The Stink Bug Invasion

Oct 3, 2019

The brown marmorated stink bug
Credit extension.oregonstate.edu

As cooler weather arrives this fall, certain insects are looking to head indoors.  Among those bugs that want to share your home is a relative newcomer to Illinois. 

The brown marmorated stink bug has been showing up here since about 2010. 

You might find them on the sides of buildings seeking warmth.  Ken Johnson is an educator for the U of I Extension.

"It’s primarily a nuisance pest, getting into people’s houses," he said. "But this one is also a pest on crops, fruits and vegetables, stuff like that.”

Don't confuse the brown marmorated stink bug with the native stink bugs of the midwest. This invasive species has become more common to a point it is now considered a top concern for farmers.  They’ve already caused major crop damage in the eastern U.S.  The insect feeds on a range of crops such as fruits and vegetables, as well as corn and soybeans.  While pesticides are used against them, the stink bugs can be difficult to control.

Johnson said the best way to keep them out is to make sure gaps around doors, windows and other openings are sealed. 

"When you see them on your house, they are going to be on the south facing side that’s nice and warm, congregating on those areas and trying to get indoors so they have somewhere to spend the winter," said Johnson.

The stink bug gets its name from an odor it releases as a defense mechanism.