They have a comical sounding name, but these insects currently infesting sections of the United States are no laughing matter.
Sightings of the brown marmorated stink bug are being reported at a high frequency across the south.
There have been reports of the foreign invader in South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky among other places this month.
They’re “everywhere right now,” according to WSB-TV.
The brown marmorated stink bug gets its name because “these insects are capable of emitting a strong, foul odor if disturbed,” according to Clemson University, which said the bugs have been spotted in South Carolina dating back to 2011.
Sightings of the bugs have become numerous because they are looking for a home during the winter, Orkin entomologist Tim Husen said, per WSB-TV.
Clemson says the stink bugs are not native to the United States, but actually are from Japan, Korea and China. They were first reported in Pennsylvania in 2001, and since then have “spread throughout the Mid-Atlantic area,” and still moving south.
The insects are trying to get into a home. But if you find them, do not try to remove them by squashing them with a newspaper, a swat of the hand or a shoe.
According to Clemson professor Eric Benson the stench is the stink bugs’ form of defense, saying “they produce a foul odor and secretion when they feel threatened,” foxcarolina.com reported.
There are alternatives to get rid of the stink bugs, without them releasing a stench.
Placing receptacles filled with soapy water will attract and “not only kills them but offers relief from their disagreeable odor,” Purdue University entomology professor Christian Krupke said, according to the Evansville Courier & Press. Sucking them into a vacuum cleaner or sweeping them into a dustpan is also recommended.
Use of a bug bomb is not recommended by Husen, who said the stink bugs’ carcasses seeking to eat them, creating a different infestation, WSB-TV reported.
But the best defense is preventing the bugs from getting into the home in the first place. Well-sealed windows and doors can help keep the stink bugs outside, Benson said, per foxcarolina.com.
Nature’s natural deterrent to stink bugs are not available in the United States, as their natural predators did not accompany them to the western hemisphere, Evansville Courier & Press reported.
Stink bugs won’t destroy a home and do not pose a threat to people, unless they are ingested, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
They are a problem for farmers, as the insects can devour and destroy fruit crops, foxcarolina.com reported.
Clemson reported that damage will vary, saying “ornamental plants, fruit trees, vegetables and legumes” are at risk, and can be rendered “unsalable.”