Originally from Taiwan, Japan, and China, the stink bug is also known as the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). They accidentally landed in the United States in 1998, and since then, they’ve become an invasive species to the country. Today, stink bugs are classified as stubborn pests during most of the growing seasons in the agricultural industry.
These critters are pretty small in size—adults can average about 1.5 centimeters in length and are just as wide. They almost look like a shield and you can find them in a variety of brown shades, with off-white, gray, copper, or black and blue markings. Stink bugs have six legs and some have alternating bands on their antennas and the outer edge of the abdomen.
In Japan, the stink bug’s favorite crop is soybeans. Every crops season, they cost farmers thousands of dollars in damages from the bruises they place on fruits. In the United States, they started feeding on fruits from the orchards, destroying the local farmers’ harvests.
Stink Bugs’ Strong Taste for Fruits
Researchers have found out that the stink bug is attracted to over 120 different species of fruits. Stink bugs are more likely to feed on ripe fruit from ornamental trees,and have an amazing ability to track ripening fruits.
When scientists removed all the fruits from a particular area, they noticed that the stink bugs never showed up, even though there were other plants in the area that they could feed on. This cemented the fact that that stink bugs genuinely have a preference for ripe fruits.
Once the fruit season is over, they go into hibernation for the colder climate. This seems to be the cycle that they live—eat during the spring and summer—mate in the fall— hibernate in winter. If they have a warm place to stay they will skip the hibernation part, so watch out for them inside your home!
A Growing Population
Since their invasion into the United States in 1998, the stink bug’s population has been increasing faster than those in China and Japan. Stink bugs normally have four generations per growing season,however, scientists have noticed that in certain areas around southeastern United States,the bugs have been having up to six generations within a growing season.
It is believed that the stink bug’s population is on the rise due to warmer climates in the early spring and summer around these expanses. The adult bugs are also living longer, maturing more generations, and laying more eggs than previous generations. This increase in population also means that more orchards will be destroyed, and more profit loss for the farmers who are growing the fruits.
Ways to Control the Population in Your Area
There are several methods for completely getting rid of stink bugs from your garden or surroundings. There are commercial pesticides as well as all-natural, non-toxic solutions so you don’t have to worry about harming yourself or anyone, including babies and pets.
Some natural solutions for getting rid of stink bugs include:
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Garlic Spray
- Soapy Water
- Neem Oil
Apart for soapy water (which you already have), these ingredients can be bought in local farm stores or online at places such Amazon.Follow the instructions and mix ingredients in water, add to a spray bottle and spray where necessary.
If stink bugs invade your home, you can simply sweep them outside or suckthem up in a vacuum. It’s recommended that you dump them into a container filled of soapy water so as to prevent them from escaping. You can also use bug zappers and fly tapes to zap and trap them.
For many years stink bugs have been a nuisance to commercial farmers, and they’ve now become a burden to local ranchers and gardeners. For more tips and tricks on how to control the stink bug population, research the specific kinds of plants that they feed on, and desist from growing them in areas where the population is rampant. And though hard to find, you could also try to have plants with fruits that ripen in the season when they’re not around.