Stink Bugs Q and A

Brown marmorated stink bug adult female Stink Bugs Q and A

Photo Courtesy of: BuggSlayer

Asian Stink Bugs have invaded the East Coast of the US, and are causing home owners trouble as they infiltrate homes, cars, and workplaces.  They’ve made it all the way to the local news, the CBS Nightly News, and the blogosphere so far, but the practical answers on where they came from, how to manage them, and what to do about that smell, had yet to be answered – until now!

University of Maryland’s Michael Raupp, Professor of Ornamental Horticulture and Entomology, took 25 questions about where stink bugs come from, why they’re invading now, and how to get them out of your life.  His complete tips, advice, and insight can be found in this weeks Washington Post.

  1. Question: They’re everywhere! Not even the cats want to get near them, and they are usually master insect killers. What is the best way to kill them without them stinking up the place? We’ve been using a portable vacuum.      Answer: Ultimately, you will prevent these from becoming a nuisance in your household much the same way you prevent invasions by camel crickets ormulticolored Asian lady beetles. Actions good for energy conservations will aid in your battle against the bug. Eliminate points of entry around your foundation, windows, facer boards, attic vents, and eves by screening, caulking, and repair. If the little devils are already in your home, sweep or vacuum them, and send them to the great beyond in an environmentally appropriate way.I remove the appliance from the end of my vacuum and sick them up. Some folks have purchased shop vacs for the dedicated purpose of removing these stinkers. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bags after use because they will really get stinky. Good luck!I remember stinkbugs around here when I was growing up in the 1960s. The current “invasion” is a new species, but what are the differences? And the predators of the domestic species won’t go after the new ones? Why?
  2. Question: I remember stinkbugs around here when I was growing up in the 1960s. The current “invasion” is  a new species, but what are the differences? And the predators of the domestic species won’t go after the new ones? Why?  Answer: These stinkers are pretty much fresh off the boat from Asia. Unfortunately, they left their natural enemies behind. Most of the predators and parasites in the US seem unable to keep up with their ability to increase although I have seen preying mantids, assassin bugs, and spiders murdering them. The USDA is currently searching for biological control agents that can help in the battle. We will keep working and also keep our finger crossed.
  3. Question: What is the best DIY way to eliminate them – once they have invaded your home? I know how to seal up cracks, etc.. but how to you eliminate the ones that made it in? Finally, please discuss the normal life span of this bug and how they multiply. Is the life of a stink bug as short as the 10-day life of a fly? Thanks.  Answer: Once inside, just vacuum them up and dispose of the bag. These rascals live a long time. Adults entering your home now will emerge in spring, move outside and lay eggs on plants. The young are called nymphs and they will feed for several weeks during the summer before molting into adults. In New Jersey, there was a single generation each year but in parts of China there may be five generations. We suspect that there were two generations in parts of Maryland this year.
  4. Question: Are they going to be coming back again next year? Or is this a one time thing?  Answer: Yes, they are here to stay.
  5. Question: The Do’s and Don’ts has some good information for dealing with stink bugs at home, but what about in an agricultural setting? Farmers are reporting that they are doing massive damage to their crops… are there any organic or IPM-friendly ways to deal with these pests?  Answer: There is a huge amount of research underway to find new chemicals including organic ones to annihilate these buggers. Stink bugs are so infrequently a problem that they caught growers and the agrichemical industry by surprise. New products are in the pipeline as we speak and we hope to be able to do more next year.

For the complete article with tips, and advice, follow the link to the Washington Post above.

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  1. ethan@OPC says:

    I’ve heard lots of people talking about the stink bugs this year so it’s great to get some questions answered about them. Nice post!

  2. Amy says:


    Thanks! The Professor answered a lot of questions I had too.

  3. El Wint B. says:

    Great post! I was just at a farmers market a few days ago and they lost much of their crops to stinkbugs. They were testing everything they could think of to get rid of them (even shoe polish, which gave them min. success, but not sure they can use for plants). They let their chickens eat them, but couldn’t keep up.

  4. drew says:

    how long can they live?

  5. Todd says:

    I now have 2 stinkbugs living in my bathroom (usually hang around the small window above the shower). The first one has been there at least a few months and I don’t think there’s a food source in my bathroom. I kept telling myself mid-shower that I’d come back later and remove him, and I never did, so I kinda just got used to him….. and named him Barney.

    Now with the other one showing up I’m uncertain which one Barney is, which is oddly depressing. lol Embarrassingly enough, I’m presently typing this from the toilet while one of these guys is minding his own business walking around on a bath sponge on the counter next to me, which is what promoted me to Google him while on the toilet b/c I can’t believe they’re still alive after all this time. Ironically, I’ve never smelled their stink, meanwhile I’m the one currently stinkin’ him out.

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