Subject: Stink bug?
Geographic location of the bug: Framingham, MA
Time: 03:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hello Bugman!
My daughter reached out to me with pics of an insect she and her hubby are finding in their new home in Framingham, MA. Apparently with the cold weather, they’re finding an increasing number of these critters around the windowsills. They look suspiciously like stink bugs, yet I’ve seen other similar-looking insects that are not stink bugs.
Please advise. Thank you!
How you want your letter signed: Kenda
This is indeed a Stink Bug. It is an invasive, exotic Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, an Asian species first discovered in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the late 1990s, and it has now spread across North America. It poses a serious threat to agriculture as it is known to feed from over 300 different plant species. According to BugGuide: “n the US, reported to damage apples, pears, peaches, cherries, corn, tomatoes, peppers, soybean, ornamentals…” Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs frequently enter homes to hibernate when the weather cools. They will not harm the home, but they are a nuisance if they are plentiful.
Thank you, Daniel. What would you suggest to be the least harmful way to remove them from the home? Should my daughter and son-in-law be concerned about eggs in and around the home or do the Stink Bugs lay on specific plants/crops?
When it comes to invasive species like the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, we have no reservations about squashing individuals found in the home. If you are concerned about not harming the bug, the best way to remove it is with a martini glass or wine glass. Trap the insect in the vessel and slip a postcard under the rim and then transport the insect outside. We use that method with stinging insects and any that we do not want to handle either because they might bite or because they are especially delicate. We doubt they will lay eggs in the home, and the list of outdoor plants upon which they will feed is quite extensive, so we are presuming something they will eat is growing in your daughter’s yard.
Update: February 17, 2019
A Facebook comment by Fern mentioned this New Yorker article where it states: “What makes the brown marmorated stinkbug unique, though, is not just its tendency to congregate in extremely large numbers but the fact that it boasts a peculiar and unwelcome kind of versatility. Very few household pests destroy crops; fleas and bedbugs are nightmarish, but not if you’re a field of corn. Conversely, very few agricultural pests pose a problem indoors; you’ll seldom hear of people confronting a swarm of boll weevils in their bedroom. But the brown marmorated stinkbug has made a name for itself by simultaneously threatening millions of acres of American farmland and grossing out the occupants of millions of American homes.”