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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Fornal

Pinch Your Nose! It's Stink Bug Season!

Pinch your nose, it’s the season for the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB)! This invasive insect was first detected in Wisconsin in 2010, and has since established its home in Wisconsin. This news, of course, stinks for many farmers, gardeners, and really anyone that is just yucked-out by this foul insect.

Initially the BMSB was attracted to apples and pumpkins, but the insect is overall attracted to a wide array of fruit, vegetable and grain crops and ornamental trees and bushes.

The BMSB originated in Asia, it wasn’t seen in the United States at all until the mid to late 1990’s, when it was spotted in Pennsylvania. Infestations of these insects tend to follow a pattern. They will start off by multiplying in urban areas, and then increase and spread into cropland.

Adult BMSBs are mottled grayish-brown in color and shield shaped. They are about ½-inch to ⅝-inch long. They emit a stinky defensive odor when disturbed or crushed.

The BMSB invades homes in the fall looking for a place to overwinter. You can find them congregating on the sides of buildings during warm months.

Although they do not carry disease or bite, they can cause allergies, they are a significant agricultural pest, and of course, they can be quite offensive to the nose.

Prevention of stinkbugs includes:

• Installing weather stripping under and around doors

• Screening attic and chimney vents

• Caulking and sealing cracks around windows and other entry points

• Replace outdoor lighting with yellow bulbs, which are less attractive to the BMSB

• Sweep the bugs into a bucket filled with soapy water, causing them to drown

• Vacuuming up large numbers of bugs at once, but take note that the vacuum will need to be emptied and possibly tossed outside for a time, and be aware that the vacuum cleaner may retain the stinking odor for awhile

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