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Stink Bugsstink bug

Latin Name   
Family Pentatomidae

Description   Stink bugs are distinctive thanks to their ever-present shield shape. They’re usually brown, black, or gray in color and all have piercing mouthparts and long, straight antennae. Adults are rather large, measuring from 12-20mm long and their bodies are as wide as they are long. As they age their color becomes more mottled but as nymphs Stink bugs are yellow and red. Most feed on plants while others are predatory.

What to Know  Stink bugs got their name from the highly-unpleasant odor they put off when crushed. If you find a stink bug inside your home its best to remove it without killing it to avoid the odor altogether. Once they make their way inside homes, stink bugs typically cluster around windows and lights trying to find a way out of the structure.

Though a vast majority of Stink bugs feed on plants, they can be quite a nuisance to farmers. Certain species prefer fruits and vegetables to leaves and will pierce produce’s flesh with their pincers to feed. Apples, blackberries, soybeans, corn, and green peppers are all favorites of stink bugs. They’ve been found in 41 states but are a considerable nuisance in Illinois and Michigan. Agriculturally, they cause the most damage in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Signs of Infestation   These pests are most active in the springtime. Over the course of the summer they’ll make their way to a host plant where the females will lay 5-20 eggs which hatch in a matter of days. If you find plants in your yard with leaves covered in small egg-like sacs, you may soon have a stink bug problem. They make their way into homes through cracks in the foundation, windows and doors, and through open entrances, usually during the fall months as they seek a warm refuge. Typically the only sign of an indoor infestation is the presence of the insects themselves.

Treatment and Prevention   It’s always best to prevent any kind of pest infestation beginning with proper sealing of doors, windows, and vents. These small holes and cracks are usually how bugs make it inside and can easily be remedied with some caulk and weather stripping. Once a stink bug has entered your home for overwintering it’s typically not leaving until spring. Of course, if you spot one of these pests you should remove it carefully to avoid exposing your home to its offensive odor. If you have recurrent issues with stink bugs you should have a professional assess your home’s risks and determine the best plan of action for eliminating these persistent pests.