Where did all these stink bugs come from?
Halyomorpha halys, otherwise known as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), that armor-plated prehistoric pest most of us see, or smell, at some point in the early spring or late fall, is becoming an odoriferous seasonal houseguest. This wasn’t always the case, as stink bugs only arrived in America in the late 1990s, reportedly hitching rides in shipping containers from Asia. While somewhat held in check in their native environment, they face no indigenous predators here. That, and the fact that they can fly up to 40 miles in a day (!), has allowed them to spread to more than 40 states.
Other than their alien looks and the pungent fluid they secrete when provoked, they don’t bite or sting humans or pets. That doesn’t make them any less creepy, and they are an invasive species that causes millions of dollars in damage to U.S. agriculture every year.
So how do we get rid of them? With no natural enemies it’s not easy. Farmers and gardeners are often left to try different pesticides, traps, and natural repellants. Homeowners face even greater challenges once stink bugs take up residence in the cracks and crevices around windows and door jambs, and it’s very difficult to completely eradicate them.
Spraying them with soapy water, or gently collecting them in a pan or jug of soapy water is as safe and effective as anything else. But, whatever you do, do not squash or vacuum up these bugs, unless you want the whole house not only to stink, but also to attract more of their brethren.