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Invasion of the stink bugs

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: October 3, 2013

A couple of these creepy critters were crawling on the outside of one of my window screens a couple of days ago.

Probably you've seen them around your house, too.

They're stink bugs -- specifically brown marmorated stink bugs, members of the species Halyomorpha halys. These non-native insects are fairly recent arrivals to Northeast Ohio, where they feast on fruit and vegetable plants and annoy us by finding their way into our homes, sometimes in large numbers. They don’t bite, but they do raise a stink – literally – when they’re squashed.

The bugs come in through openings in our homes, such as worn or missing door sweeps and cracks around window trim. If you’re finding the bugs inside your home, go on a sleuthing mission to identify possible entry points. Repair window screens, seal openings in exterior walls with caulk or foam, remove window air conditioners and fix worn weatherstripping.

You can remove the bugs that do get indoors with a vacuum cleaner. But if you don’t have a bypass-type vacuum – that is, one that doesn’t send dirt through an impeller – avoid making a smelly mess by using a piece of an old stocking to create a pouch between sections of the vacuum cleaner hose. The pouch will catch the bugs before they reach the motor, allowing you to take them outdoors where they belong.

More on stink bugs is in the Ohio State University Extension fact sheet Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and in the Sept. 19 issue of the Buckeye Yard & Garden Line



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