OSU Extension: Why are there brown marmorated stink bugs in my house?

·4 min read

Why are they in my house? You probably last saw these stink bugs hanging out on your house last fall. At some point, they found some way into your house — maybe through the eaves, maybe through a gap in a door or window, or maybe through some unsealed point in your attic.

They need somewhere sheltered to survive the winter, and stink bugs find our homes quite suitable. Once inside, they are protected from the elements and can ride out the winter in comfort.

The brown marmorated stink bug is invading the area.
The brown marmorated stink bug is invading the area.

Why am I seeing them now? As the weather cools down, these insects shut down. The same way we think of bears hunkering down and hibernating in a den stink bugs slow down all their body processes and wait for spring. Most of the time this happens in places in our house we can’t see, but sometimes these bugs wake up a little and move around.

When we get warm on sunny winter days or when we’re really cranking the thermostat, the stink bugs wake up a bit and move around in a half-awake stupor. They are slow-moving, clumsy, and heat-seeking, which explains why people most often see them slowly crawling around in their bathrooms (attracted to the heat of the shower) or in the kitchen (attracted to the heat of the stove).

What are they up to? Honestly, not much. They are just biding their time until there is warm weather outside. This means they are not laying eggs, not making more stink bugs, not damaging our homes, and not biting. At worst, they will release a bad smell when you crush them.

How do I get rid of them? Not dealing with bugs can be one of the bright spots of a winter, so seeing stink bugs now is frustrating. The best thing to do is squish them and throw them in the trash. If you prefer a zero contact solution, you can suck them up with a small vacuum and deposit them outside. If you’re feeling vindictive, you can flush them down the toilet or offer them to your pet as a toy.

Buying something to spray or concocting something from your pantry isn’t worth the time or effort. If you want to avoid these unwelcome visitors altogether, spend some time in the warmer months sealing up your house. This can cut down on heating bills and keep unwanted bugs out.

Source: Integrated Pest Management IPM

The OSU Extension Beef Team is offering a Virtual Beef School with one webinar per month beginning next week and concluding in April. The first webinar features economist Dr. Andrew Griffith of the University of Tennessee presenting on Beef Markets and Outlooks at 6 p.m. on Monday. Interested attendees can register for this and any of the other webinars for free by visiting: https://go.osu.edu/beefschool22.

Jan. 24: Beef Markets and Outlook with Dr. Andrew Griffith, Tennessee Extension Livestock Economist

Feb. 21: Weather Impacts on Beef Production & Mud Impacts on Performance with Dr. Aaron Wilson, OSU Extension Climatologist and Kirsten Nickles, PhD Candidate, OSU Animal Sciences

March 21: Herd Health Management Update with Dr. Justin Kieffer DVM, OSU Animal Sciences

April 11: OSU Beef Team Live Roundtable, Q&A session with OSU Extension Beef Team members

Agronomy Day 2022 in Fairfield County, including Pesticide & Fertilizer Recertification set for Feb. 8 at the Ag Center

Much of the program will focus on the effective use of appropriate amounts of fertilizer, and correctly choosing and applying pesticides. A sampling of the topics that will be covered include: effectively utilizing appropriate amounts of nitrogen, managing a herbicide program in spite of chemical shortages, the carbon credit market. Those in attendance can earn both Pesticide and Fertilizer REcertification.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling OSU Extension in Fairfield County at 740-653-5419. Registration for the Agronomy Day program is $20 per person, and includes lunch. Participants who bring at least one of their recent soil test reports will receive, for free, a copy of the new Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Alfalfa (Extension Bulletin E-2567).

Participants wanting to acquire their Private Pesticide or Fertilizer REcertification during Agronomy Day on Feb. 8 may do so for no additional charge. Lunch will be provided. Agronomy Day is sponsored in part by the Ohio Soybean Council. Masks will not be required but may always be worn for the comfort of the individual participants. For more details, contact Carrie Brown, Ag Educator or Stan Smith, Program Assistant at 740-653-5419.

The OSU Extension Office Update is compiled by Connie Smith, program assistant and master gardener coordinator with the Ohio State University Extension Office in Fairfield County.

This article originally appeared on Lancaster Eagle-Gazette: Why are there brown marmorated stink bugs in my house?