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September 9, 2015
You can make many assumptions about an animal from its name. Groundhogs typically live underground. Red-tailed hawks have reddish tail feathers. And stink bugs, well, they fight off predators by releasing a nasty, noxious odor.
Aside from making us hold our noses though, stink bugs can cause agricultural difficulties. When they emerge from hibernation in early May, stink bugs attack gardens, farms, and wineries, feasting on fruits and vegetables – including local grapes, tomatoes, corn, and soybeans. They don’t damage homes or buildings structurally, but they can sure be a nuisance for homeowners.
However, before discussing stink bugs in the present day, it’s important to understand the history of these odiferous pests.
Native to China, Japan, and other Asian countries, stink bugs, experts hypothesize, came to America as stowaways on packing crates. They were first discovered in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1998, but could have been in America for a few months or years before that. What we do know, though, is that they won’t be leaving anytime soon.
Stink bugs can now be found in almost every state in the union and many Canadian provinces. Since they have no natural predators in North America, the stink bug population continues to soar robustly. In fact, the stink bug population grew by 60% in 2012, according to Michael Ruapp, entomology professor at the University of Maryland.
Since their accidental introduction into the American ecosystem, stink bugs have been a smelly nuisance in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. In fact, the largest concentration of stink bugs in the world can be found in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia region.
At the end of the summer, stink bugs seek warmth, and travel en masse indoors. They attack homes and structures by entering under siding, into soffits, around window and door frames, through chimneys, and in any other space with large enough openings to fit through. They are attracted to places that mimic the peeling bark of dead oak and locust trees of their natural habitats, which is why they’re most likely to be found in attics. Given the chance, they’ll stay inside your home until the weather warms up again in May
Stink bugs tend to travel in packs, and a home infested by stink bugs could have anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand stink bugs present. Though stink bugs aren’t damaging in the way that termites or rodents might be, they are still a nuisance, and every one of them is a ticking time bomb. If they remain dormant all winter, stink bugs will try to leave your home in the spring and come out into your living space, where they typically gather on walls and windows. Disturbing one stink bug could cause it to spray your home with its foul-smelling stench. Even worse, disturbing one bug could cause them all to panic and release their vile odor.
The best time to fight stink bugs is before they become a problem in the fall. However, despite the time of year, Connor’s extermination experts can locate hibernating stink bugs and utilize environmentally friendly products to control the situation. This includes finding, assessing, and patching up suspected entry points.
Keep your home safe and your nose even safer this fall. Reach out to us if you suspect you have a stink bug problem.