Archive for category Stink Bugs

Stinkbugs Spread to 41 States

For some homeowners, it seems like the brown marmorated stinkbug takes over their home in the fall months. They make their way inside for the winter, sometimes in swarms. It’s hard to imagine that the stinkbug didn’t come into the United States until the 1990s. In just 20 years, they have spread their populations widely, now being noticed in 41 states.

More concerns arise as the stinkbugs move west (they’re most invasive on the east coast). Tracy Leskey, entomologist with the United States Department of Agriculture, explain that “it’s a big concern. Sacramento is in the heart of a lot of big-time agriculture.” (Source.) Stinkbugs have recently been spotted in Sacramento, CA and Portland, OR. Farmers are now worried because the pests often feed on local crops.

Looking at study information, it’s not surprising that stinkbugs have gone from coast to coast so quickly. Leskey explains that the typical bug flies up to 3 miles a day, but some has been noticed flying up to 75 miles in just one day!

Wasps are the stinkbug’s most common parasite in its native Asia, but they haven’t made their way to the United States. Kim Hoelmer, acting director of the USDA’s Overseas Biological Control Laboratories, says “it may be a while before we can set an army of foreign wasps on stinkbugs in the U.S.” (Source.) There just isn’t enough research, yet.

While stinkbugs thrive in the United States, Mosquito Squad has helped many homeowners fight the battle against these pests at home. Our trained team applies a spray to the areas of the home and property that stinkbugs are known to harbor or enter the home, eliminating them.

This is the time of the year when stinkbugs look to make their way inside. If you are noticing stinkbugs on your property, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Stink Bugs Looking for a Place to Enter the Home

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs move inside for warmth, and they come with friends.

Last weekend, I was watching a movie with my husband when I heard a loud buzzing, one that I’ve become all too familiar with the last few years: the stink bug. Just like falling leaves and cooler temperatures, seeing stink bugs inside is another sign that fall is coming.

Stink bugs, or brown marmorated stink bugs, have been  active pests in the United States since they were first noticed in Pennsylvania sixteen years ago. Three or four years ago their population boomed, wreaking havoc on some crops they were hungry for.

The stink bug population has grown considerably in the U.S. because it doesn’t have a natural predator here that helps to control the growing numbers. Its largest predator in China, a type of wasp, isn’t currently present in the U.S., but is going through testing to see if it is a viable option for future control.

As the weather turns cooler, and fall crops begin to be harvested, stink bugs start to get sneaky! They can find their way into homes using the smallest of openings. If you live in an area where stink bugs are active, you’ll want to double check that there aren’t openings around your door frame or holes in your screens to ensure they don’t make their way into your home. They will find the smallest of holes! A recent study that we covered in a previous blog pointed out that stink bugs are more attracted to brown and green properties more than light-colored homes.

If stink bugs make it inside your home, you want to make sure you handle it correctly or they will use their defenses. Their main defense you may be able to tell from their name. They stink. They emit an odor when they are threatened. You never want to handle a stink bug with your hand for instance, instead:

  • Use a vacuum to suck up and remove the stink bug. A bag vacuum works better.
  • Using a tissue, pick up the bug and flush it down the toilet. Stink bugs are surprisingly slow moving when they aren’t flying.

There are stink bug treatments available that are applied to the outside of the home that will greatly reduce your pest populations. Call your local Mosquito Squad office to see if they can help you in the battle of the stink bugs.

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Are you ready for Stink Bug season?

I vividly remember last year when I heard that all too familiar sound: a loud buzzing noise to be exact. What was it, you ask? It was a stink bug flying around my new apartment. I was lucky that only few made their way inside my apartment, but some people weren’t as lucky and we’re just weeks away from peak stink bug season.

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs move inside for warmth, and they come with friends.

The brown marmorated stink bug is a Japanese beetle that was accidentally introduced in the United States in 1998. With few natural predators in the US, their populations have grown and grown, with hundreds being noticed on some homes at one time. Last year was the first year the Agriculture Department researched the stink bug through an online survey title “The Great Stink Bug Count.” Home and business owners are invited to provide numbers and details of where stink bugs were sighted.

The Great Stink Bug Count started last year and has already provided some interesting facts. Stink bugs prefer to settle in brown and green homes (possibly because they blend in with the color) over light colored homes. They also like wood, cement and stone structures as opposed to those with aluminum siding.

The numbers associated with the stink bug count are astounding in some instances. One person who participated last year counted over 30,000 bugs!

With the gathered information, the Agriculture Department is looking at ways to kill the stink bug, including using US and Asian enemies (although vast studies have to be done before introducing another foreign pest to the U.S.).

Now is the prime time for stink bugs, with peak numbers expected around October 1. The pests are most noticeable now because they are moving indoors as the weather cools. They get into through small openings and look for dark areas like attics, basements and closets.

At Mosquito Squad, many of our clients, both residential and commercial, have been struggling with stink bugs for years. And when the beetle comes, they come in droves. We’ve been able to help them fight the pest with our stink bug control. Our eliminating product can be applied to the areas of the building where stink bugs are known to hide, like under eaves and gutters. Clients see a huge improvement on the number of bugs.

Before and After a Mosquito Squad stink bug application

Before and After a Mosquito Squad stink bug application

If you have questions regarding the stink bug, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

 

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Keep On the Lookout for Pests this Winter

Although the nights are longer and the temperatures are cooler, it doesn’t mean that you are safe from pests this winter. Yes, maybe the mosquitoes and ticks that Mosquito Squad protects against are hiding until spring, but there are bugs that are not only present, but moving indoors this time of the year.

From spiders and stink bugs to roaches and ants, winter forces some pests indoors for shelter. We know that isn’t a fun idea to take in, so here are a few tips to minimize the number of bugs coming indoors.

Look for entry points and close them up. Bugs are small so it isn’t surprising they can make their way into tiny holes. Walk around your home and make note of areas where you think bugs may be able to make their way in. That small space between the door and the frame or that small tear in your screen are easy places for a bug to work its way inside.

Walk around your home and take note of any plants or branches that are touching your home’s structure. Crawling bugs will use those plants as a way to move inside in the cooler months. It’s a best practice all year round to keep vegetation from touching your home due to pests.

Be careful of your firewood. Who doesn’t love to curl up in front of a fire on a cold winter’s night? I know I do. When going outside to gather wood for your next fire, pay attention to what is coming inside with you. Ants and roaches are known to nest in wood piles and can easily take a ride indoors with you if you aren’t careful. Raising your wood off the ground is a good way to cut down on the number of bugs in your pile.

Wrap up leftovers tightly. One of the reasons pests move indoors is that they can find food sources away from the cold. Make sure to cover or wrap all food up tightly if left on the counter. Be careful to pick up any crumbs that fall on the floor as well, those crumbs are perfect for pests.

Bugs, unfortunately, are never all gone or gone forever, but small steps like these will cut down on the number of critters you are sharing your home with.  When the warm weather comes around again, Mosquito Squad will be here to help you with those outdoor pests!

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Stink Bug 101

This past weekend, I was out with a group of new Virginia transplants. We were discussing some differences from where they previously lived to their new home in VA. One of the major trends I noticed was bugs, they weren’t familiar with a number species (and sizes) that are common here. They all agreed that stink bugs were the worst, but they didn’t know very much about them.

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs move inside for warmth, and they come with friends.

Halyomorpha halys, or the brown marmorated stink bug, is nave to Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan and wasn’t found in the United States until 1998. Their introduction to this country happened by accident. Researchers believe that they traveled here in fruit ships from Asia. Since then, the stink bug population in America has grown tremendously and are now found in 26 states.

Stink bugs received a lot of media attention in 2010 due to their impact on farmers. These beetle like bugs are considered agricultural pets because they can cause widespread damage to fruits and vegetables. The bugs suck juice out of the crops, causing ripples and on the surface. Although their salvia isn’t poisonous to humans, the crops can no longer be sold because of their appearance.

One of the major issues with controlling the stink bug population has been that their most common predator isn’t found here in the United States. Without their primary predator, the brown marmorated stink bug was able to live longer and reproduce successfully. As they have become more common, some wasps and birds are showing signs of feeding on stink bugs.

Stink bugs have a distinct appearance making them easy to point out. Their bodies are brown and shield-shaped. Adults are ¾ of an inch long. They get their name from their main defense mechanism, stench. The pests release an odor through their abdomen when threatened by an outside source. That is why it is recommended that stink bugs are always picked up with a napkin, tissue or paper towel instead of with their hand. Additionally, stepping on or smashing a stink bug can result in the odor embedding in the surface it is smashed on.

When the weather turns cooler, stink bugs move inside for their hibernation state. That is why they are a common occurrence in many parts of the country this time of year. They enter the home through any opening they can fit in. You’ll often notice stink bugs buzzing around lights or around the house because the warm of the interior will make them more active. If you have stink bugs in your house, pick them up with a tissue and flush them down the toilet (vacuuming them with a bagged vacuum also works).

At Mosquito Squad, we offer stink bug protection in the form of a spray. We will spray the areas of the property where stink bugs are commonly seen. If you have questions regarding stink bugs and stink bug control, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Stink Bugs are Back, what can you do?

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs move inside for warmth, and they come with friends.

I have to be honest and admit that the only times I dealt with stink bugs was when I was travelling, but that is no longer the case. My husband and I recently moved and earlier this week, I was minding my own business when a bug dive-bombed onto the couch next to me. Since then, I’ve encountered a few more. In my neighborhood newsletter, they warned us that they will be out in full force and I’m ready!

As temperatures drop, stink bugs move indoors for a place to hibernate for the winter months. You may have stink bugs and not even know it. Our Mosquito Squad of Montgomery County location was recently at a clients’ home who was having a deck replaced. When the deck builder removed just a few pieces of siding from house, they found HUNDREDS of stink bugs underneath. Under siding is one of stink bugs favorite places to hide.

So what do you do if you have seen or suspect you have stink bugs? Here are a few tips.

With most bugs, it is many of our first inclination to smash them. Do not smash stink bugs. There is a reason that stink bugs have that name, they smell! When the pest is disturbed, they emit an odor as a protective measure. When smashed, that odor can linger longer because it is left on the walls, carpets, furniture, etc.

If you have live stink bugs in your home, there are two good ways to get rid of them. The first is to vacuum them up. They key to using the vacuum is that you need to use a vacuum with a bag. The bag is important because it provides a way for you to seal it up and remove it and you can get rid of the smell. A bagless vacuum will smell after the presence of stink bugs.

The second way to get rid of stink bugs, is to flush them. Stink bugs are generally slow moving pests and aren’t difficult to grab, but don’t grab them directly. Use a tissue or some toilet paper and grab the bug. Then simply flush it, bye bye stink bug.

Before and After a Mosquito Squad stink bug application

Before and After a Mosquito Squad stink bug application

Many of our clients notice stink bugs outside before they make their way indoors and the best way to combat them is to get rid of them before they hibernate in your home. Treatment in a necessary step in many areas of the country to fight a stink bug infestation. At Mosquito Squad, we spray the areas of the home were you have seen active pests and the areas that make the perfect entryways for them. Trust me, the before and after will be night and day.

If you have questions on stink bug control, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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They’re Back. Stink Bugs Return.

I read all of the service requests from the Mosquito Squad website and lately I’ve noticed a trend: the dreaded stink bugs have returned! For those of you that have heard about this “so-called invasion,” but haven’t seen it for yourself, trust me, it’s real.

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs move inside for warmth, and they come with friends.

Stink bugs are native to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan and weren’t found in the United States until 1998. The pest was accidentally brought to the East Coast in some kind of shipping crate and has since thrived in its new environment. According to some researchers, brown marmorated stink bugs are now present in 38 states.

Any guesses as to why they are called stink bugs? To state the obvious, it’s because they stink. Like skunks, stink bugs release an odor when they feel threatened. For stink bugs, it is released via glands on their stomach. I did some research to see what they stink like and the results vary widely. Many online posters say they have a strong bad stench of cilantro, while others have posted everything from rubber, rotten cheese and chemicals. If squashed, the stink bug will stink, beware!

While stink bugs are active throughout the spring and summer months, the cool fall weather drives them to find shelter for the winter. According to msnbc, “in the fall, the stink bugs start to look for shelter in warm, indoor” areas. They can make their way into the home through any area that isn’t completely sealed. Homeowners have reported them coming in through everything from cracks in their door frames to underneath their siding. Although no one likes a massive amount of bugs in their home, stink bugs don’t cause damage to a home’s structure. Most of the time they hide in small or dark areas like attics, but the warmth of the house may cause them fly around and be more active.

Stink bugs are much more destructive outdoors than in, especially for farmers. Ames Herbert, an entomologist a Virginia Tech explains that “about anything that makes a seed or a fruit, they’ll eat.” For years, the shield-shaped bugs have been ruining crops in China and Japan and The US Apple Association estimates that in 2010, stink bugs cost apple farms over $37 million dollars.

As stink bugs become more prevalent in the United States, studies are being conducted on predators. In China, its primary predator is a specific type of wasp. This wasp is being tested now and may be introduced in the U.S. sometime next year to slow the stink bug population growth. Additionally, other wasps, spiders and praying mantises have been observed attacking stink bugs.

Until the invasion stops, some of our Mosquito Squad offices offer a stink bug spray that will kill the pests before they enter your home.

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