Reporting Alex DeMetrick
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—With the return of fall, look for another kind of unwelcome guest: stink bugs.
Alex DeMetrick reports this is the season these pests start moving in with us.
An invasive stink bug from Asia has been munching through crops and gardens for the past seven years on the East Coast.
But it was 2011 when Marylanders found a flat-out invasion in their homes:
“I hate those stink bugs. They live all winter. I’m still picking them out of the house,” one woman said.
“I’ve noticed it’s not as bad this fall as we had in the spring, but I do think that’s going to change over the next few weeks,” said CJ Ayd, of Ayd Hardware.
So at Ayd Hardware in Towson, they’re stocking up.
Insecticides have gotten better at targeting stink bugs, and so have natural predators, adapting to the foreign invaders.
“We saw many of our praying mantises attacking these stink bugs. Other predator bugs, robber flies, spiders, birds. We saw a lot of things eating stink bugs last year,” said Dr. Mike Raupp, University of Maryland entomologist.
But with new hatchings over the spring and summer, that still leaves plenty of bugs looking for a place to sit out winter.
If you don’t see them now, you will.
“They’re gregarious. They like to hang out with each other, which is kind of weird for a bug. So it’s not unusual when you see a few to come back an hour later and see twice as many,” said Raupp.
Stink bugs are also opportunists, making the most of a home’s weak points.
“They really do like cracks and crevices, damp places,” Ayd said. “That’s why a lot of people find them around window sills because it’s a nice, easy access point to move on in.”
While stink bugs are a threat to crops and gardens, once inside homes they do not normally eat. They instead live off stored body fat.