Adults are approximately 17 mm long (25 mm = one inch)
Shades of brown on both the upper and lower body surfaces. You may also find gray or dark green color too. They are the typical "shield" shape of other stink bugs, almost as wide as they are long. They have patches of coppery or bluish-metallic colored punctures (small rounded depressions) on the head and pronotum. The name "stink bug" refers to the scent glands located on the dorsal surface of the abdomen and the underside of the thorax.
They can typically be found in meadows, fields, yards and gardens where they have easy access to herbaceous plants and shrubs. They prefer warmer temperatures, but can be found in areas with cold winters as long as they can hibernate when the weather turns cold.
When handled or disturbed, individuals will produce a fairly sweet odor from glands in the thorax, thus the common name. The openings for these glands are readily seen on the last thoracic segment towards the sides of the insect. To make a stink bug release an odor, hold the insect with your thumb and forefinger on the sides.
It feeds on a wide variety of host plants. Fruits attacked include apples, peaches, figs, mulberries, citrus fruits and persimmons. This true bug has also been reported on many ornamental plants, weeds, and soybeans. Feeding on tree fruits such as apple results in a characteristic distortion referred to as “cat facing,” that renders the fruit unmarketable.
Stink Bug Prevention Tips
Before Bugs Enter a Building:
- The first thing you can do to keep stink bugs out of the area surrounding your home is to weed your garden and yard. Stink bugs use weeds as cover; once their cover is gone, they are unlikely to stick around for long.
- Mechanical exclusion is the best method to keep stink bugs from entering homes and buildings. Cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath the wood fascia and other openings should be sealed with good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk. Damaged screens on doors and windows should be repaired or replaced.
- If the bugs have infiltrated your home, make sure you seal up any areas through which they may have come. Focus on the areas that may have been a potential entry point for them, and then try to vacuum them out. This way you can prevent from crushing them and having their smell released into your home which may attract other stink bugs. You may need to repeat the process several times before the problem is resolved.
- Exterior applications of insecticides may offer some relief from infestations where the task of completely sealing the exterior is difficult or impossible. Applications should be done in the fall just prior to bug congregation.
After Stink Bugs Have Entered the Structure:
- If numerous bugs are entering the living areas of the home, attempt to locate the openings where the insects gain access. Typically, stink bugs will emerge from cracks under or behind baseboards, around window and door trim, and around exhaust fans or lights in ceilings. Seal these openings with caulk or other suitable materials to prevent the insects from crawling out. Both live and dead stink bugs can be removed from interior areas with the aid of a vacuum cleaner – however, the vacuum may acquire the smell of stink bugs for a period of time.
- Some people think that stink bugs can do damage to your home, or even your health, once they get inside. They can’t. They don’t cause damage or transmit diseases and are perfectly harmless. If they enter your home they are simply looking for shelter from the cold. Simply scoop them up by the tail end (although you might get sprayed for doing it) and move them to an area outside of your home.
- It is not advisable to use an insecticide inside after the insects have gained access to the wall voids or attic areas. Although insecticidal dust treatments to these voids may kill hundreds of bugs.
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