Stink Bugs On The Move And Inside Your House

Creepy critters looking for a warm place to spend the winter

They’re ugly, they’re creepy, and they’re breaking into your house any way they can.

Stink bugs.

As October’s nighttime temperatures fall from their summer highs, the pre-historic-looking pest that was first discovered in the U.S. in the late 1990s is on the move, looking for warm places to spend the winter.

And mainly, that’s inside your house.

“They’re just so gross,’’ said horticulturalist Diane Larson, of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Monmouth County. “They’re ugly, but they’re harmless.’’

Larson said this is the time of year that the brown marmorated stink bug looks for warmer places for the winter. They are one of the few insects that spend the winter as adults, not larvae, and they’re particularly good at finding ways inside your house, Larsen said.

“They will find any little crack that’s available,’’ Larson said.

Once inside, they really don’t do much, however. Larson said the stink bug causes no harm, does not nest or reproduce once inside, and eats nothing. If crushed, however, the bug emits a foul odor, hence its name.

“They just kind of shut down,” Larson said. “They slow down and they don’t really move and they don’t eat. They get moving again in the heat.”

While a nuisance to homeowners, the stink bug is becoming an economic pest to farmers. The bugs eat a wide variety of crops.

“No other pest we know of has that broad a range of what it will feed on,” Dean Polk, coordinator of Rutgers’ fruit Integrated Pest Management program, has said.

Reports of stink bug infestation this year are lower than they have been in three years. Researchers, however, don’t know why, Larson said.

In the U.S., stink bugs are concentrated mostly in the Mid-Atlantic states, including New Jersey, according to a recent national survey. But the invasive species has now spread to 38 states, including California and Oregon, according to USDA-funded research.

The brown marmorated stink bug is native to Asia and was first discovered in the U.S. in 1996 and in New Jersey three years later.

The best homeowner’s defense against stink bugs is a good offense, according to literature from the Rutgers Cooperative extension. A little caulk around windows and doors can go a long way to keeping out the little critters. Removing window air conditioning units is a must, Larson said.

The bugs don’t sting, so removal by hand is an option, once sighted inside the house. The business end of a vacuum also is effective, Larson said.

bayway mike October 06, 2012 at 03:59 PM
We have a small pond in the backyard, so I catch them and feed them to our turtles..It is so cool to watch the turtles stalk and the eat these little bugs..
Veronica Adamkiewicz October 06, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Oh gross. I have never seen one. I hope I never do. Yuck
teatleytea October 06, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Want to see some nasty bugs! Take a look at those gross nastly looking camel back crickets. They look like daddy long leg spiders on steroids! Those things were once only found in two section of Toms River now they are spreading all over the township and they are GROSS and man can they hop!!!
Rachel Tomasi October 07, 2012 at 03:24 PM
MY daughter went to put the trash cans out for me n ended up leaving the second bc I forgot to warm her about moving backwards quickly due to crickets hiding under the cans this time of year early in the am from overnight I gather. Well she made a big point if how these weren't crickets but some crazy spiders lol so when I read her that reply about camel back crickets n asked if that's what she saw she answered affirmatively. Still looking traumatized lol this Is in the Fischer n Cattus area. Now my older daughter tells me that the ones in her room last yr were "spider crickets" so I'm sure same. They ARE GROSS!!!
Matt October 07, 2012 at 11:24 PM
We have spider crickets in Bayville. They jump like 2 ft in the air. Nasty looking things


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