Are you noticing an increased appearance of a shield-shaped insect that is brown and gray in color? Does this bug leave a foul odor after you or a loved one quickly kills it? If the answer is yes to the above questions, then you’ve most likely been dealing with stink bugs.
Stink bug basics
The stink bug is an invasive species introduced to the United States over 20 years ago from parts of Asia. They are also referred to as shield bugs. These bugs are on many farmers and gardener’s most hated list. There are over 200 species in North America, but the most common species in the United States is called the Brown Marmorated stink bug.
Shield bugs have glands located around the lower abdominal area. They only emit a foul-smelling odor when they feel threatened or nervous. If you smash them you will surely smell them, because when you squash them, you also squash their defensive stink gland sacs.
The Brown Marmorated stink bug is definitely an annoying insect, but don’t worry, because they can’t hurt us! During the rest of this reading journey, we will be covering the following: If stink bugs can chomp on us, their preferred environment, why they stink, and ways to protect your garden, farms, and homes from this funky bug!
Do stink bugs bite?
In this section of the article, we are going to be addressing one of the most frequently asked questions. Yes, some species of stink bugs have the ability to bite humans. However, most stink bugs don’t bite. They are way more likely to become afraid and consequently spray their defensive liquid into the air and onto us. They cannot harm us and they are not a threat to pets either.
Even though we cannot be greatly affected by these annoying bugs, it is possible to have a minor allergic reaction to them. Minor skin irritation and a slight runny nose are the worst allergic reactions to stink bugs that occur. People who are allergic to them only experience those reactions if they touch a smashed shield bug. Also, simply smelling the odor can cause this reaction too, but if you touch an uncrushed stink bug you will be fine. It’s the odor and liquid that specifically comes from the stink bug’s gland that you could be allergic to.
The perfect stink bug environment
During the warmer seasons, Shield bugs love to live in fruit, vegetables and soy farm fields. They also enjoy living in a typical home garden. The Brown Marmorated stink bug mostly feeds off of plants, leaves, and fruits. Some stink bugs eat pests, and those are the types that farmers and environmentalists love because they reduce the number of agricultural pests. However, Brown Marmorated stink bugs do not protect the fields, they are one of the species that destroy many farmers’ crops.
When the cold weather season starts moving in, these annoying bugs try to move in with us. Our homes are warm and filled with delicious food and plants. Therefore, our homes are everything that a shield bug has ever wanted. However, unless you’re a true insect lover, we completely understand that they might annoy you or gross you out.
How to protect your farm and garden
If you’re a farmer or a gardener, we understand you wanting nothing to do with this bug. After all, they’re notorious for destroying precious fruit and the result is a loss of crop yield and a loss of profit in the world of farmers. The only good news regarding their plant devouring tendencies is that their bite and enzymes from their saliva are only harmful to the plants. If you eat a fruit or vegetable that’s been bitten, you won’t get sick. Below is a list of ways that will help you to protect your fields and gardens from this pesky bug.
Ways to keep farms and gardens safe:
- Keep tall grasses, brambles, and weeds to a minimum: Stink bugs love to find shelter in tall grasses during bad weather. It’s a place to get some warmth and nutrients simultaneously. If we stunk bugs, we’d want to stay near gardens that provided a safe and nutritionally satisfying atmosphere too
- Install a bunch of stink bug traps around your garden: There are various kinds of stink bug traps. Some are sticky traps, others are special light and scent traps. Be sure to frequently check your traps, so that they don’t fill up and eventually become useless. Bug traps do their jobs excellently, but depending on the area that you live in, you might have to set up several traps and replace them more often than others
- Set up a bug net over your fields and gardens: Bug nets will prevent most medium to large-sized bugs from getting into your precious fruits, veggies, and other beautiful plants
- Use a safe and approved pesticide for your gardens and fields: If you’re not aiming to claim that your fruits and veggies are organic or all natural, this option might be one of the easiest solutions for you! Just make sure to follow all the directions and safety precautions to a T
Protecting your home from invasion
We understand you want your house to yourself, your loved ones, and pets only!
Therefore, we highly recommend you start checking the foundations of your home for any cracks during the late summer or early fall. Also, make sure that every window and the door is sealed properly. If you already have some stink bugs in your house, a great way to get rid of them is to vacuum them up and then boil cinnamon on the stove to eliminate any stink bug odors.
Overall, the Brown Marmorated stink bug is an insect that is harmless to us. The only things they can destroy are plants and crops. They won’t bite you, and they are not toxic to us.