They might be on your curtains, in corners in your home, and just blatantly scurrying around. If you are unlucky enough to disturb one accidentally, you are hit with an odor that can only be described as stink. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, or its shortened title, stink bug, is a common household pest Long Islanders encounter each fall.
What Are Stink Bugs?
There are over 250 varieties of stink bugs present in America, the most infamous being the brown marmorated stink bug. This invasive species originated in East Asia (Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan) and was only recently introduced to the United States in the mid-1990s and was not officially recognized until September 2001. Since its introduction, the stink bug has been assaulting nostrils across America.
How Do Stink Bugs Look?
If you have been exposed to these critters, you would surely be familiar with them by now. Stink bugs are characterized by their dark brown exterior and creamy white, brown underside. The term “marmorated” means variegated or veined, like a marble. This references the markings unique to this species of the stink bug. The namesake markings are present on the thin outer side of their abdomen and antennae, alternating between dark and light coloring. The legs of the stink bug are brown with faint white mottling.
What Do Stink Bugs Smell Like?
This is the million-dollar question that isn’t so quickly answered. However, this odor is a part of how the pest protects itself. Stink bugs effuse their odor as a defense mechanism for real or perceived threats. Nymphs or baby stink bugs have glands on the underside of their abdomen while adults have these glands on their thoraxes. These glands are responsible for housing the concoction of chemicals that is to be blamed for the notoriously foul odors. They also have the ability to spray this liquid a few feet away from themselves. This is why people are still affected by the scent even after moving away.
If you ask ten different people what the odor that stink bugs emit smells like, you will likely receive ten different answers. The pungent odor emitted by this bug has been described as smelling like cilantro, as well as woody, oily, or similar to burnt tires. Some people go as far as describing the scent as acridly sweet, ammonia-like, or familiar to that of a skunk. Interestingly, one of the compounds present in cilantro is also present in the stink bug’s chemical makeup. Some people don’t recognize any odors at all. It all depends on the person’s olfactory glands and what species of the stink bug they encounter.
How Long Does Stink Bug Smell Last?
Whether it’s herbaceous cilantro or the fetor of skunk, the odor diffused by the stink bug will only last for a few hours. If the unfortunate scenario occurs where you have crushed it, or it happened to have disbursed its odiferous smell onto your household surfaces, a mixture of warm soapy water combined with hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar will rid you of the stench.
Stink Bugs In The Home
Essentially, stink bugs are just a nuisance to humans and are in no way harmful. However, they do pose a severe threat to your backyard garden as they will feast on your fruits and vegetable plants. Brown marmorated stink bugs seek refuge in your home to hibernate as the temperature drops. The good news? They don’t procreate during this season, so no need to worry that you will have baby stinkers scampering about.
There is also, however, the not-so-good news. Even though they don’t turn your home into a breeding ground, they disperse a pheromone which attracts other stink bugs. Unfortunately, you will still end up with a nasty infestation.
How to Get Rid Of Stink Bugs
The best way to combat stink bugs is to prevent them from the start. Unlike a lot of other pests we see on Long Island, in order for a stink bug treatment to be most effective, it actually needs to be applied BEFORE the pests show up!
In addition to a preventative treatment, as fall approaches, thoroughly inspect your home for cracks, openings, and breaks and seal them as soon as possible. Shut your windows at the first sign of dusk and limit outside lighting. However, insects are known for their persistence and may still thwart your best efforts.
If you don’t want to lose the fight against stink bugs this fall, and currently reside in Nassau or Suffolk County, you have no need to worry. Suburban Exterminating is a premier full-service pest management company focused on keeping your home pest-free.
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