A STINKING PROBLEM: THE BROWN MARMORATED STINK BUGS
Do you smell something that stinks inside your house, and you do not know where it is coming from after checking all nook and crannies inside your home? It could be an acrid yet sweet-smelling scent; or ascent of a very sour, fermenting apple. If you own a garden outside your house, then it is possible that stink bugs have found their way inside your home.
Stink bugs are not really very common household pests. People are more familiar with mosquitoes, cockroaches, moths, and ants. Stink bugs are just the same: unwelcome guests who can be such a nuisance to all of us.
There are many types of stink bugs, and all have different qualities. Some are invasive, while some are non-invasive. Its name comes from the fact that they tend to emit an odor when they are disturbed, threatened, or crushed. The type of stink bugs that give homeowners the fits is what is known as the brown marmorated stink bug.
Overview of the brown marmorated stink bug
The brown marmorated stink bug is of foreign origin. It was first discovered to be in the United States in the middle of the 1990s, having come from Eastern Asia. It is native to China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. It is known to be an invasive species. It was actually first seen in Pennsylvania in 1996 but was not properly identified until 2001. Since then, it has spread to many other parts of the U.S., including North Carolina.
Like many other pests that are not native to America, the marmorated stink bugs came to this country most probably by hitching a ride in packing crates or machinery.
These insects are oval-shaped bugs that are usually 2 cm in length. They are often described as shield-like insects. Their width is of the same size as their length. They have legs that extend from their sides. The color of their bodies is brown with lighter bands on the antennae and dark bands on the wings. This distinguishes them from other native species that have the same color. Compared to They release chemicals that stink as self-defense when they feel that they are in danger to discourage predators from attacking. They can be such a nuisance because of their odor. These chemicals come from glands located at the thorax.
Stink bugs can fly because they have wings. These wings are folded when not flying. They are garden pests because they feed on garden plants and crops. They feed on fleshy fruits but can eat just about any kinds of plants. This causes damage to crops, which could lead to early decay and spoilage and discoloration. They can also sneak inside homes, wherein they become nuisance pests.
The word “marmorated” comes from the Latin word that means “marbled”. When you look at its abdomen from the top, you will be able to see a marbled pattern there.
The brown marmorated stink bugs have the ability to emit odors through the holes in their abdomen. This is done as an act of self-defense meant to distract predators from eating them. Their predators include birds and lizards. Handling them or attempting to go near them can also trigger the release of such odor.
The good thing about stink bugs is that they do not bite humans and pets. And unlike mosquitoes and cockroaches, they do not transmit diseases. They do not even harm you even if they feel threatened by you. They are herbivores that eat plants, fruits, and seeds. This behavior, however, makes them an enemy of farmers and gardeners and causing huge economic damages due to this. Their odor, while a good predator repellent, does not cause any harm to humans. The chemicals they emit may stain the human skin, but it would be nothing to worry about.
During mating season, the male stink bugs release pheromones and vibrating signals to attract the females. The females reply with their own vibrational signals. These signals are used to recognize and detect their location. These vibrational signals are of low frequency,
The brown marmorated stink bugs are equipped with mouthparts called proboscis, so they are identified as sucking insects. Their proboscis allows them to pierce through plants so they can feed on them, sucking on the plant’s juices. Due to this feeding habit, the transmission of plant pathogens results. It also results in the appearance of dimpled or necrotic areas on the surfaces of fruits, seed loss, and leaf stippling.
Among farmers, the marmorated stink bugs are much-hated insects because of the costly widespread damage they bring about in their fruits and vegetables. They usually feed on soybeans, apples, green beans, peaches, pears, cherries, and raspberries, making them versatile pests as they do not have anyone specific plant to feed on.
Stink bugs spend their winters inside homes or buildings. They can be found clinging on the walls, crawl spaces, or attics. Stink bugs sit it out until early spring, and they become active once again.
Population in the United States
The climate in the United States is ideal for the reproduction of stink bugs, and for this reason, their population continues to rise. Adult stink bugs can develop within 45 days in optimal conditions. Adult female stink bugs can lay as many as 400 eggs all their lives. The eggs are light green, with a shape like that of a barrel, and are attached side by side on the underside of a plant’s leaves in a mass. The eggs hatch 4 to 5 days later and emerge as nymphs. The nymphs would then begin to feed.
Because they can produce 1 to 2 generations of stink bugs per year, their population has increased exponentially. They also have the ability to move from one host to another and still continue with their reproductive process.
They cause huge and costly economic damage to the agricultural industry throughout the country because of their propensity to destroy fruits and vegetables. Signs of stink bug damage on crops include pitting and scarring of the fruit, destruction of leaves, and a mealy texture to the fruits and vegetables that were harvested. Usually, when these signs show, the fruits and vegetables become not suitable for sale in the market because this means the insides are already rotten.
They are also a nuisance to homeowners. They can also do damage ornamental plants. Fortunately, they are not harmful to humans and pets and do not transmit diseases. They also do not cause structural damage to homes and buildings.
How to get rid of stink bugs
As a household pest, stink bugs are annoying. They are like those unwanted visitors that you would want to get rid of as soon as possible. Here are a few recommended tips for you to prevent stink bugs from infesting your home:
- Seal cracks and crevices around windows, pipes, doors, sliding, behind the chimney, and openings around utility boxes using caulk or foam sealant. These are the typical entry points not only for stink bugs but for other insects as well.
- Damaged doors and windows should be replaced. Then insulate these doors and windows using weather stripping foam tape.
- Place screen over vents and crawl spaces.
- Stink bugs are attracted to light. You may change your exterior lighting to yellow bulbs or sodium vapor lights to make them less attractive.
- Use organic pest control techniques. The following natural pesticides can be used in place of chemical pesticides:
- Diatomaceous earth – Made from the fossilized remains of fossilized diatoms. It is like little shards of broken glass, and works by inflicting small cuts on the bodies of these insects, causing them to dehydrate and bleed to death. To use, sprinkle around the plant to shield it from crawling insects. It becomes ineffective wet, so re-apply every time it rains.
- Parasitic nematodes – These are beneficial parasites that find their way inside pests. Once inside a pest, they release a bacteria that would kill the pest within 1 or 2 days. You may purchase parasitic nematodes from a local gardening store near you. You may put the nematodes in your refrigerator and store them until you need to use them. The nematodes will last for 4 months if refrigerated. Mix the nematodes with water then apply. Use up the entire mix because they would be useless in a few hours.
If the infestation has started to develop inside the home our building, you may contact the best pest control management in the Carolinas, Go-Forth Pest Control.
Why Go-Forth Pest Control?
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned company that has been established since 1959. They have a team of well trained, highly skilled professionals using only the latest and most advanced technology in the business. Say goodbye to your unwanted visitors with Go-Forth Pest Control.
Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.