Though Stink Bugs are not native to our area, they have become quite a nuisance since they were first observed in Allentown PA in 1998! Many experts are predicting the mild winter will lead to an even heavier infestation of the ugly stinky bug this spring! Stink bugs wreak havoc on many crops including: tomatoes, apples, peaches, grapes, beans, corn and many ornamental plants. According to the U.S. Apple association, Mid Atlantic apple growers lost $37 million due to damage from stink bugs in 2010.
There are no known natural predators to stink bugs in our region so their population is booming. To control stink bugs use Bonide Eight or Bon-Neem which is an organic insecticide. To prevent them from entering your house identify gaps around windows, doors, and siding a seal them with an acceptable caulking material. Once inside it is best to capture stink bugs either by vacuuming them up or catching them with a sticky trap. Be aware that you will want to dump your vacuum bag to help keep the odor down. The carcasses should be removed so that carpet beetles cannot feed on them which could lead to a separate infestation.
Researchers are studying the introduction of a tiny wasp as a predator to minimize the rapid spread of stink bugs. These wasps are native to Asia and attack the eggs of stink bugs before they hatch. This species of wasps does not sting. Scientists have to consider whether introducing the Asian Wasp into the U.S is in the long term best interest of our country since they may also attack the eggs of beneficial insects too.