Our phones are beginning to ring off the hook and the e-mails are pouring in!
And it's only going to get worse!
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys) has not only become an annoying invader of our homes but their populations have exploded to the point that they have become a major threat to many agricultural crops including both ornamentals and food crops.
Native to Asia, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is a relative newcomer to the US being first reported in Pennsylvania in 1998. Since then their numbers and range have slowly increased and they are now found in 30 different US states and are still on the move.
Late September and October is the time of year that these nasty pests begin to congregate around the windows and doors of our homes seeking entrance to a nice warm, cozy, place to spend the winter.
Because this particular species of stink bug is having such an impact on fruit and vegetable crops, a lot of research is being directed towards developing control methods. Some of this research is focusing on natural enemies and pheromone traps in addition to chemical controls.
For the time being, exclusion is one of the best preventative measures for controlling populations indoors. Carefully examine the foundation and around windows and doors for cracks and crevices where they can sneak into the house. They will seek out these entry points in an attempt to find overwintering sites. Use caulk and weather stripping to seal any cracks.
Control products such as Bonide Household Insect Control kills stink bugs on contact but also has some residual action that creates a relatively effective barrier around windows, doors, and other areas where they might gain entrance to your home.
Stink bug traps have also been developed. Some like Bonide Stink Bug Traps, which can be used indoors or out, or the Rescue Reusable Stink Bug Trap use pheromones to attract and trap the bugs. The Rescue Stink Bug Trap has an optional light attachment to attract and trap stink bugs that have made their way into your home. I've never tried the traps but if you have large numbers of stink bugs in your home, they might be worth a try!
The boxelder bug is another nuisance insect that can invade your home in droves at this time of the year. Like the stink bugs, they are seeking protected overwintering sites and your warm home fits the bill perfectly! I'm thinking that these pests might be pretty bad this year as well because the other day Andre asked me to come down to the gardens with my camera to take pictures of boxelder bug nymphs that were swarming all over a statue and several different plants in the gardens. There were literally hundreds of these immature boxelder bugs crawling over the concrete statue and the vegetation surrounding it. Creepy!
Keeping these invading insects out of the house is similar to that for the stink bugs. Since they also sneak into the house through cracks and crevices in the foundation and around windows, doors, and air conditioners, sealing these with calk and weather stripping will do wonders in keeping them out of the house.
Control products for boxelder bugs are similar to those that can be used for excluding stink bugs.