This year sees Major Stink Bug Population Explosion

NEW JERSEY - “Stink bugs,” says Leonard Douglen, Executive Director of the New Jersey Pest Management Association, “are keeping our members on the go as a massive population explosion of these insects is showing up everywhere.”

As the temperatures begin to drop, stink bugs are seeking warmer habitats, about a month earlier than most other insect species that also move indoors wherever they can find a home or other structure.

The problem this year is so severe that they are making news in USA Today, The Washington Post, and other media. “For months now, says Douglen, “the public has been hungry for news about the bed bug plague, but stink bugs are now a concern as well.”

“The good news is that stink bugs do not bite, sting, or transmit disease,” says Douglen. “The bad news is that they smell quite bad if they are stepped on or crushed in any way.”

Douglen recommends that the best way to avoid becoming a host to stink bugs is an “exterior treatment” for homes and other structures. “A barrier is created against the bugs that might otherwise find easy access.”

Other recommendations include sealing cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, and other openings into a structure.

If you see a stink bug, try to determine where they got in, says Douglen. They most frequently will emerge from cracks under or behind baseboards, around window and door trim, and around exhaust fans or lights in ceilings. “Get out your caulk gun,” says Douglen. “Sealing these openings will also keep out other insect species that will move indoors in about a month.

“Pest management professionals,” says Douglen, “are especially trained to detect the many ways stink bugs and other invasive insect species can get into a home or other structure and, of course, they come equipped with the best technologies to deal with the problem.”

Douglen advises homeowners to gently pick up a stink bug using a paper tissue and dispose of it in an outdoor trash can. If you spot a larger number of them, vacuuming and then putting the bag in an outdoor trash receptacle will avoid the likelihood of having their nasty odor in your home.

Areas in New Jersey that include farms are most likely to experience stink bug problems because they feed on crops. “The brown marmorated stink bug has no natural predators,” says Douglen, “in the way the green stink bug does. They have already been found in 15 States and specimens have been found in 14 other States according to the Department of Agriculture.”

“Stink bugs are Mother Nature’s way of telling us that we share the State with a wide variety of insect and rodent pests, and come fall and winter, many of them want to share your home with them.”

The New Jersey Pest Management  Association was founded in 1941. A seminar at its recent fall conference was devoted to the stink bug problem while another addressed the State’s bed bug problems. The Association maintains an Internet site at www.njpma.com providing consumer information on pest problems common to New Jersey.