These stink bugs won’t harm you or house; may damage plants

brown marmorated stink bug near window
You may notice brown marmorated stink bugs near windows. They’re trying to find a place to hang out for the winter. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Gardeners are once again beginning to notice brown marmorated stink bugs flying and crawling in their homes. These invasive pests are looking for a place to spend the winter.

They don’t pose any harm to humans and they won’t damage your home. However, they are ugly and annoying in your house. They make a loud buzzing when they fly and a big thump when they land. When you squish them, they stink.

More important, they feed on a wide range of plants.  See a list of plants here that they can feed on.  

John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, said he hasn’t received any samples of plant damage from home gardeners yet, “but I expect that will change in the coming years.”

The brown marmorated stink bug, an invasive species from Asia, arrived in Western New York in 2010. This pest hasn’t established a large population here yet, so there hasn’t been much damage to plants.

At my house it seems like the number of brown marmorated stink bugs has been decreasing since October 2018 (which seemed like a stink bug invasion).

But we shouldn’t get our hopes up.

“It’s good to hear you have not seen many lately,” Farfaglia said, “but last I heard there has not been any change in the longer term forecast that we should see increasing numbers in the future. I hope that forecast changes, but I have not heard anything to the contrary from entomolgists.”

Drat!

Are you seeing brown marmorated stink bugs where you live? Please leave a comment.

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19 Comments on “These stink bugs won’t harm you or house; may damage plants

  1. Hi Pam, thanks for sharing. I wonder if the diatomaceous earth is deterring the stinkbugs or if there are just fewer in the Buffalo area this year for some reason.

  2. In Parkside, we’ve had them for a few years. They like the southeast facing window in our bedroom where they crawl in through the small spaces between the triple track storms. If enough enter unnoticed, they take up residence in the space where the window weights are hung, and eventually make their way into fabric, closets and drawers.

    My strategy has been to sprinkle the windowsill and triple-track storm grooves with diatomaceous earth (DE) as a deterrent (the DE dehydrates them so they die), and if some still get in, using gloves I grab each one (carefully!), dunk it in the DE, and toss it outside. We have cream colored lace curtains, so they are pretty easy to spot. I check twice a day beginning in mid-September. This year, I’ve only found a dozen so far, and none in the last week.

    There are instructions online for making stink bug traps out of gallon soda bottles, and attracting them using a dish of soap with a bright light above. With our cats (3 of them kittens!), neither option would work for us.

    FWIW 🙂

  3. I never heard of stink bugs until my daughter was in college in Indiana a few years ago. Then the invasion came and they seemed to be drawn to her bedroom window. She warned me not to smoosh. This year I have noticed a few other places (at a winery in the southtowns especially) but not in Cheektowaga yet. I’m sure they are coming! Ugh!

  4. we have them in Orchard Park! Yes, 2018 was a banner year. The exterminator advised us not to smash them. He said the smell attracts more bugs. We pick them up with a paper towel and throw them back outside. We have not, yet, noticed any plant damage. Don’t know exactly what to look for?

  5. I have alot here in East Aurora. To the person with the cat – please be careful, my sister-in-laws cat got very sick from a stink bug.

  6. My cat, Willie is a great hunter of these. He spots them before we do… we will suddenly see him staring at something… then “talking” to it. We then will grab a tissue & flush the predator promptly down the toilet ! We are in Orchard Park.

  7. I had never heard of them until we were living in Georgia for a short time. When we moved back to NY I started seeing them, much to my surprise. Last year a few on the back deck. This year way more. I was warned while living in Georgia by friends not to hit to kill otherwise the ordor will ensue. I’m a nature lover, but these guys gross me out….Amherst NY

  8. We had MANY in the spring. And now I’m seeing them again, but so far, not in as great numbers. They are slow and clumsy. I tap them into a cup with a fly swagger and toss them outside rather than smush them!

  9. The stink bugs are back on Leydecker Rd , West Seneca. We have had about 10 so far. I pick them up with a tissue and flush them down the toilet. Found out they are good under water swimmers.

  10. I am also a Marmorated Murderer!!!
    The best way I have found is to use a small jar to catch them. Usually just a tap and they fall right in. Then the jar goes in the freezer. Sounds cruel but if they stayed outside where they belong Mother Nature would be doing the same thing.

  11. Call me a Marmorated Murderer. Just a few minutes ago there was one on the cabinet above the stove. I put a lid on the pot, grabbed a fly swatter (it was up too high to reach) &gave it a smack. It oozed down leaving a thin trail of guts. Ewwww, stinky!

  12. Yes…we have these lil’ critters in Elma. Always amazed to find them on our window & wonder how they get in the house through windows that do not open…..???

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