Originally from East Asia it is believed the brown marmorated stink bug entered the United States in the late 1990’s. They likely entered from either China or Japan in an overseas packing crate. However, The United States Department of Agriculture has never required stink bugs be reported and tracked. This has allowed them to easily spread throughout the United States virtually risk free. And spread they have, to over 46 states by 2020, and also Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.
Life Span of a Stink Bug
Immature stink bugs, commonly known as nymphs, go through five growth stages, each taking approximately one week to complete. When they become winged adults, they have the ability to reproduce within two weeks of their final molt. Once reaching adulthood they have a life span of six to eight months.
The warmer the temps, the more baby stink bugs, which are called generations. Here in Upstate South Carolina it is not unusual to see at least two generations from a single life span. Small light green barrel-shaped eggs are deposited on the underside of a leaf in 20 to 30 egg piles. Less than a week later the nymphs emerge and stay clustered around the now empty egg mass until they shed their outer shell. They are not considered adults until they develop fully formed wings and acquire their unique coloring and markings.
There are tiny holes in the stink bug’s abdomen which is located between the first and second pair of legs. This smell is a defense mechanism designed to keep the stink bug from being attacked and eaten by predators. But much like a skunk, the odor can be released simply by moving or touching the bug. The odor is often described as “rotten cilantro”, and the associated fluid is toxic and can be irritating to humans, though cases are extremely rare.
An agricultural pest, stink bugs pierce the host plant with its proboscis in order to feed. This may cause seed loss and unsightly necrotic patches on fruits, vegetables and ornamental crops. In some cases even the transmission of bacteria and other harmful pathogens. In the case of a backyard vegetable garden or fruit trees and berry bushes, preventing stink bugs from laying eggs is one of the most effective ways of controlling an infestation.
Spraying the garden plants with a mineral clay solution stops the eggs from attaching to the leaves. Mineral clay or kaolin clay is easy to apply and is non-toxic to plants, pets and humans. There are also commercial stink bug traps that can be used but they must be placed in contact with the plant for maximum effectiveness. Also, some homeowners swear by simply placing damp cloths on nearby porches and lawn furniture overnight. In the morning dump the stink bug covered towels in a pail of soapy water.
A stink bug infestation causing more problems than you can handle? Let Scout’s Pest Control be the solution. Give us a call today at 864-469-4999 or connect with us online to schedule an appointment or for additional information. We still follow all CDC Covid-19 guidelines and can definitely schedule a no-contact appointment if you prefer.