Stink bugs. They're about to give bed bugs a run for their money for pest of the year. The Asian insects arrived in America in the 80s and 90s, and now they're ruining crops.
What are Stink Bugs?
Stink bugs, also referred to as shield bugs, are a group of flying insects belonging to the Pentatomoidea family of the order Hemiptera. They secrete a foul smelling liquid from the gland located between the first and second pair of legs. This liquid is released as a defense mechanism to protect from the predators. There are several species of stink bugs, some of which are commonly found all over the world. In general, they are dull in color, measuring about ¼ inch to ½ inch in length. Commonly exhibited colors of stink bugs are gray, brown, blue, green and black.
Are Stink Bugs Dangerous?
Stink bugs are not really threatening or scary looking, but once you go to remove them, or touch them, it will start smelling. They can bite, and leave a welt, but they are not poisonous, so no fears there. They basically just stink.
Where do Stink Bugs Thrive?
Swarms of stink bugs are already taking over the East Coast costing growers their crops. The habitat of stink bugs include meadows, garden, flower beds, fields and shrubs. They are active from spring through fall season. Many species of stink bugs are destructive and cause serious damage to certain crop families such as mustard, cabbage, rice and cotton. At times, they cause discoloration of the fruits and vegetables. On the contrary, some are beneficial and useful for the biological control of pests.
Ways to Get Rid of Stink Bugs
Though stink bugs are harmless to humans, the odor can cause allergic reactions like sneezing. Do not crush the insects, as the smell released is quite annoying and long lasting. Pesticides are used for relieving stink bug infestation in the garden plants and crops. For the protection of garden plants, you can spray mild pesticides during early spring. Following are the effective ways on how to get rid of stink bugs.
In order to prevent stink bugs entry in the house, you can seal the house and caulk cracks and openings (if any). Screens can be used for the doors and windows.
Many people use vacuum cleaners for the effective sucking of stink bugs. Once inside the vacuum cleaner, they can be discarded far away places to avoid foul odor.
As these bugs are attracted to the optimum light conditions, reducing outdoor lights will minimize the infestation.
If possible, carefully spray insect repellent solution in the corners of the house during the fall season. For hard-to-reach areas and corners, the dusting treatment is used for controlling stink bugs.
The Best Method to Kill Stink Bugs
An effective method of killing stink bugs is to use a nicotine water. For preparing nicotine water, you can shred half a packet of cigarettes in about half a gallon of lukewarm water. Allow the solution to stand for about 10-15 minutes. Then, filter the nicotine solution by using 2-3 layers of a cheese cloth. Take the filtrate and add a teaspoon of dish washing detergent. Stir the solution well and pour into a sprayer. Spaying this solution on the stink bugs will poison and kill them. In order to prevent the skin allergies, you can wear hand gloves while handling nicotine water.
If you are spraying nicotine solution or pesticides on vegetables and fruits, make sure that you thoroughly wash them before consumption.
Identification of Stink Bugs
It is observed that several species of stink bugs are resistant to mild pesticides. Hence, proper identification of the bug is necessary for practicing the effective control measures. In case of infestation by stink bugs, it is always advisable to consult a professional entomologist in the early stages, so as to control the pest before causing serious damages.