Fall is the Season for Pumpkins, Changing Leaves, Halloween, and Stink Bugs
Well, Halloween isn't for another month, the leaves are barely changing, and there aren't a ton of pumpkin displays yet--but stink bugs? Yeah, we've got plenty.
If I were a stink bug, I would prefer the latin name "Rhapigaster nebulosa," over plain old "stink bug." But, maybe that's just me.
We've got them all over our backyard and patio, and as you've probably noticed (assuming you've got them too) they are not at all shy about hanging around humans. And, by "hanging around" I mean flying into your hair, eyes, or mouth. We've got literally hundreds of them at my place.
So, what's the deal with the stink bug? Here are a few things about them that you may not have known (courtesy of Tero.com):
They're fairly new to North America:
Brown marmorated stink bugs, the variety most commonly invading U.S. homes, is actually native to Asia and was introduced accidentally. The painstaking fight to rid these pests from your home may feel like a lifelong battle; however, the nuisance species wasn’t spotted in the U.S. until 1998 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Since then, stink bug populations have exploded, and can now be found in almost every state and several provinces in Canada.
The brown ones don't bite:
These stink bugs don’t have the ability to bite people, nor do they sting. They have a needle-like mouth they use to pierce the skin of fruit, plants, and some other insects and suck out the juices. This needle is tucked between their legs when not in use. Although they cannot bite, you may still experience red, irritated skin if you are scratched by their exoskeletons' sharp edges.
There aren't too many predators interested in eating them:
While stink bug eggs and nymphs may be vulnerable to parasitic wasps, adult stink bugs have very few predators to worry about. Some birds, insects and reptiles are known to eat stink bugs, but they do not consume them in great enough numbers to decrease stink bug populations. In addition, the odor produced by stink bugs also has a bad taste, which leads to them being spit out by many of the fish and other animals that otherwise prey on insects.
Fall is the time of year that you'll see them the most:
Fall is usually the time most homeowners notice larger numbers of stink bugs indoors. This is because stink bugs are not able to tolerate the cold weather of winter. As October rolls on, hordes of stink bugs make their way inside via windows, doors, chimneys and other cracks and crevices. Once they send out the invitation for other stink bugs to join them, you could ultimately have hundreds of stink bugs hibernating in your home through winter.
And, the best news if you're totally freaked out by stink bugs is that they're not using your home as a breeding ground:
To offer perhaps some sort of relief, you don’t need to worry about stink bugs laying eggs in their overwinter location (aka your home). When the cold weather sets in, stink bugs enter a hibernation state called diapause. During this time, they do not reproduce, nor do they feed. They are actually incapable of reproducing until the spring brings warmer weather.