The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive insect species that has become a serious agricultural and indoor insect pest in the United States. This stink bug species originates from Asia, but it was collected from Allentown back in 1998. Since then, the brown marmorated stink bug has established an invasive habitat in much of the eastern US, and the species has even managed to establish habitats in 43 states, including the western coastal states and the southwest desert regions. The brown marmorated stink bug continues to be most problematic for homeowners and tenants living in the northeast US where homes have been known to become infested with thousands of individual specimens. While these insects do not spread disease, they are a tremendous nuisance indoors and they secrete an unpleasant metallic odor. This secretion has also been documented as staining carpet, furniture, curtains and other fabrics. Even worse, their foul-smelling secretion has also been well documented as triggering allergic symptoms, and dermatitis can result if their defensive secretion makes contact with human skin.
The brown marmorated stink bug is easy to recognize due to the brown-colored shield covering its entire body, with the exception of its small protruding head and six legs. Indoor infestations are difficult to eradicate due to the bug’s tendency to gravitate into hard-to-access areas of a home. Therefore, it is important for homeowners in Pennsylvania to make every effort to prevent the insects from entering a home. Despite their medium size, which exceeds half an inch in length and width, the insects can easily enter a home through narrow cracks and crevices in a home’s foundation. Sealing foundation cracks with caulk can effectively keep the stink bugs from infiltrating homes. Brown marmorated stink bugs are also known for entering ventilation openings leading into attics, and they often travel into homes through chimneys during the colder months. If stink bugs become established indoors, they must be removed one-by-one. Some who have experienced stink bug infestations recommend vacuuming the pests, but it should be noted that this can cause the bugs to secrete copious amounts of defensive chemicals, which can attract even more stink bugs into a home. The vast majority of large-scale brown marmorated stink bug infestations are handled by licensed pest control professionals.
Have you ever detected the metallic odor of a stink bug’s defensive secretion?