The unseasonably warm weather last winter could bring a more than usual amount of the area’s smelliest pests this fall.
Brown marmorated stink bugs, an invasive species hailing from Asia, have been showing up across the U.S. for years, and made their way to the Rochester area several years ago.
The bugs chew up over 100 types of plants and crops, including shrubs, apples and various vegetables, and have caused major agriculture issues across the country. While western New York agriculture hasn’t been significantly affected in recent years, a stink bug locator map on a website called Stop BMSB designates New York as reporting “severe agricultural and nuisance problems” related to the pests.
The half-inch long critters shelter in cracks and crevices in the winter, make their way out in the warmer months and are now trying stay warm inside homes as temperatures drop. The warm winter could have helped their incubation period, which means residents may see more of them crawling around, said Amanda Grisa of Cornell Cooperative Extension.
“They’re not going to be as affected by overwintering — warmer winters help the incoming generation,” said Grisa.
On the flip side, they also need moisture, so the dry summer could have dealt a blow to the overall stink bug population, she said.
The pests often appear around windows and doors inside homes, but they’re mostly a nuisance and not costly for homeowners, said Chris Hahn, vice-president of operations for exterminator company BUGMAN of Rochester. If you discover one, it’s likely more are waiting to be found, he said.
“If they can’t go outside, they are going to work their way into the interior of your home,” said Hahn. Studies show that light-colored homes tend to attract more of the bugs, said Hahn.
Resist the temptation to squash the bugs, unless you are curious about why these insects are called stink bugs.
Prevention is the easiest way to combat stink bugs, he said. Seal cracks and other openings around door jams and windows with caulk.
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