While most of us do not enjoy the presence of bugs around us, the most we’ll do is have a mini freakout, get the bug away from us and try to move on from the experience as soon as possible. However, there are some particular bugs that you should watch out for. These small brown bugs can be found in flowerbed, grass, and even cracks in your home. You might think these little buggers are harmless, but experts warn that they can cause a lot of destruction in their wake. Luckily there are ways to prepare and try to avoid an infestation. Here’s what you should do in case you see these bugs.
Tiny Brown Bug
Insects can be difficult to spot, particularly if there’s a lot of vegetation, trees, and flowers in a particular area. These bug tend to blend in thanks to due their color and diminutive stature. This is what you can look out for in order to help spot them.
Experts suggest that you observe your surroundings carefully. These tiny little insects could be hiding out in your yard. They have bodies that resemble shields, almost like the ones once used in battle, along with six legs. These bugs can reach about 0.7 inches in length when fully grown.
Small But Not Necessarily Harmless
While these little bugs are very small, the damage they can cause is pretty huge, especially if they successfully go undetected. It’s important to keep vigilant and look out for them. These little guys have wings in addition to their legs that carry them around quickly. They can easily end up finding a way to burrow into your home.
Find Ways Into Homes
Despite their small stature, you shouldn’t underestimate their wings’ capabilities. They can certainly fly into homes through cracks in foundations, walls, and also through curtains. This is why you should be alert if you do end up spotting them in your yard.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
So just what are these bugs exactly? They’re called Halyomorpha halys, or by their more common name, the brown marmorated stink bugs. The name is pretty horrifying, and the reality is, they can be pretty horrible if they end up near you home.
Accidentally Introduced In USA
These stink bugs were originally found in Asia, specifically in Korea, Japan, and China. In 1998, they were first spotted in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Scientists believe that the bugs were brought over from Asia and were accidentally introduced into the eastern parts of the United States.
How the Bug Traveled
One scientist named Max Barclay was able to backtrack the origin of the bugs’ introduction to the United States and was able to figure out their path through several countries. Barclay works at the National History Museum in the Coleoptera collection. According to him, the bugs were first introduced to the United Kingdom before making their way to the U.S.
Predicted Another Arrival
In 2014, Barclay posited that the brown marmorated stink bug made its way from Asia to the U.K, and then it was discovered that his theory was correct. In 2020, the stink bug was first seen in the Natural History Museum gardens as well.
Packaging, Pallets, and Shipping Crates
When it came to theorizing just how these bugs were transported over vast areas internationally, it is believed that because these bugs move into the indoors during the winter, they are able to travel inside of packaging, shipping crates, and pallets. Once introduced to new areas, they establish themselves and become a bigger problem.
Thrive in Warm Weather
These stink bugs don’t tend to do well in cold climates, so they burrow themselves inside of shipping crates in order to sleep through the winter in a process called diapause. Once the weather warms up, they come back into action, since they truly thrive in warmer temperatures.
Climate Change Helps Them Invade
As the earth’s temperature rises, the conditions for stink bugs to thrive get better and better for them. The International Biometeorology Journal published research that predicted that these stink bugs could make their way into Switzerland in the 2010s, becoming permanent fixtures in the country.
Hitched a Ride to Switzerland
These predictions ended up being correct, unfortunately, and significant crop damage was caused from the increased stink bug population in Switzerland beginning in 2017 and on. This doesn’t help with the continued issue of rising temperatures as well.
Bad News for the Swiss
Dr. Tim Haye, who works at the Center for Agriculture and is Head Arthropod Biological Control at CABI believes that there is strong evidence to suggest that this species is adapting due to climate change. That means that a lot of non-native species will continue to invade other areas, and as temperatures continue to rise, this phenomenon will continue to occur.
Not Safe at High Altitudes
Dr. Haye explained that when the stink bugs infest, they will continue to head south and reach the edge of the Alps. Afterwards, he believes that the higher altitudes will continue to become more suitable as climate change continues to change temperatures around the globe.
Infestations of 1000s
The paper also suggest that it’s only a matter of time before the stink bugs will see an exponential population increase to the point where it will get out of hand. It is truly important to watch out for these bugs in your home and yard, especially so that they won’t infest your home and reach thousands.
Pennsylvania to North Carolina
These bugs did not come into the United States until 1998. They were first spotted in Pennsylvania before branching out to New Jersey and reaching as far as Virginia by 2004. They were most recently spotted in North Carolina, which suggests that they are continuing to spread around the country. But that’s not all…
44 States and 25 Years Later
The bad news is that the stink bugs have not stopped just at the eastern coastline. They’ve actually reached 44 out of 50 states total. They managed to spread out dramatically in just 25 years, which is a relatively short amount of time to do so given how much destruction they can leave in their wake.
Almonds or Cilantro
These stink bugs emit a particular odor, that some say reminds them of cilantro, while others say its more akin to the scent of almonds. If you aren’t growing these crops in your yard and you smell them, perhaps it’s time to take a serious look at whether you’ve got a stink bug infestation or not.
Can’t Wipe Them Out
While there is no way to ripe out this invasive species, there are ways to contain them, According to Barclay, once these stink bugs establish themselves, they can do it pretty quickly. So if you spot one or two, it’s safe to say that soon there will be many more.
Contain the Pest
While there is no long term solution quite yet to get rid of these stink bugs altogether, there are ways to control the situation and keep them contained. If you do happen to find these little bugs in or around your home, these are some of the things you can do to help your situation.
Remove Weeds and Obstructions
If you do end up spotting stink bugs, the first thing you cant try is to get rid of any weeds growing in your garden. They like to nestle themselves inside of weeds, which can help them camouflage and go unnoticed. You should also temporarily remove any garden ornaments where they can be hiding.
If you are still seeing them after weeding the lawn, you can try out this homemade bug repellent. It consists of kaolin clay solution, several gallons of water, and about 15 ml of dish soap. Mix everything together and place the repellant in a spray bottle. Then you can spray all around in order to help contain these little bugs.
Harmless to Plants
The repellant should help as usually these bugs won’t touch or eat crops that have been treated with this mixture, which also helps prevent them from laying their eggs in the area as well. You don’t have to worry about the repellant killing plants and crops because it is not toxic to them. Make sure to thoroughly wash any crops that you do want to use that have been sprayed.
These stink bugs are attracted to yellow flowers like sunflowers, so a great method to help control these bugs is to plant yellow flora. While these yellow plants don’t kill the bugs like a Venus Flytrap might, you can use the yellow flowers to help guide the bugs away from particularly sensitive areas in your yard and home.
Plant the Trap Away from Others
In order for this bug trap to work, plant the yellow flowers in areas of your yard that are far away from your crops and other flowers. This way, you keep help keep these bugs congregated away from the areas that you want to protect. Then, you can also treat everything with the homemade repellant.
Dispose of the Trap Plant
Once the stink bugs begin to be concentrated by the yellow trap plants, you have a few options of what to do next. The first option is to not do anything, and let birds and other critters kill them for you. However, this isn’t the most reliable option if you want to get rid of the bugs completely.
Dig the Plant and Put It in Plastic
Another thing you can try is to use the trap plants to get a concentration of the bugs all around the trap plants and then dig up the flowers and place them in a garbage bag. Close the bag tightly and then leave the bugs in the sun, allowing the heat to suffocate the bugs and kill them. Then you can dispose of the bags far away from your home.
They Love Vegetables and Fruit
While the bugs are called stink bugs, the smell is not something that you need to be concerned about. What you do need to be concerned about is the fact that they enjoy fruits and vegetables, and that’s where the serious damage can come in. They can end up going through entire crops if left to their own devices.
Ruined $40 Million Of Apples
In 2010, it was reported that stink bugs caused $40 million in ruined apple crops because farmers did not stop the infestation in time. They left brown spots in the areas that they ate through, although they didn’t reach the core of the apples. They also caused significant damage to the wine industry by eating through grapes.
Sealants for the House
If you want to protect your home from stink bugs, you’ll need to take a different strategy. Make sure to properly seal every single opening to your home so that you can prevent stink bugs from scuttling into your home and causing an infestation.
Use Your Vacuum Cleaner
If these bugs do somehow find a way into the house, don’t panic. What you can do is start vacuuming them up, but if you do this, make sure you immediately get rid of the bag so you won’t allow the odor to creep into the house.
Turn Out the Lights
In addition to yellow plants, stink bugs are attracted to light sources, so you can help prevent attracting to them by keeping outdoor lighting to a minimum. When you’re at home in the evenings, turn off porch lights and keep curtains or blinds pulled down so that light from inside doesn’t attract them.
Another way to prevent infestations to get rid of moisture build up from areas of your home. Stink bugs are also attracted to water sources, so keep an eye on leaky pipes and clogged drains too.
Eliminate Their Food Source
Stink bugs need to eat, and unfortunately, they are not picky. Keep your food in airtight containers, making sure there aren’t any gaps. Keep a lid tight on your trash can and make sure to throw away garbage bags in a sealed receptacle. Keep your floors clean and wipe down the counters after using them.
Check Your Belongings
If you get groceries in boxes, check them thoroughly. You should also inspect grocery bags you got at the store, holiday decor or anything in boxes that are sitting in an attic, and anything else that comes from a box or crate, especially if you’ve ordered these things online.
Try Not to Smash Them
While it can be extremely tempting to crush stink bugs that you might see, try to avoid doing this, as this will cause their foul odor from being released. It’s much better to vacuum them or try to redirect them out of the house altogether.
Make sure you keep your yard under control as well. Keep any shrubbery and branches trimmed. If you use firewood, keep it stored at least 20 feet away from your house and try to keep the supply raised at least 5 inches above the ground so that they won’t have a spot to nestle themselves into.
Keep all areas of your home ventilated, including garages, basements, attics, and crawl spaces because these can all become harborage points. You can use a dehumidifier to help keep moisture in these areas low. Use screens and chimney vents where appropriate.
Use Inside Traps
If you do end up finding stink bugs inside of your house, you can create a trap for them indoors just like you can outdoors. Fill up a spray bottle with 1/2 cup of dish soap, a cup of vinegar, and 2 cups of water. You can spray the bugs directly with this solution, which causes them to die without emitting that terrible smell.
Watch for This Insect
Whether you use a homemade repellent, a flower trap, vacuum, or weed the garden, dealing with stink bugs is never fun. However, with these tips and tricks, hopefully you can keep them under control and avoid a serious infestation.