Here in sunny Southern California fall brings with it plenty of warm weather, cool nights, and in recent years the “Stink Bug” or as some call it the “Shield Bug.” While these bugs are totally harmless to human beings, they can be very damaging to fruits and vegetables, and emit a very strong odor when you crush them. These pesky bugs come in a wide range of colors, however, the most common one found in the U.S. is the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) or Halyomorpha halys. This variety is brown in color with gray or white spots. They tend to gather in large groups, making them a huge risk to commercial fruit and vegetable farmers.
The History of the Stink Bug
Stink bugs have existed for a very long time, living mostly in countries like Japan, China, Taiwan, and many other Asian countries. Sadly, they are very good at stowing away in shipping containers where they can spread their odor around the world. The first recorded instance of the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) was in 1998 when one of these bugs was found in Allentown, PA. From here the invasion was launched and would soon spread from coast to coast thanks to their ability to reproduce rapidly.
Destructive Little Pests
Stink bugs like to feed on fresh fruits and vegetables, which they pierce so that they can suck the juices out, while at the same time injecting their own saliva into the fruit or vegetable. Once this occurs, the fruit will develop a stippled or puckered look. This makes the fruit inedible and unsellable. Among the many things stink bugs like are tomatoes, corn, lima beans, soybeans, and many more. The fact that they prefer to congregate in vast numbers is why stink bugs are so damaging to gardens and farms.
How Do You Know if You Have Stink Bugs?
The best way to know if you have stink bugs in your yard or house is visually. You will be able to see groups of them on your trees and plants, you may also see them hanging out inside and on the outside of your home. Even if you don’t see any live bugs, you may still see plenty of dead bugs around your home. If you have fruit bushes or trees in your yard, you may also see stippled or puckered fruit.
Getting Rid of Stink Bugs
Now for the hard part, stink bugs can be very hard to get rid of as they congregate in such large numbers and reproduce so quickly. The best way to get rid of an infestation is to call on the services of a professional extermination service. They can come to your home, locate the source or sources of the infestation and then work to remove it. They can also provide you with a number of methods intended to keep these stinky little pests from coming back.