Bugs want inside your home

It’s that time of the year when the home invaders begin to annoy. Those home invaders include multicolored Asian ladybeetles (MALB), leaf-footed bugs, boxelder bugs and of course, most recently, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB).

I have to admit that I haven’t seen too many of the last, but I expect that we will see them inside our home this year.

My son and his wife live in the Beavercreek area, and they have been bothered by them for a few years now. In fact, the first one that I saw was at their house.

Unlike the MALB and others mentioned above, BMSB is a tremendous pest of fruits and vegetables. If you don’t actually see the bug on the fruit, you may not even know it’s around. The damage is sometimes a subtle discoloration on the outside of the fruit, especially on tomatoes.

However, when you cut into the fruit, you will notice the damage. The tissue starts to break down and get somewhat mushy.

Unfortunately BMSB likes a wide range of fruits and vegetables including apples, peaches, figs, mulberries, citrus and persimmon. It has also been reported on many of our ornamental plants as well as beans and soybeans.

The other problem with BMSB is of course, the fact that they hunt a warm site, usually in your house, to overwinter. They overwinter as an adult.

Once inside, they periodically come out of hiding on warm sunny days and can be found around windowsills and doors, again seeking warmth.

The don’t bite or hurt humans much like the other invaders; they are just a huge nuisance. They do stink when crushed, making them even more annoying.

That said, there are some people who are allergic or are sensitive to the BMSB’s odor as well as some who may develop a contact dermatitis on exposed skin.

One of my colleagues, entomologist Celeste Welty thinks that one of the reasons it’s taken longer for the BMSB to get to places in Ohio like Clark County and other rural areas is because they that have tended to track along the major highways and produce markets such as Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. They are fairly prevalent in these areas and are slowly filtering throughout the state now.

The BMSB is much like the MALB and other household invaders. They are all just seeking a nice place to live for the winter.

With all fall home invading bugs the key is excluding them from your home. This is of course, easier said than done. Sealing windows with caulk and repairing holes in screens is one thing that you might try.

Pesticides on the outside of the house don’t tend to do a good job, as there is a very short residual effect.

The most common approach is to clean them up with a broom and dispose of them (without crushing if possible).

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu.

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