If you haven’t already seen these odd-looking creatures, you most likely will soon. Native to China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea, the brown marmorated stink bug is thought to have inadvertently entered the United States in shipping containers in the mid-1990s.
First noticed in Pennsylvania, they were initially mistaken for a native stink bug species. Strong fliers and adept at hitchhiking, they quickly spread across the mid-Atlantic states.
Their name comes from the pungent, cilantro-like odor they emit when disturbed. While the brown marmorated stink bugs don’t bite humans, their voracious appetite for crops is making them a serious threat to agriculture.
They are also becoming a nuisance to homeowners. These pests love to overwinter in wall voids and attics. You may also find them flying around light fixtures or television sets, as they are attracted to the light.
The best way to remove them is with a vacuum. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag upon completion. They should not be handled with bare hands as they excrete chemicals that irritate skin and eyes. If you do pick them up with your hands, use a paper towel or a tissue.
To avoid an infestation, seal all potential entry points and have an exterior treatment performed by a pest management professional.