How To Kill Stink Bugs – What You Need To Know About Stink Bugs
You’ve no doubt seen them. You probably noticed them once or twice a few years ago and didn’t give them much thought. At the time, they just seemed to pass by unnoticed, like any other uncommon bug. You don’t want to know them. And you certainly don’t ever want to know them. Nor do you care. But if you have been noticing them a lot more recently, then you are not imagining things. These little critters are seemingly everywhere now. And try as we might, we just can’t seem to ever shake them.
What Are Stink Bugs?
What on earth (or are they really already from earth!?) are stink bugs? Where did they come from? How did they get here? Why did they get here? Why has no one ever heard of these little critters before? In a nutshell, the scientific name for this category and classification of insects is halyomorpha halys. And if you think that these bugs are out of place and don’t look like they belong here in North America, then you are right. That is because they don’t belong here.
Where Did They Come From?
In fact, stink bugs are native insects from the Asian subcontinent. These “illegal immigrants” are native to Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea, where they are a shared pest. If you live in one of these Asian countries, then they are a shared, every day nuisance, posing as a threat particularly to the native agricultural industries of that vicinity. Up until recent times, they had remained confined to the Asian subcontinent. It was only recently that they accidentally made their way to the North American continent. And once they got here, they began to multiply in numbers very rapidly. Stink Bugs were first discovered in Pennsylvania. And then little by little, over the time of time, reports of these bugs began emerging in the nearby states. Year after year, the number of states reporting infestations is increasing as the population of these little buggers continues to spread out in all directions. After years of sitting back and watching helplessly as they began to infiltrate our homes and our crops here in North America, government agencies commissioned to study pest control are just now beginning to get a grasp on understanding these bugs.
How Did They Get Here?
While nobody can pinpoint exactly when or how stink bugs first infiltrated the western hemisphere, the most common theory is that they may have accidentally come over in one of the millions of boxed crates that gets shipped into North American harbors, carrying imports from Asia. While there are indeed very strict standards to inspect shipments that are brought into our borders, it is highly probable that a cluster of stink bugs must have some how inadvertently slipped by the fractures (literally) during the freight inspection course of action and become stowaways on their journey overseas (the old “hide in the baggage compartment trick”).
Characteristic Traits of Stink Bugs
Bearing a resemblance to the dinosaurs from Jurrasic Park, stink bugs have a uniquely reptilian turn up, which makes them unsightly and frightening to most entomophobists. But except their turn up, they are truly harmless to humans. They don’t bite. They don’t suck your blood. But the one distinguishing characteristic that makes stink bugs rare is their patented defense mechanism: the foul stench that they emanate from their bodies when they become frightened. This odor is unmistakably rank enough to excursion away just about any predator, including human beings! If you have ever tried to squash a stink bug, then you know from first hand experience what it smells like. (Some people liken the smell of their odor to that of cilantro. I used to love the smell of cilantro until I came into contact with my first stink bug. Now I tend to lose my appetite when I smell either of the two!)
Their Impact On Domestic Human Life
So if stink bugs are purportedly harmless to human beings (except being the stuff that nightmares are made of, for those who can’t stand the sight of them), then what is there to be concerned about? Why all of the fuss? It seems that for the average every person, the issue with stink bugs is that they are just plain bothersome and unsightly. Most people will not already bother to think twice, flinch, or already bat an eyelash when they come across an ant or a shared housefly. But when it comes to these bugs, these little critters can wreak havoc on many a person’s psyche. What is worse is that stink bugs can often show up in clusters. And just knowing the fact that squashing them (the preferred method of dealing with most other types of insects) will provide in foul odors that can often leave long-lasting traces on the surface where said squashing occurred can render some of us humans to feel defenseless against them.
Stink Bugs Are Heat Seekers
More often than not, you will find stink bugs congregating on window screens during the autumn season. This is because as the weather begins to turn cooler during autumn, stink bugs instinctively search for warm places where they can escape from the cooler air. When they fly by your home and detect the heat emanating from within, they will quite naturally gravitate toward your windows, on the hopes that they might be able to try to get into your house. And guess what? If you have any rips or tears in your window screens, or if you have any fractures in your window sills, then those bugs who are determined to get into your house for the sake of the warmth, will find a way in. Perhaps this itself is one of the most frightening characteristics about them: how they somehow manage to infiltrate your home despite your best efforts to keep the house sealed off.
Stink Bugs Have Infiltrated Your Home – Now What?
And once stink bugs get into your home, they will either generally tend to gravitate toward supplies of heat and light (if you have ever noticed, once stink bugs get into your home, they like to linger on your windows, because they want to bask in the sunlight). Fortunately, they are not known to copy indoors, so at the minimum you need not have to worry about that. Perhaps one thing that can be extremely frightening and bothersome about stink bugs is their characteristic “kamakaze” style manner of making an entrance into a room. They will “dive bomb” from their hiding places into the middle of the room, making a definite buzzing sound, and land on in any case surface they are interested in.
While stink bugs may not have an impact on urban populations, they do present a threat to agriculture, as they are known to destroy crops. Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working with scientists to develop standards for safe and effective pesticide solutions as a deterrent against them. However, further research and development is nevertheless needed and continues to be an current effort.
So much nevertheless remains unknown about stink bugs as of however: They have no known predators who can attack and kill them in the wild (at the minimum in the Western Hemisphere anyway), consequently restoring balance in character to keep their population growth in check. As a consequence, their numbers are believed to be steadily increasing in our ecosystem. Fortunately, scientists have discovered that there is one species of insect that may present as a possible threat to them: wasps. It has been observed that wasps will prey upon and eat the eggs of the unborn. consequently, wasps may be our only hope at natural population control. (Though it is highly doubtful that anyone would advocate unleashing wasps into the wild in order to eat stink bug eggs, only to experience a rise in the wasp population!)
How Can We Get Rid Of Them?
So this begs the question: How can we get rid of them? There are a number of ways how to kill stink bugs:
– Insecticides specially designed to kill this particular species of bugs are being brought to the market.
– You can set up “stink bug traps” in your home, which basically are supplies of heat and light designed to attract these bugs and then zap them.
– You can squash them. However, this is perhaps the least desirable method how to get rid of stink bugs. There is a theory being floated around that when you squash a stink bug and it emits that foul stench, others of the same species who happen to be flying by can detect the odor and will flock toward it, thereby truly resulting in an increase in the number of these bugs attempting to infiltrate your home.
– You can spray them with dish soap. Yes, you read correctly: You can spray them with dish soap. Just grab a squirt bottle and fill it up with dishwashing detergent. When you see a stink bug, spray it. But here’s a tip: Spray it in such a way that the soap makes contact with its underbelly and not its “armor plated” side. Studies have shown that the chemical composition of dish washing detergent is extremely lethal to them and they can become paralyzed and / or die within minutes after coming in contact with it.
Stink bugs are more of an bothersome nuisance than a veritable threat to the average person. The good news is that scientists, government officials, entomologists, and other people who make it their business to know this stuff, are making leaps and strides in their efforts to keep their population under control. The bad news is that their population is on the rise and the problem doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.