded the US from Asia in the mid-90s. Since the first one was positively identified in 2001 by Penn State they have spread across the country and now pose threats worth $21 billion to specialty food crops annually. They cause damage to many food crops including fruits, vegetables, and grains.
There are many different kinds of less common stink bugs in our region that including beneficial, predatory stink bugs. This past week I identified a type of stink bug I hadn’t seen before that was collected from a Noble County home after the holidays. It was distinctly different from the BMSB and turned out to be the twice-stabbed stink bug. Stink bugs do not create structural damage to homes, nor are they a problem if consumed by pets, and they do not bite. However, they are a severe annoyance and threat to American commodities. Damage from the BMSB sends a significant amount of valuable fresh fruits and vegetables to be processed and canned, instead of marketed whole and fresh each year. It is the BMSB that is most likely causing you distress at home this winter.
They enter your home in search of a place to overwinter until Spring. Their large size and ability to fly long distances makes it difficult to ignore their presence. They persistently enter homes through any crack or crevice they can fit through. Pesticides are unnecessary and generally ineffective tools for home control. The best way to keep stink bugs out, is to eliminate their way in by sealing cracks, door frames, windows, and utility access areas in your home. If you have them in your home, don’t be ashamed. Everyone does. Don’t let them get cozy. Find them. Sweep them up with a vacuum. Catch them in a pheromone trap. Drop them in soapy water. Freeze them. Smash them. Compost them. Whatever you prefer, stop them in their tracks. What serves as your annoyance this winter will become a severe agricultural pest this spring.
For addition information about the impact of the brown marmorated stink bug and efforts to control it visit: www.StopBMSB.org.