As I write this, Isabel (one of our Customer Service Representatives), is sending the entire company pictures of stink bugs on her desk. “Don’t they know who we are?!”
Needless to say… if you’re already tired of stink bugs this year, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Stink bugs are one of the most hated pests among homeowners, and for a good reason! These pesky critters are not only unpleasant to look at, but they also emit a pungent odor when threatened or squished. But before you start squashing them one by one, let’s take a closer look at stink bugs and learn how to deal with them.
Stink Bug Life Cycle and Seasonality
Stink bugs, also known as shield bugs, belong to the family Pentatomidae. They come in various colors, including brown, gray, green, and black. The most common type in North America is the brown marmorated stink bug (that’s what we have in Washington), which is native to Asia but has become an invasive species in many parts of the world.
Stink bugs have a simple life cycle, consisting of eggs, nymphs, and adults. The eggs are laid in clusters on the undersides of leaves, and the nymphs hatch in about a week. The nymphs go through several molts before becoming adults, which can take up to several months.
Stink bugs are most active in the summer months, from May to September, when they mate and lay eggs. During this time, they can be found in gardens and farms, feeding on fruits, vegetables, and other plants.
What is Overwintering and Why Do Stink Bugs Do It?
As the weather gets colder, stink bugs start preparing for winter by going through a process called overwintering. Overwintering is a state of dormancy (called diapause) where stink bugs become inactive and seek shelter to survive the winter.
Stink bugs often overwinter in buildings, including homes, where they can find warmth and protection from the elements. They usually enter homes in the fall, through cracks and crevices in walls, doors, and windows.
What Do Stink Bugs Do When They Leave Diapause and Why Are They Inside?
When stink bugs leave diapause, they become active again and start searching for food and mates. This usually happens in the early spring when the weather starts to warm up. At this time, stink bugs may leave their overwintering sites and venture out into the open.
If stink bugs are inside your home in the spring, it is likely because they are searching for a way to get back outside. They may be attracted to the light and warmth inside your home, but they do not want to live there permanently.
What Do We Do About the Ones Inside Right Now?
If you have stink bugs inside your home right now, don’t panic. There are several things you can do to get rid of them.
- First, try to seal up any cracks and crevices in your walls, doors, and windows, where stink bugs may be entering. You can use caulk, weatherstripping, or foam insulation to seal these gaps. Another common point of entry is the roof where vents, chimneys and other gaps need to be screened.
- Next, try using a vacuum cleaner to suck up any stink bugs you find inside your home. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag or empty the canister outside, away from your home.
- If you have a large infestation, pesticides may be required. Chemicals are unlikely to be helpful for smaller numbers, though.
Stink bugs may be a nuisance, but they are not impossible to deal with. By understanding their life cycle and habits, you can take steps to prevent them from entering your home and get rid of them if they do.
Just remember, don’t squish them unless you want your home to smell like a rotten fruit market!