The stink bug boom: Smelly invaders lurking in your home

There is a smelly pest that’s likely invaded your home this winter and you might not even realize it. 

Stink bug populations have boomed in the Miami Valley and across Ohio. 

Just mentioning them to people on the street gets a strong reaction. 

>> Stink bugs: 5 things to know about the foul-smelling pests

“It was just the worst thing ever because I’d find them on my bed. I’d find them in the kitchen. Ugh,” said Abbie Ferdelman of Dayton. 

“They stink when you kill them,” said Shemaya Wingard of Dayton. “I don’t like killing them. I don’t like seeing them.“ 

Stink bugs, or brown marmorated stink bugs, are native to Asia and arrived in the U.S. in the mid-1990s, according to the EPA. 

The stink bug odor is similar to a sweaty linebacker’s sock, according to Jay Moran, president of A-Abel Exterminating. 

“It’s most noticeable when you find one on the counter and you smash it — now you’ve got a football sock in your face,” Moran said. 

The creepy crawlers sneak into homes around gutters, windows and doorways. 

“The bugs land on the warm siding and then crawl up to get into any crack or crevice they can,” said Moran. 

Their plan is to hibernate for the winter in a comatose state, but on unusually warm winter days the stink bugs get confused. 

>> Stink bugs causing problems for homeowners in Miami Valley

“You will find them climbing dopily around the house,” Moran said. “Every week we get calls from someone who is finding them and has finally hit their threshold where they say it’s time to do something. The good news: they don’t bite, they don’t sting, they don’t carry deadly disease, they don’t damage wood. They are just a nuisance.” 

There are ways to keep them out of your home. 

“In the fall, go around the outside of your house with a critical eye looking for cracks and crevices, and things that need caulked, screened or sealed,” said Moran. 

Traps and pesticides also can do the trick, but also work best in the fall. 

During the winter months, it’s best to pick up a stink bug with a napkin and put it outside, according to Moran. 

Stink bugs do have a natural predator, the samurai wasp, which was discovered to be in Ohio in 2017. 

“They lay their eggs inside the stink bug eggs and then their larvae feed on what was inside the eggs and they emerge instead of stink bugs. So they essentially kill the stink bug before it even hatches,” said Hillary Peterson, insect expert and Penn State PhD student, in an interview with our sister station WPXI. 

Unless the samurai wasps spread quickly, experts said the stink bug problem in the Miami Valley will get worse. 

>> 7 things to know about brown marmorated stink bugs

“The more they learn to tolerate the cold winters, the more they are going to survive. So this is going to be a nuisance going into the future,” Moran said. 

If you do have a stink bug infestation or even just of a few of the insects, they won’t be breeding inside your home this winter. 

Stink bugs wait until spring to lay eggs outside on leaves. The eggs hatch between May and August.

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