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Stink Bug Invasion: Are you Prepared this Winter?

The Boston area is at risk of stink bugs this winter, so especially if you've seen them gathered in large numbers around your home or car, it's time for some pest management, and we have the household solutions you can employ right in your Boston area home.

Facts and Misconceptions

Species

  • The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys
  • The almost identical cousin stink bug, Euschistus servus

The first of these is considered an invasive species to North America, introduced to the United States in the 1990s and discovered in Pennsylvania in the early 2000s. The brown marmorated variety likely originated from East Asian countries, possibly China or Japan. The second variety, which is virtually identical in almost every way except for a few minor morphological details, is native to the American continent and enjoys identical food sources.

Primary Problems Stink Bugs Pose

In a nutshell, no, but peruse these important details to help you remain informed about their risks and dangers:

  • Odor

When mishandled or threatened, these bugs produce an extremely undesirable odor, something like the insect version of skunks. There is a good reason these congregate in such extreme numbers in late fall and early winter: they taste terrible, so few insect predators risk eating them. Avoid crushing them, since their insides can leave a stain difficult to remove from siding and most fabrics.

  • Bite

Good news: these critters don't bite because their mandibles are suited by evolution to power through leaves, fruits, and other plant components. There may exist some small chances of a nip from one of them if mishandled, but they are herbivores and aren't aggressive.

  • Diseases

More good news: these stinky nuisance pests don't carry diseases communicable to humans, so no matter what contact you make with them, no diseases, unlike cockroaches or mosquitoes, though if your dog or cat eats several at once, they may vomit or experience some other disagreeable reaction. If this happens to your pet, call a vet right away.

  • Allergens

Some people may react to the smell they make or, when bitten, the bite could swell too large or cause some other allergic reaction. If this happens to you or a loved one, seek medical attention immediately.

Bug Cuisine

As herbivores, they only feed on plants and nothing else, which is another reason they are considered a nuisance pest when they arrive in their hundreds and eat crops or ornamental plants in the yard. Here are a few of their favorite foods:

  • Berries
  • Corn
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Decorative Plants and Trees

What Do They Do and What are Their Habits?

  • Diapause

Think of this as a hibernation for insects: their natural body functions slow down and they can't reproduce during winter. They gather in huge numbers during late fall and look for a place to hole up over winter, hence their common classification as "overwintering pests."

  • Staying Alive

Stink bugs have few natural predators because of their nasty stink and gross-tasting body fluids, which is why huge numbers gather around buildings and vehicles in the fall.

  • Be a General Nuisance

Because there are so many, they don't have diseases, and they don't bite, they are considered a nuisance pest more than anything, and what a pest they are! There are plenty of things you can do to get rid of them with

Get Rid of Stink Bugs: Household Stink Bug Control

Extensive Infestation Warning

If gigantic amounts of these have entered your home, they will crawl out of outlets, light fixtures, air ducts, and no matter what you do, they just keep coming back. No matter what, do not try to get rid of a major infestation on your own because over-the-counter pesticides will leave the insect carcasses inside the walls and force them deeper inside.

Household Control Methods

As long as the infestation isn't extremely major, the best ways of preventing stink bugs from coming into your house and killing stink bugs are to block entry points to your home, reduce attractions, and a few simple things you can add to a regular routine.

Use these methods for your shed and garage as well:

    1. Stop Them Coming Inside

Use silicone caulking to seal and repair cracks and crevices around doors and windows, foundation and sill plates, and cracked mortar. Install and maintain weather strips and door sweeps on the outside of your Boston home for the most obvious entry points.

    2. Remove Common Stink Bug Attractions

Your landscaping is a prime spot to get them to come, so trim shrubbery at least one foot from the house siding, and cut the grass short at least two feet from the house and collect fallen fruit, leaves, and tree limbs. Firewood or compost piles should be at least 20 feet from the house and on a platform raised at least one foot off the ground.

Inside the house, remember to turn off porch lights and cover the windows to keep the light from attracting them. Keep your attic, basement, and crawl space free of moisture, and repair leaky pipes or other

    3. Do It Yourself Control
  • To avoid stains, do not squish stink bugs
  • Mix dish soap and water and spray the soapy water on groups for contact kill
  • Suck them up in the vacuum cleaner, and always freeze the bag before discarding
  • Rub dryer sheets on windows and screens, as this is a reportedly effective deterrent also
  • Manage Stink Bugs | Fox Pest Control

    Stink bugs are a nuisance pest that won't stop coming, but neither will we: Our licensed, friendly Pest Pro Technicians will employ our Home Protection Plan with our commercial-grade products to get rid of them, so call today to restore your peace of mind.

    Posted on December 13, 2019.

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