Winter temperatures in upstate New York may be lower than winter temperatures in many other US states, but the cold climate does not mean that New York homeowners are free of household insect pest issues. In fact, the cold temperatures in the region could make certain insect pests more problematic than usual, and this is certainly the case when it comes to stink bugs. For the past several years, many upstate New Yorkers have come to learn that they have been sharing their home with brown marmorated stink bugs. The bugs are masters at locating warm indoor locations during the fall in order to overwinter. Once temperatures begin to rise during the springtime, these stink bug invaders emerge from their indoor hiding spots in order to make their way back outside. However, stink bugs in New York are not always efficient about re-establishing an outdoor habitat after overwintering indoors; instead, the insects languish indoors in clear sight of a home’s occupants during their transition to an outdoor habitat. This makes their sudden springtime presence within New York homes a nuisance to say the least.
The oval-bodied brown marmorated stink bug adult is typically around five eighths of an inch in length and they are recognizable for their hard shells and for the defensive odor that they emit. This odor has been described as everything from foul to tolerable. The odor is emitted from the bug’s abdomen and it reportedly smells initially like cilantro before leaving an after-smell reminiscent of rotten eggs. Heavy infestations can cause homes to become saturated with this foul odor. Although stink bugs may be slow to leave a house come spring, the insects desperately want to access the outdoors in order to lay eggs and continue their life cycle. In order to prevent stink bug infestations within homes and in agricultural areas, researchers released the bug’s natural predator, Samurai wasps, into upstate New York’s natural environment last year. Cornell University entomologist, Peter Jentsch, is hoping that these wasps will reduce the number of indoor infestations in upstate New York.
Have you ever spotted a stink bug within your home?