If the beauty of perfume lies in its ability to retain the essence of the wearer long after he or she has left the room, then it must also be true that the much maligned brown marmorated stink bug has the same ability, albeit their scent, which is said to resemble that of a skunk, only it is far from beautiful or alluring.
In fact, it stinks, hence this unimaginative moniker for this invasive insect pest.
In addition to the significant damage this bugger can cause to fruits and plants, stink bugs are an incredible nuisance to industrial settings. They cannot help but interface with people, as the adults love to spend the winter inside warm commercial buildings and factories.
They are not known to bite humans or cause building or structural damage, but when they are disturbed, they do release a very unpleasant odor from the scent gland situated on their abdomens, an odor known to affect human health. All of this makes infestations a tremendous nuisance that requires the expert services of knowledgeable and highly professional technicians to employ proper exclusionary and exterminatory measures to eradicate them (ahem… as in the seasoned technicians at Pestco!)
Read on to learn more about this bothersome, vexatious bug, or call our team today to rid your commercial establishment from the stink of the stink bug — (412) 252-5200.
8 Interesting Facts About Stink Bugs
The Stink Bug Is Not Native To North America
Indigenous to Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea, this bug was unknown to the United States until it was spotted in 1998 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It is believed that these insects hitched a ride as stowaways aboard ships either in packing crates or on machinery. Since that time, their numbers have exploded and they can be found in almost every state and also several provinces in Canada.
Stink Bugs Can Emit Two Scents
While it seems safe to say that both of the stink bug’s scents stink, they are still different. The first is a pungent smell, which is a defense against predators, but the other is a pheromonethat is released when an insect finds a safe place to hibernate for the colder months of the year.
The smell has been described in a number of ways. According to a New York Times article, when threatened, “the bug secrets a chemical that smells anything from skunk to cilantro, depending on whom you ask.” Some of our Pestco professionals even say it can smell like burnt tire.
Their Name Has Greek Origins
Stink bugs belong to the family, Pentatomidea, of the order Hemiptera. The name is derived from the Greek words, pente, meaning ‘five’ and tomos denoting ‘segment’ or ‘section’.
Stinkbugs Have A Natural Camouflage
One species of stink bug known as Brochymena arborea resembles tree bark so remarkably that it is easily mistaken for the bark of a tree without careful observation. This serves as protection from its predators.
Some Stink Bugs Are Brilliantly Colored
Stink bugs are masters of camouflage with their shades of green or brown to mimic tree bark and plants, but some species are showy and even garish in coloration. The Harlequin Stink bug is hard to miss with its brilliant red, orange, yellow and white markings,and the unusual, red and black Two Spotted Stink Bug, also known as the double-eyed soldier bug, never goes unnoticed.
Stink Bug Odor Can Affect Human Health
In some instances, stink bug odor can trigger allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes. Although rare, contact with crushed bugs cause skin rashes in some people.
Some Stink Bugs Help Control Pest Populations
Although most of these insects are very destructive, those within the subfamily, Asopinae, are predators of other insects, and play an important role in keeping plant pests under control.
Some Stink Bug Mothers (And A Few Fathers) Guard Their Young
Some species exhibit parental concern for their progeny. The mother will often maintain a vigil over her cluster of eggs, aggressively acting as a shield to prevent parasitic wasps from laying eggs within them. A recent study revealed that the fathers of two stink bug species also guarded the eggs, which is highly unusual among male insects.
Stink Bug Appearance and Characteristics
According to North Dakota State University, there are 4,700 species of stink bugs in the world, and about 250 living within the United States and Canada.
This insect, also known as the Shield Bug, gets its name from the brown marbling pattern on its back. It is easily recognizable by its five-sided or shield-shaped body.
Adult stink bugs are about 3/4″ in length and broad, with sucking mouth-parts and a set of foul-smelling defensive glands located underneath their bodies.
They are considered true bugs for three reasons.
First, their sucking mechanisms, which are specialized mouth parts that are used to suck juices from plants; secondly, they also have many of the same body parts as other insects which include: an ekoskeleton, segmented bodies and six legs; thirdly, all true bugs go through an incomplete metamorphosis, which means thatthey hatch as nymphs from their egg as a miniature version of the adult bug.
Stink bugs present problems to both homes and industry, particularly in warmer weather, which allows their bodies to heat up. Their bodies are unable to manufacture heat; they hibernate during the colder months of the year, usually on the side of something that is warm, such as the inside of a commercial building or residence.
Their shelter is the same as ours and they are often found in buildings, homes and factories on lampshades, computers, curtains and screens. Adults are shaped like a shield and are gray or dark green in color. They have alternating light bands on the antennae and dark bands on the outer edge of the abdomen.
Stink bugs usually produce a single generation per year, but sometimes very warm weather can push production up to two or even three generations. During the warmer months of the year,the underside of leaves and stemsbecome ‘nests’ where the females attach large clusters of eggs. There are five stages of development from wingless nymphs to full-sized winged adults.
Industrial Damage Caused by Stink Bugs To Pittsburgh
Although stink bugs are just annoying for the average homeowner, for the business world and the agricultural industry particularly, this insect is a threat to that all-important bottom line of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania businesses.
Throughout the nation, these bugs cause severe damage to many crops and plants. They love fruit and have been known to attack apple orchards, peaches, figs, mulberries, citrus fruits, corn, tomatoes, green peppers and persimmons as well as ornamental plants, weeds, and soybeans grown for food production.
Fruit is permanently damaged because stink bugs utilize their piercing and sucking mouthparts to feed on the juices of the plant. As a result, the fruit becomes distorted and unmarketable. Some unfortunate growers have lost everything they have to these invasive pests and the agriculture industry in general has incurred losses in the millions due to ruined crops.
The problem with pest management and control is aggravated by the fact that although stink bugs do have a few natural predators, their numbers are far too small to cause substantial results in their elimination. Pesticides, too, have a limited effect, and in many instances, may do more harm than good if applied on the scale that would be necessary to control them.
In the case of field crops, the damage is usually not evident upon first inspection. When they attack corn, the end result is shriveled kernels, which occur as a result of the way they feed, which is via piercing the kernels and sucking out their juices through the husk. Soybeans receive the same fate as well.
Another factor concerning stink bug infestations is the fact that they are often characterized by an “edge effect.” These pests usually attack crops that lay within the first 30 to 40 feet from the field’s edge.
Other industries too are vulnerable to the insect infestations, particularly businesses that ship products overseas. This includes cars and other vehicles that are manufactured in areas of the United States where brown marmorated stink bugs are known to inhabit.
To prevent infestations, these vehicles are always fumigated or heated to temperatures over 122 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours before many international ports will allow them ingress. These measures can be and often are costly.
In addition to fruit and plant damage, stink bugs are a nuisance to people in industrial settings. They cannot help but interface with people as the adults spend the winter inside warm houses, buildings and factories.
They are not known to bite humans or cause building or structural damage, but when they are disturbed, they do release a very unpleasant odor from the scent gland situated on their abdomens. Infestations can be a tremendous nuisance and always require the expert services of the knowledgeable and highly professional Pestco technicians to eradicate.
Studies and Statistics About Stink Bug Damage
According to the United States Apple Association,in 2010 stink bugs caused $37 million in damage to apple growers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Those invasions in Pennsylvania caused severe financial losses in apple and peach orchards.
In neighboring states, stink bugs have also damaged tomatoes, lima beans and green peppers. According to experts at the Penn State Cooperative Extension, a few years ago, an infestation ruined nearly half of Pennsylvania’s peach crop, which resulted in a financial loss of $15 million. Similarly, some two years ago, another invasion into the Mid Atlantic region’s apple crop caused a $37 million revenue loss.
Researchers at a government lab are currently conducting studies to determine whether a non-stinging parasitic wasp that preys on brown marmorated stink bug eggs in China, Japan and South Korea can be introduced in the United States.
Allowing ingress to this insect, which is no bigger than the head of a pin, might contain stink bug infestations because they lay their eggs in the eggs of the stink bugs, but it is also very risky and can backfire because it too can also become an invasive pest and destroy other insects that are beneficial to our already threatened eco-system.
In the words of Tracy Leskey, a research entomologist for the Agricultural Research Service: “Regardless of the risk, the wasps are needed to control the brown marmorated stink bug and its damage to crops. This is our priority number one for sure.
Pittsburgh Stink Bug Prevention and Solutions
Exclusionary tactics are the best ways to prevent stink bugs from entering commercial buildings. This means insuring that they have no means of ingress. Cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath flat wood surfaces under roofs and other openings should be sealed with good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk.
Damaged screens on doors and windows should be repaired or replaced, and any stink bugs can be physically removed from walls and windows via a simple vacuum cleaner, which can help prevent infestations from forming.
Natural remedies, such as garlic sprays may work in the short run, but a severe infestation requires heavy and highly professional answers that only professionals such as our highly trained pest control specialists at Pestco.
A past Virginia Tech study indicated that sometimes homemade stink bug traps could be more effective than professional traps, but once again, this depends heavily upon the scale and severity of the infestation. It should also be stated that delays in calling for professional help could be counter-productive and result in a more resistant infestation.
Pestco is totally committed to using eco-friendly solutions to control insect infestations in commercial and industrial spaces whenever it is possible. Our five-star rated, family owned and operated business has been in continuous operation since the 1940s and we are passionate about providing the best pest control and pest management strategies to our many customers.
Our progressive solutions executed by extremely knowledgeable technicians allow business owners and managers some peace of mind and the ability to focus on business operations instead of insect infestations. Our holistic approach to pest control and pest management means we do not use harmful chemicals and pesticides to deal with invasive insect pests.
Throughout the years, Pestco has developed a superior customer service reputation.
Located in suburban Pittsburgh, we service many high profile accounts, including Heinz Field and PNC Park. We also service many other counties and outlying areas throughout Western Pennsylvania as well as parts of Ohio and West Virginia.
Call Pestco today — (412) 252-5200. We’re here to solve all your pest control and environmental odor problems.
Pittsburgh’s Comprehensive Facility Hygiene Care Program
We have developed a three-pronged bundled initiative specifically directed at commercial and industrial facilities.
It is a program designed specifically to provide cost-effective, professional pest management, air freshening and environmental odor control strategies in one package that will meet (and exceed) all state and local health and hygiene regulations.
Washroom hygiene services provided by Enviro-Master and environmental and air freshening solutions supplied by Air-Scent combine to present a highly desirable package of products and services for commercial and industrial business facilities.
This offering is vitally important to any business enterprise seeking word of mouth referrals and return customers which are the at the heart of increasing that all important bottom line.