While Stu the Stink Bug's antics are funny… stink bugs are no joke. They're a menace in the garden and maddening in the home. Stink bugs damage fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants, causing headaches for the backyard gardener and commercial farmer alike. And when they invade the indoors in colder weather, they really raise a stink.
The invasive stink bug from Asia was first discovered in the U.S. in 1998, near Allentown, PA. With no effective natural enemies, stink bugs have been discovered in 39 states to this point – most recently New Mexico and Texas.
The stink bug has received major media attention since September 2010, when its populations exploded in the mid-Atlantic states and it started invading homes in huge numbers. Stink bugs get their name from the offensive odor they emit as a defensive measure when disturbed.
Here's what stink bugs do… and when they do it:
From February through April, stink bugs wake up from hibernation and become a nuisance around the house. April 1 is the start of the stink bug mating season and the day to start using the RESCUE!® Stink Bug Trap outdoors. This is the time where their numbers begin to multiply exponentially, as a single female stink bug can lay up to 400 eggs over the course of a summer.
From May through August, those eggs hatch and the flightless, juvenile stink bugs – called nymphs – start feeding on vegetables and fruit. From July to September, nymphs become adult stink bugs, which can fly, and continue feeding in gardens, fruit trees, field crops and orchards.
As plants are harvested and food sources dry up in September and October, stink bugs begin seeking places to spend the winter. Homes are a prime target, and they can find easy entry through cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, underneath wood fascia and vented openings in attics. From October to January, stink bugs hibernate in sheltered locations within the home. They wake up in late winter and early spring when sensing warmth from the home's heating system or outdoors, and start their irritating cycle all over again.
What's your stink bug story? Share about your encounters here.
Want to break the stink bug cycle? Learn about the RESCUE!® Stink Bug Trap here.