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Why Stink Bugs Invite Themselves Into Maryland Homes for the Winter

Can you feel it?

The cold crisp air, the smell of pumpkin pie, and don’t forget the holiday decorations (I know, I know, it is only September!).  But remember, the cool weather does not always invite good things into our lives.

If you have lived in the Mt. Washington area for any period of time, surely you have heard of what the United States Department of Agriculture calls America’s most invasive insect of interest.

Yes, we are referring to the stink bug.

First detected in the early 1990s, the brown marmorated stink bug has since invaded over 40 states in America inflicting chaos on the country’s crops and in people’s homes.  In fact, they are known to have caused over $37 million dollars in apple tree damage in 2010 across the Mid-Atlantic region alone.

And, while they are not inherently harmful to people, they are definitely not pleasant to have around.

Today we will look at what exactly a stink bug is, what frustrations they cause if found near your home, and what steps you can do to keep these stinking bugs on the outside of your home.

What is a Stink Bug?

Stink bugs are small, shield-shaped bugs that can quickly become a nuisance if they find their way into your house.  And, their name is appropriate since the chemical they emit when threatened is more than unpleasant.  Oh, and they can fly too.

Here are some other facts that everyone who encounters stink bugs should know:

  • They are typically green and brown in color, though a few species are brightly colored.
  • Most species feed on plants, thus the damage they can cause to agricultural crops.
  • Stink bugs seek warmth in the cold winter months.
  • Biting people is not in their nature and they do not carry disease.
  • Their “stink” is actually a defensive liquid they spray during perceived attacks.

In addition to harming the country’s major crops, and causing a problem within your home if they decide to join you in the winter, stink bugs can also damage your very own yard.  Feasting on the sap in leaves, buds, and blossoms of fruit trees, stink bugs make any fruit you are growing inedible and can even damage the entire tree.  Additionally, they like tomato, soybean, lima bean, and sweet corn plants.  Therefore, if you have a small garden growing in your backyard, these annoying pests can damage those as well.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in Maryland

Since the Environmental Protection Agency has only approved two insecticides for Maryland stink bug exterminators to use on stink bugs outside, dealing with them inside of your home is an ongoing challenge.

Why Are Stink Bugs in My Maryland Home?

There are two main reasons why stink bugs enter your home during the cold winter months.

The first is their nature to hibernate.  Much like animals that live in the forest seek shelter from the harsh wintry weather, stink bugs seek the comfort of your home.  And, when winter nears, a stink bug’s natural internal clock reminds them that it is time to seek shelter.  Unfortunately, that shelter happens to be your Mt. Washington home. In short, with plenty of cracks and holes to enter through, there are plenty of places inside your home for stink bugs to take up residence.

Additionally, stink bugs are known to have a strange attraction to light.  Your porch light, kitchen and bedroom lights, maybe even your beautiful holiday lights are all mesmerizing to these stinky little buggers.  So, in addition to being warm and cozy inside of your home, stink bugs also have a lot to look at on a daily basis making them perfectly content to stay.

However, keeping stink bugs out of your home is not impossible.  One best ways to get rid of stink bugs in your Mt. Washington home is to not let them find a way inside in the first place.

Of course, this seems obvious.  Nevertheless, knowing their favorite entry points and understanding how to keep them out or rid yourself of them proves useful when the Maryland air begins to cool.

How to Prevent Stink Bugs

  • Seal all cracks around doors and windows
  • Remove all window air conditioners
  • Spray foam around electrical outlets in the outside walls to seal cracks
  • Repair screen holes
  • Use a light trap
  • Keep all branches and tree limbs away from windows
  • Use yellow bulbs outside rather than the attractive white ones
  • Use a mixture of dish soap and water to spray them directly
  • Vacuum them up

Another great way to prevent stink bugs from hanging around your garden (and thus seeking out your home when they get cold) is to attract parasitic wasps to your yard to kill them.  In fact, the USDA has even considered introducing the Asian trissolcus wasps to America in an effort to contain the stink bug infestation that plagues America’s crops and homes.

  • Asian trissolcus wasps do not sting people.
  • They eat only stink bug eggs.
  • If they do not find adequate stink bug eggs to eat, the wasps die.
  • They lay their eggs inside stink bug egg clusters so when the larvae are born they have a feast awaiting them.

Lastly, some people recommend eating stink bugs in order to reduce their population.  Though seemingly strange, and slightly disgusting, it is important to note that stink bugs are a delicacy in places such as Asia, South America, and Africa.  Rich in nutrients such as protein and iron, the stink bug’s heads are first removed (so the odor disappears) and then they are roasted or sun-dried.

Sounds delicious right?

In the end, stink bugs are a nuisance in more than one way, should they decide to join you for the holiday season.  No one wants any type of pest in their Maryland home, especially if all they do is overshadow the smell of fresh baked cookies with their stinky smell.

If you find yourself with a stink bug problem in your home that you simply cannot resolve, either because there are too many, or dealing with them personally is not something you want to add to your daily to-do list, call Brody Brothers today at 443-379-8857.  As Maryland’s leading stink bug exterminators, the Brody Brothers promise to tackle the smelly problem inside of your home simply, effectively, and naturally.

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