Why Does the Stink Bug Leave Off a Foul Odor & Other Fun Facts

Whether you’ve been living in Louisville for two decades or two minutes, you’re probably familiar with the brown marmorated stink bug. Each fall, stink bugs move indoors en masse, which is where you’ve probably encountered them and their notorious odor before. But if you’ve never stopped to consider these curious invasive insects in the past, don’t worry because we’ve done it for you!

What Are Stink Bugs?stink bug on a leaf

First identified in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1998, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), a member of the Hemiptera, is just one of the massive insect families, Pentatomidae, and are sometimes referred to as “Shield bugs.” More relevant to your everyday life, though, they’re dull brown, with six legs and a spade-shaped body that typically measures 17mm in length. Quick breeders capable of rapid population growth, a female stink bug can lay up to 30 eggs at a time and can reproduce twice a year under the right conditions.

Where Did Stink Bugs Come From?

While they were first identified on American soil in the late 90s, it’s distinctly possible that they’d been here for some time before that. Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, however, are an invasive species thought to be native to parts of East Asia, including Taiwan, China, and Japan. There is some debate as to how they arrived in North America, but however they got here, it only took them a few years to establish a near continent-wide presence. These days, they can be found from upstate New York to Alabama, on the East Coast, and as far north as Minnesota in the midwest. They can also be found up and down the west coast. And of course, they’re all-too-common right here in and around Louisville.

Why Do Stink Bugs Stink?

Stink bugs have more than earned their name. According to Dr. Matt Bortone of the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic at NC State University, stink bugs “Have special glands in their thorax that are filled with a chemical cocktail that produces a mix of odors.” Additionally, he adds that “When threatened, a stink bug can release the chemicals onto a rough part of its exoskeleton called the evapatorium.” In your home, you’ve probably encountered this first hand if you’ve ever accidentally stepped on one or vacuumed it up. In nature, this functions as an effective defense mechanism against predators, but it can be highly irritating in your home.

Are Stink Bugs Dangerous?

Typically, no. Stink bugs do not bite, sting, or scratch and aren’t known to spread disease or display aggressive behavior. However, they’re a potential allergy trigger, particularly those with preexisting respiratory conditions or sensitivities to the compounds in their aforementioned “Chemical cocktail.” Agriculturally though, it’s another story altogether. Stink bugs feed on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, causing millions of dollars worth of damage each year. Ornamental plants aren’t necessarily safe either, which makes stink bugs both a significant and hazardous pest. 

Why Do Stink Bugs Come Inside Our Louisville Homes?stink bug in a house

Stink bugs are highly temperature-sensitive insects. As fall and winter sets in and the mercury drops, stink bugs enter a hibernation-like state called diapause. If they stay outside during long stretches of cold weather, though, they’ll die, making your warm and comfortable home an ideal place for them to sleep away in the winter. Once they get indoors, they prefer to hide out in temperature-stable places like:

  • Attics
  • Storage areas
  • Basements
  • Window moldings
  • Behind baseboards
  • Underneath siding

How Can I Keep Stink Bugs Out of My Home?

Keeping stink bugs out of your Louisville home is no more complex than performing routine pest prevention. For example, sealing potential entry points like foundation cracks, gaps in windows and doors, and torn screens is a highly-effective prevention technique. Additionally, properly storing fruits and vegetables in your kitchen, limiting moisture, and even limiting outdoor light have been shown to pay dividends when trying to keep a stink bug-free home. Importantly though, stink bugs typically use your lawn as an easy avenue into your home, meaning that keeping a clean and well-maintained yard can make a big difference. So when you sign up for a quality lawn care plan in conjunction with reliable outdoor pest control, you can stop even the most severe infestations before they start!

Call Turf Pro Outdoor Solutions a Call for Effective Perimeter Pest Control Now!

Are you tired of living with stink bugs each fall and winter? Give the professionals at Turf Pro Outdoor Solutions a call. We offer a perimeter spray program that guarantees insects stay outside of your home by providing a barrier of protection around your home. Give us a call now at 502-991-7600 or get your quote here and find out how we can help. 

In addition, you can check out our blog here or follow us on Facebook or Instagram for more information! 

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