If you’ve lived in Indiana for long, you’ve probably noticed stink bugs in or around your home a few times. Known for their “smelly” reputation, stink bugs aren’t dangerous to people, but can damage crops and cause a nuisance to homeowners. Here are a few things you need to know about stink bugs in Indiana.
Stink bugs are not native to North America.
In the mid-1990s, stink bugs were accidentally introduced to North America from their native home of Eastern Asia. Although they are not native to the United States, the climate in the U.S. is ideal for them to thrive. The first stink bug in the U.S. was collected in Pennsylvania in 1996, but not recognized or identified until 2001. Today, stink bugs – specifically the brown marmorated stink bug – have been identified in 44 states and the District of Columbia.
Stink bugs are mainly an agricultural pest.
While stink bugs are not dangerous to humans, they have certainly been known to damage crops. Japanese farmers have seen widespread damage to their soybean crops thanks to stink bugs. American farmers have been fighting the same damage since the 1990s. Stinkbugs not only damage soybeans, but also apples, green beans, cherries, and other crops.
Stink bugs can become a household pest in fall and winter.
During the fall, stink bugs often make their way into homes, garages, and other structures to escape the winter weather. Once they’ve found shelter, they will enter a state of hibernation to wait out the winter. On occasion, a warm snap during the winter can be enough to trick the bugs out of hibernation and into activity. When this happens, they fly around clumsily and may seem to fall out of nowhere. Needless to say, this can be startling to unsuspecting homeowners.
Stink bugs aren’t dangerous to humans, but they do stink.
Stink bugs earned their name from their tendency to release an odor when disturbed or crushed. This odor, often described as similar to that of cilantro, is a defense mechanism meant to protect them from predators such as birds or lizards. Fortunately, they present no known threat to humans, they are not dangerous, and they are not known to carry disease. However, anyone who has ever had stink bugs in their home knows what a nuisance they can be.
Stink bugs release a pheromone to attract other stink bugs to a suitable home.
When a brown marmorated stink bug finds a location that will be suitable for overwintering (say, your home or garage), it releases a chemical called an aggregation pheromone. Although humans cannot detect this pheromone, its scent attracts other stink bugs to the area. (As a note, this is not the same as the scent stink bugs release when disturbed.) Because of this pheromone, if you find just one stink bug in your home during the fall months, removing it as quickly as possible can help prevent the arrival of others.
Stink bug infestations in your home can be prevented.
Stink bugs typically enter homes through windows and door frames, chimneys, and other openings. Sealing the exterior of the home is often the best method of preventing stink bug infestations. Link other insects, stink bugs are attracted to light, so using outdoor light bulbs with colors less likely to attract them (orange, pink, and yellow) may be helpful if you are seeing heavy populations around your home. If you already have stink bugs inside your home, don’t smash them. Instead, you can remove them with your vacuum hose or flush them down the toilet to keep the smell from spreading. And if the stink bug population (or any pest) in your home is really causing a stink, give Yes Pest Pros a call today.