They're moving indoors as the weather gets colder.
Cooler temperatures mean more people are spending time indoors where it's warmer. But that also means stink bugs are also coming inside. "Right now, I've had a lot of homeowners call me, asking what to do about them because they're starting to accumulate on the warm side of their house. Naturally, it's getting cold outside, and they're wanting to get into your house to get warm for the winter," says Susan Trice, Horticultural Educator and Master Gardener Coordinator for the Frederick County Cooperative Extension Service.
Known as Marmorated Stink Bugs, these insects are native to Asia. They were first detected in Allentown, Pa. in 2001. Since that time, they've made their way to Washington County and other parts of Maryland.
The stink bugs have natural predators in Asia. Trice says there are predators here in the US, such as the preying mantis, spiders and chickens, but they can't kill them kill fast enough.
Trice says homeowners can keep these critters out of their houses by sealing up and caulking some openings. "Check weatherstrips around your doors. Check any of the outside outlets and caulk or seal around those. Even check the sockets. Sometimes there can be a gap between them that stink bugs like to get through," she says.
But if you find them in your home, Trice discourages the use of pesticides, especially inside the house. "The first year they were here, everybody sprayed inside the house. They couldn't stand them," she says. "And then the next year, the same people were in here with carpet beetle problems because carpet beetles love to feed on those dead carcasses as well as a few other predator bugs. So you're inviting more problems by doing that."
Trice says predators from where stink bugs originally come from could be introduced here, but scientists want to be careful before doing that. "There are problems with letting a new predator out. We don't what other things they're going to attack. So we have to be real careful to protect the eco-system we have now," she says.
For more information on stink bugs, go to www.hgic.umd.edu.