Stink bug invasion

Published 12:46 pm Thursday, March 1, 2018

It’s almost that time of year — when pests become more of a nuisance due to coming out of dormancy. The UK College of Agriculture Food and Environment extension office recently released a newsletter regarding pest control. The newsletters cites a statistic that 93 percent of Kentucky householders will call the exterminator or purchase bug spray if they see so much as one cockroach, cricket or spider.

Pests such as insects and rodents enter the home due to changes in the weather. One of the most prolific pests in Kentucky homes is that of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB). This particular stink bug is more than just an annoying presence in the home. It’s an invasive species from China, Japan and Taiwan. Invasive species can prove to be very problematic. They enter the home in droves during the fall and tend to leave an unpleasant odor and stain if smashed.

The BMSB feeds on a variety of trees, fruits, vegetables, flowers and crops. Apple and peach orchards, blackberry, sweet corn, tomato, lima beans, and green pepper crops have all been damaged by the insect.

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There are measures to be taken to ensure that stink bugs don’t enter the home, or at the very least, greatly reduce the numbers that enter the home.

If there any cracks around windows, doors, siding, pipes, etc. — sealing such cracks and openings with caulk is optimal. Silicone or silicone-latex is best. Using exterior ready insecticide can help cut back on invading forces — not just stink bugs, but virtually all kinds of insects. Spray around window and door frames. Sprays with the active ingredients of deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, and permethrin are preferred.

If stink bugs have already invaded your home you can still locate suspected areas of entry and seal them. While indoor pest sprays, dusts and foggers can kill the bugs, using them if they have gained access to wall voids and attic areas, the dead bugs can attract carpet beetles, which will in turn attack woolens, dried goods and other natural products you have in your home.

The treatment for stink bugs in an ongoing, imperfect process.

“I think folks need to be aware of this new pest. They are similar to our native brown stink bugs, but are likely to be much more destructive of our fruit and vegetable crops. Timely scouting for this pest will be critical to avoid major impacts on our crops. This goes for commercial growers and backyard gardeners,” stated Bell County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Stacy White.