The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is not native to the U.S., but was accidentally introduced into this country sometime between the years 1996 and 1999 in Allentown, Pa. These obnoxious pests lay waste to agriculture as well as ornamental plants, fruits and seeds.
In the fall of the year, they come inside homes and office buildings, appearing indoors and staying until at least summer of the following year. They get their name from the foul odor they emit when crushed or disturbed.
The stink bug seems to be prevalent in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware. After a sharp decline last year in their numbers, very favorable conditions this year have set the stage for a bumper crop.
Mike Raupp, a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland says, “The numbers have just been way up all summer long heading into August. The data coming in says numbers are pretty high.”
Stink bug count interrupted by shutdown
Citizens can add the "Great stink bug count" to the projects that have been affected by the government shutdown. To track them, the U.S. Agricultural Department has asked people to participate in the Great Stink Bug Count from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. But, the key researcher has been furloughed and the website is down.
This is not to say that people can't participate, because the information is important, to someone. So if anyone wants to go to the trouble of counting the little critters, save your information and send it in when things get back to normal.
When our government decides to end the shutdown, try this website: www.ars.usda.gov/main/site_main.htm?modecode=19-31-05-05.
How to get rid of stink bugs
The best way to get rid of stink bugs is to block them from getting inside your house. Make sure to seal cracks around windows, doors, siding, pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath the house with silicone-latex caulk. Repair or replace damaged screens on your doors and windows.
The critters can also be plucked up and thrown into a pail of soapy water. If you vacuum them up, use a vacuum with a bag, otherwise, it will pick up the odor of the bugs. Bear in mind that there are a number of chemicals that could be used on the stink bugs, but also weigh the pros and cons of using insecticides inside your home.
Do stink bugs bite?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), stink bugs do not bite people or pets. This is not to say they won't bite if intimidated or threatened, and the bite is painful. People with allergies should be aware of an exacerbation of their allergies if bitten.
Generally, treating a stink bug bite should be easy enough for most folks. It is said that dousing the bite with Listerine will ease the sting of the bite, or using an over-the-counter medication for bug bites is good too. Remember though, if you develop painful swelling, nausea, vomiting, or experience severe symptoms such as breathlessness, confusion, rapid pulse, call 9-1-1.