Stink Bug Forecast: Record Numbers of the Smelly Pest Likely to Reemerge as Weather Warms

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

After a brutal winter that sent stink bugs into hiding, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is warning homeowners that these pests will become active again with the warm weather and that their growing populations are likely to make infestations significantly worse than in previous seasons.

"Findings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the size of overwintering populations support NPMA's prediction that this season's stink bug population will be larger than in the past," says Jim Fredericks, director of technical services for the NPMA. "As the weather warms, stink bugs emerge from overwintering sites and try to exit structures, but sometimes they enter our living spaces instead."

Brown marmorated stink bugs are an invasive species from Asia that arrived in Pennsylvania in 1996 and can now be found from South Carolina to New Hampshire and west to Indiana, as well as in California and Oregon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture warns that stink bugs have the potential to spread throughout the country, which could be harmful to the agricultural industry, as they destroy crops.

"Although these smelly pests do not pose serious property or safety threats to homeowners, their tendency to invade homes in high numbers can be a nuisance," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "Luckily, there are steps people can take to prevent stink bugs from entering their homes."

NPMA offers the following tips:

  • Seal cracks around windows, doors, electrical outlets, ceiling fans and light switches. 
  • Replace outdoor lighting with yellow bulbs, which are less attractive to stink bugs.
  • Repair damaged window screens. Also screen attic and crawlspace vents.
  • Use a vacuum to eliminate stink bugs indoors. Seal vacuum's contents in a plastic bag and dispose of it immediately.
  • If an infestation develops, contact a professional promptly.
  • Remember that a licensed pest professional can pre-treat homes for stink bugs before they become a problem.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.

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