A fairly normal reaction to a bug in your house is to squash it. Most of us don’t even think about it first. We just see an insect or spider crawling across our floor or up our wall and we squish it immediately. This goes doubly if it’s a species of bug we’re not immediately familiar with. If you do this and a foul, lingering, odor fills the air, there’s a good chance you’ve just had an encounter with a stink bug.
Don’t feel too bad if you don’t immediately recognize a stink bug. In North America, stink bugs are an invasive species that wasn’t introduced until the late 90’s. Since then, stink bugs have spread across 41 states and counting. Like all invasive species, stink bugs have the advantage of lacking the predators they had in their original country. Without predation, controlling populations of this relatively recent pests is quite challenging. Stink bugs have been a very expensive menace to agriculture throughout the country.
In a home they are fortunately not a menace, only a nuisance. Stink bugs lack the mouth parts necessary to bite a human being. They are also not known vectors for any form of disease. That is not to say that a stink bug is a welcome addition to your home. Aside from just the disgust or discomfort caused by having bugs in your home, stink bugs have the additional problem of their namesake stench. Stink bugs release a foul odor when they’re threatened as a defense mechanism. A stink bug infestation can very easily lead to a lingering stench in your home strong enough to force you to spend a night in a hotel.
Your vacuum cleaner is your best friend in removing stink bugs from your home in limited quantities. If you spot one or two stink bugs, vacuuming them up, dumping the vacuum outside, and washing it thoroughly is the best way to avoid dealing with their scent for too long. Stink bugs live in the walls of houses for the winter months. An abundance of stink bugs in your house during the spring and summer likely suggests an infestation. Also, bear in mind that the warmth of a human home can confuse the bugs, so there is a chance of them exiting your walls in the cooler months. If you suspect a stink bug infestation, it’s best to call in a pest control expert. As previously mentioned, stink bugs are an invasive species. That means there are currently no methods of eradicating an infestation that don’t necessitate chemicals that can be harmful to you or your family if used incorrectly.