|From New Jersey.com|
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Holy halitosis! These pests are said to give off an odor that resembles sweaty socks, or ammonia, or cilantro. And the Asian insect invader known scientifically as the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, is headed to our town. In fact, it already is around, although not in swarms currently driving Americans bonkers in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. They are about an inch long and are making themselves comfortable, way too comfortable. News reports are describing a plague of stink bugs skittering into homes and workplaces as they seek shelter from the coming winter. The headlines are squeezing Cincinnati's bedbug infestation into a footnote. The bugs look for cracks to crawl through. They line up on roofs that face South. They don't bite. And they don't use Old Spice. Stink bugs get their name from a foul smelling liquid they create to deter predators. If you find a stink bug in the house, it is best to flush it down the toilet. Freeing it outdoors is not an option -- it will help the swarm reproduce quickly.
Ohio State University researchers say they found the first sign of stink bugs in Ohio just under three years ago. At that time, the colony wasn't breeding -- that's changed. The stink bug is a plant pest that immigrated into the United States from its home range in Japan and China. Another global import. Here's what OSU Extension Service reports:
"Sometimes called the yellow-brown stink bug, or the East Asian stink bug, it was first reported in the United States in 2001 from Allentown, Pennsylvania. It has since spread to New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, New York . . . Specimens have also been found in Massachussetts and Ohio . . . The brown marmorated stink bug feeds on fruits and seed pods of a wide range of plants. It is also a nuisance pest that invades buildings in the autumn."
That nuisance pest part looks like an understatement. In today's Pittsbrug Post Gazette, Doug Oster said the bugs smell when they're crushed or become alarmed. Some say the odor can make your eyes water. Supposedly, they can be killed by spraying them with soap and water. That means Dawn detergent is in the arsenal. Hoppy Kercheval in West Virginia reports the infestation really, really stinks:
"The stink bug has reached Biblical plague proportions in the eastern portion of West Virginia, parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. My brother, like everyone else in the region, is overwhelmed. 'Oh, God, it’s horrible. They’re everywhere,' he told me. 'I’m not even holding ground. I’m losing ground.' As he spoke to me by phone Thursday, there were a dozen or more stink bugs flying around the light above his head in his office."
"Jefferson County Extension Agent Craig Yohn talks about the stink bug as though he were referring to a nuclear blast. 'The epicenter for this year is in Smithsburg, Maryland,' Yohn said on Metronews Talkline this week. Yohn told me the stink bug has also moved into the crop fields, hitting peach and apple orchards particularly hard. 'When they find something good that they like, they send out a message of a pheromone that... stinks and draws their friends,' Yohn said. The infestation is worse now because the bugs sense winter is coming. As the days shorten, they start moving indoors, looking for places to spend the winter."