a brown marmorated stink bug climbs up a wall to get into a michigan house

Stink bugs are Michigan’s newest invasive species. These smelly pests originally came to the US from Southeast Asia in 1998. Since then, they’ve spread to nearly every state by stowing away on packages and travelers. 

If you feel like you have more stink bugs in your home than most people, it’s probably not your imagination. They really do prefer some homes over others. Here, the experts at Griffin Pest Solutions explain what the nuisance pests want, why they’re so attracted to your home, and how to get rid of stink bugs.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs in Michigan

The type of stink bug that has invaded Michigan is known as the brown marmorated stink bug. Their bodies are shaped roughly like a shield, and they’re almost as wide as they are long. These stink bugs are marble-brown colored and have smooth shoulders, black and white markings on their abdomens, and white bands along their legs or antennae. 

Are Stink Bugs Dangerous?

Stink bugs are an extremely common pest across the Midwest, but the good news is they are fairly harmless. They don’t attack people, harm pets, damage structures, eat your food, or even infest your furniture. The main problem with stink bugs is that, as their name suggests, they stink! Especially since they frequently gather in large groups, they can be quite unpleasant to find around your house. 

Why Do Stink Bugs Smell Bad?

When stink bugs are startled, crushed, or bunched together, they secrete a foul-smelling liquid from a specialized gland. This liquid is where the actual distinctive “stink” associated with stink bugs comes from. The scent smells like skunk spray, cilantro, coriander, or rotting vegetables, depending on who you ask. The more stink bugs you have and the longer they stay, the stronger the smell will become.

Unfortunately, stink bug secretions do more than just stink. They also function as pheromone homing beacons. When a stink bug finds a nice, warm place to sun themselves, they start secreting their stink. This stink tells other stink bugs in the area that there’s a good place to meet nearby. Soon, more and more stink bugs begin gathering in the same space to soak up the warmth. Then, those bugs start secreting… and the cycle continues.

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What Attracts Stink Bugs?

Stink bugs typically stay outdoors for most of the year, up until temperatures start to drop and they search for an overwintering location. So, what exactly is attracting them to your home or business? If you keep finding stink bugs indoors, it might be for one of these reasons:

  • Heat: Stink bugs are very temperature sensitive, so they’re attracted to warm, reflective surfaces. You’ll often see them on light surfaces, homes with eastern exposure, and windows. Gathering together in tight bunches also helps stink bugs stay warm. 
  • Pheromones: When stink bugs find a suitable place to hide and stay warm, they start secreting their foul-smelling pheromones. These pheromones gradually attract more and more insects to the area, which is why infestations seem to grow exponentially.
  • Fruit and Vegetables: Stink bugs will feed on virtually any fruit or vegetable, including fruit trees in your yard or garden vegetables. The bugs won’t usually feed on fruit indoors, but if they find it early and it’s easily-accessible, they can.
  • Warm Hiding Places: Especially in the winter, stink bugs may try to sneak inside for warmth. As you might imagine, stink bugs most often take shelter in attics, basements, crawl spaces, and other out-of-the-way locations. 

Tips for Preventing Stink Bugs

The best way to deal with stink bugs is to keep them out in the first place. Most home infestations happen in early winter when the bugs seek shelter to keep warm, so take these steps to keep them from getting indoors:

  • Replace damaged door or window screens
  • Install door sweeps or new weather stripping
  • Ensure your doors and window frames are secure
  • Seal cracks or gaps that lead into your home
  • Install filters or screens on air vents and chimneys

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

If you have stink bugs already, be sure to resist the temptation to squish them. If you crush the insects, they’ll secrete the foul smell that attracts even more insects. Instead of crushing them, we recommend trying one of these tips:

  • Trapping them and throwing them back outside: Although this won’t solve problems with large numbers of stink bugs, it’s one of the easiest ways to deal with individuals. Stink bugs are harmless and often sluggish, so it’s fairly easy to do this.
  • Vacuuming them up: If you find a brown marmorated stink bug hotspot where many are gathered, or even if you just don’t want to get close to one, vacuuming them up may be your best bet. A shop vac with an extender attachment can also help you get to hard-to-reach stink bugs. Make sure you empty the vacuum into a sealed bag afterward because stink bugs have been known to climb out.
  • DIY stink bug traps: Fill a small tray with soapy water and place it under a lamp. The light will attract stink bugs, but when they arrive they’ll fall into the water and drown.

After you’re finished, wipe down surfaces where you found stink bugs with soapy water to remove any lingering pheromones and prevent staining. 

Stink Bug Removal Services in Michigan

Brown marmorated stink bugs are becoming more numerous in Michigan and unfortunately that trend is likely to continue. If you’ve had enough already, the experienced exterminators at Griffin Pest Solutions can help.

We’ve been dealing with brown marmorated stink bugs since they first arrived on the scene – and we’re familiar with their biology and behaviors, which puts us in the best position to deliver long-lasting results. Give us a call today to schedule your treatment.

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How to Get Rid of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Serving Kalamazoo & Grand Rapids

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