Brown marmorated stink bugs are attracted to fruit trees, vegetable gardens, berry bushes, and ornamental plants. Starting in late summer, they congregate around warm, heat-reflective surfaces that get plenty of sun exposure. The bugs near your home are probably looking for places to stay warm.
Stink bugs are frustratingly common in Michigan, but they seem more common in some places than others. Places like your home, for instance. If you feel like you have more stinkers than most people, it’s probably not your imagination. They really do prefer some homes over others. Here’s what the nuisance pests want, why they’re so attracted to your home, and what you can do about them:
Where Do Stink Bugs Come From?
The most common stink bug in Michigan is called the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys). Brown marmorated stink bugs are an invasive species originally native to Southeast Asia. They made their way to the US starting around 1998 and spread very quickly. In Michigan, they live around the tree fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, and legumes they feed on. During the spring and summer, they’re common around farms and gardens where they may be considered serious crop-destroying pests.
The stink bugs near you are probably feeding on the plants, shrubs, and flowers around your yard. Vegetable gardens and fruit trees may attract more bugs to your property than usual. They’re also particularly attracted to sunny and heat-reflecting surfaces where they can soak up warmth. They often make their way to sunny surfaces, especially after cloudy or rainy days. If your home sees more sun than most, you may see more stinkers than most.
Why Are There So Many Right Now?
As an invasive species native to tropical ecosystems, stink bugs are very temperature sensitive. The moment they sense temperatures cooling down for fall, they begin seeking sources of warmth proactively. Starting in late summer, they will spend most of the afternoon sunning themselves on heat-reflecting surfaces. You’ll find them around windows, light siding, and homes with southern or western exposure. Once one stink bug finds a good place to stay warm, they’ll tell their friends.
When stink bugs find sunny, warm environments, they begin secreting a special pheromone. This pheromone tells other stink bugs nearby to congregate around the secreting bug. More bugs show up, they begin secreting their own pheromones, and then even more of the pests gather. The more pheromone the stink bug groups secrete, the bigger (and stinkier!) the group becomes. If you see a big group of bugs, they’re probably all just trying to keep each other warm.
Why Are They All Around My Home?
Now that you know what stink bugs want, you can probably guess why there are so many near you. Yards with gardens, fruit trees, thriving ornamental plants, or berry bushes attract stink bugs during the spring and summer. Homes that receive a lot of sun exposure during the day are particularly attractive to nearby stink bugs. If you have a thriving yard and your home gets plenty of sun exposure, then it’s a great destination for stink bugs all year!
Stink bugs aren’t actually a threat to you or your home. They can’t bite, sting, spread disease, or even cause structural damage. At worst, the bugs smell pretty gross. Unfortunately, however, they will enter your home starting in fall given the chance. Stink bugs need to shelter in warm environments if they’re going to survive the winter. They’ll find cracks and gaps around the areas where they congregate and use them to enter your home.
How Can I Get Rid of Them?
Find the areas around your home where the stinkers are congregating. Look around windows on the western and southern sides of your home, porches, decks, and bright siding or trim. When you find groups of the bugs, don’t crush them. Instead, try vacuuming the bugs up with a handvac if possible. Throw the vacuum bag out when you’re done. Spray the surfaces they were gathering on with soapy water and/or ammonia.
After you’ve removed the bugs, look for any possible access points near the areas where they were gathering. Look for small cracks and gaps around window and door frames and seal them with caulk. Replace any weatherproofing that looks worn or damaged. Wash off the surfaces where the they were with soap and water occasionally. Soap will help remove the pheromone that attracts the stink bugs and will also actually help repel new congregations.
Stink bugs may not be dangerous, but that doesn’t mean you should have to tolerate them. Their pheromone smells terrible, and it attracts more stink bugs! Follow the tips above remove stink bug pheromones and make your home far less attractive to the gross pests.
If your stink bug infestation seems particularly stubborn or they’re already inside your home, don’t despair! Just get in touch with Griffin Pest Solutions right away. Our experts have everything we need to drive out stink bugs and keep them away for good.