Stinkbugs on the March - My FoxDC
Updated: Thursday, 23 Sep 2010, 10:12 AM CDT
Published : Thursday, 23 Sep 2010, 10:12 AM CDT
(CANVAS STAFF REPORTS) - Stinkbugs are on the march, and experts warn they may end up being your unwanted house pests this winter. They aren't harmful, but they do live up to their name.
Stinkbugs were originally found in East Asia. Tony Perkins of MyFox DC's " Ask the Weather Guys " said they can now be found throughout the continental United States.
They are spreading quickly considering they weren't even introduced into the United States until about a dozen years ago.
"They look prehistoric," Perkins said. "They got like a shield or shell on them. If you crush them they do stink."
While there are different species, the Brown Marmorated Stinkbug is the troublesome one.
The Associated Press said agricultural officials believe it arrived in the U.S. in packing crates from Asia. It was first reported in 2001 in Allentown, Pa.
MyFox DC reported they eat about every crop and are causing extreme damage in western Maryland where they are feasting on fruits and vegetable crops. One orchard owner said he lost about 20 percent of his apple crop to the pest.
The stinkbugs, which smell if crushed or agitated, can also can be a nuisance as they get into homes.
The pest control company Western Pest Service in a press release said the stink bugs can be recognized by their dull brown color and diamond-shaped, speckled backs.
They get into homes through small cracks and crevices around air conditioning units, attic vents, door and window frames, chimneys and gaps or holes in the foundation. They enter homes in the fall and may remain inactive until the spring, when the temperature warms and they re-emerge.
Perkins said they eat and can harm flowers, fruit plants and leaves. Some also eat other insects.
Pest control companies are getting an increasing number of calls concerning stinkbugs. Western Pest Services, a New Jersey-based company, said its Wilmington, Del., branch is fielding about 20-50 calls a day.
The Penn State Cooperative Extension, in a column published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , said people should check through any openings and vents in order to keep them out as much as possible. Make sure window screens don't have holes and that weather-stripping fits snugly.
Caulk cracks around windows and door frames, openings where pipes and wires enter and any other openings through which they could enter.
Perkins said to lightly spray an insecticide approved for in-home use if they get inside. Pest-control companies also suggest having an exterminator treat the home in the fall before the stinkbugs start to congregate.
Perkins said people can also vacuum them up and get rid of the bag.