Even though it doesn’t really feel like fall with this week’s highs in the upper 50s, one little pest knows the cold temps are on the way. The brown marmorated stinkbug (Halyomorpha halys) are finding any tiny entry into homes, planning to settle down for a long winter’s nap in your attic, kitchen cabinet, bedroom and any other location in your comfy house.
Their name stinkbug described their most distinctive quality, an odor most often compared to that of cilantro, which they freely emit when they are bothered.
They are not just annoying pests; they pose serious economic threat to agricultural crops, damaging many fruits and vegetables, particularly those with soft skins such as tomatoes, pears, apples, green beans and berries. They puncture the exterior with their proboscis to feed on the juices, damaging the exterior and causing rot on the interior.
BMSBs were introduced into Pennsylvania from Asia in 1998 – likely from pallets or shipping materials into ports - and have exploded in population, now in almost all 50 states. Some landowners have more trouble than others – windowsills and walls can appear like a scene from a horror movie for some unfortunate people while homes in relatively close proximity only attract a few of the pests.
A good vacuum can be a fairly good control for a quick and efficient way to get them outside. For those who appreciate a more hands-on approach, the bugzooka can be a satisfying tool. Natural predators have shown some promise in coming to our aid – in particular, the wheel bug (Arilus cristatus) which is prevalent in Virginia, is a predator to both stinkbug eggs and adults.
Wheel bugs (Arilus cristatus) are one of the most effective predators of stink bugs
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ORMN Class IX