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By: Jasna Aleksandrova

Have you ever experienced the noxious smell of stink bugs? Did the smell make you gag and clear the room? If you live close to fruit, soy or bean farms, it is very likely that you have encountered these agricultural pests since these foods are their favorite. Even if you don’t live near a farm, stink bugs are a common sight in Virginia. They usually live in holes in the ground, but they can easily migrate within your warm home during winter time.

How to recognize stink bugs?

All stink bugs (Halyomorpha haly) have a shield-shaped body with brownish, grey or greenish color. They range from 1/2 of an inch to 2/3 of an inch in length. They lay their light green colored eggs on the underside of leaves. It doesn’t seem to matter which kind of plant they lay their eggs on.

How to keep stink bugs away?

Stink bugs are fairly new to the United States, originating from Asia within the last 20 or so years. They have risen in numbers within recent years, which means that they like it here in the States and are here to stay. It is common knowledge that stink bugs freeze if left outside in cold weather. Will the freezing temperatures of our past winter kill them all?  No, stink bugs will manage to survive, probably by hiding in warm homes or crawlspaces.

To get rid of stink bugs, you need to fill the cracks and spaces around your house, by using caulk, spray foam, weather stripping and screen. If you have kids, make sure that they are closing the doors when they are running in and out of the house to play in the nicer weather that we are having this spring.

If you feel that you have an excessive number of stink bugs in your home, it’s best to call an exterminator to treat them properly. Even if you do a good job with sealing the cracks in your home, a few of these little bugs can manage to make it into your house. If you see a stink bug in your home, cover your hand with a plastic bag or towel, and carefully pick the bug up. Do not squeeze it, unless you want your house to stink! Dispose of the bug immediately, because it will release the awful smell if it senses danger. You can dispose of it in the toilet, but you do have a risk of smelling up the place until it’s actually flushed. If you notice a smell, you can spray odor neutralizer or air freshener and wash your hands with nice smelling soap.

If touching the bugs is too much for you, even with the plastic bag on your hands, then vacuuming is another solution. Just make sure not to open the vacuum bag and get rid of it right away. If you have a canister vacuum cleaner, just empty it immediately into a trash bag and take it outside. You can also use on-the-spot insecticide treatment to act immediately after seeing a stink bug. If you are using insecticides by yourself be sure to use it with care and be mindful that insecticides are toxic.

Jacobs, Steve, Sr. “Brown Marmorated Stink Bug – Entomology (Penn State University).” Entomology (Penn State University). Pennsylvania State University, Jan. 2014. Web. 15 May 2014.

EPA. “Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 23 July 2012. Web. 15 May 2014.

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