A few years ago no one heard about the marmorated stink bug and paid no attention to its existence. There are hoards of similar insects in the gardens including stink bugs: they can be distinguished from other pests by their strong unpleasant smell, which is very difficult to get rid of.
The marmorated stink bug is rapidly spreading across all territories, across countries and continents. A stink bug is omnivorous and unpretentious in terms of living environments, that’s why it quickly adapts to new locations and reproduces rapidly.
Who can face the invasion of stink bugs?
First and foremost, the question of how to get rid of stink bugs concerns owners of gardens, kitchen gardens, farmlands and fields. But urban dwellers are also not protected from the stink bug infestation. Stink bugs can fly into the apartment, crawl into hard-to-reach places and cause discomfort with their unpleasant smell and repellent appearance.
So what is a marmorated stink bug, and what harm can it cause?
The issue of the garden pests.
The problem of pests is not unfamiliar to those people who are involved in gardening or grow fruits and vegetables in their gardens. There are hoards of these insects including stink bugs, they attack certain plants and herbs. To control and fight pests insecticides are produced. By studying each species of pests, scientists have developed a number of chemicals that effectively fight them. If you apply specific preparations strictly according to the instructions and within the indicated time, you can achieve good results in fighting pests and save the harvest.
But now there are pests that scientists had not yet studied and hadn’t chosen the means to fight them. These are marmorated stink bugs. They became known in 1996, when they began to spread actively from Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Vietnam to the USA. By 2014, stink bug infestation captured 34 states of America and southern provinces of Canada.
There are no barriers for stink bugs: they fly to new places by themselves, they arrive on other continents inside the infected vegetables and fruits. In 2007, marmorated stink bugs appeared in Switzerland, in 2010 they were found in New Zealand and England. In 2014, the insects were seen in Georgia and in Russia. And since 2015, a mass reproduction outbreak and migration of stink bugs in the humid subtropics of Russia has been registered.
What do stink bugs eat on and how do they live?
To fight against such a dangerous pest, we must learn to recognize it. Often in the gardens, there are insects that look much like the marmorated stink bug:
- Soldier shield bug: this insect has a body of a pronounced pentagonal shape, the shield is colored in the form of clear outlines brown and light spots. It feeds on the fallen decaying leaves and is not harmful.
- Green shield bug (does harm to raspberries, gooseberries, also can live on alder, birch, larch, elm). In the majority of cases, it is an insect of bright green color with brown wings.
- Corn bug: this is a brown-colored pest, its body is oval in shape. The insect harms vegetables and grain varieties.
- The birch shield bug lives in deciduous forests, feeds on young greens.
- The Italian striped bug has a coloring of red and black stripes, stands out for its appearance among all the others. It is not harmful, feeds on the fallen leaves.
- Elm stink bug is a resident of big cities, lives on elm trees, can fly through windows into apartments.
All varieties of shield bugs have a strong unpleasant smell, which they use to scare off enemies. However, any kind of a shield bug do not do as much harm as a marmorated stink bug.
What does a stink bug look like?
A stink bug belongs to the family of shield bugs, therefore, its body is covered with a very strong chitinous shield. The body of a stink bug is pear-shaped, about 15-17 mm long. From the top the insect is of brown color with a pattern similar to marble. Hence the name — a marmorated stink bug. The bottom of the insect is light in color, and the distinctive feature of a stink bug is the characteristic white rings on the antennae and legs.
What do stink bugs eat?
Marmorated stink bug is omnivorous. A stink bug eats green sprouts of any garden crop, on fruits of trees, vegetables, grapes. The pest punctures the external tissue of the plant or fruit with its proboscis, injects a special enzyme and sucks out the juice suitable for digestion. The list of favorite food that stink bug eats includes citrus, feijoa, grapes, apples, pears, hazelnuts, paprika, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, corn. Moreover, a stink bug uses both sprouts and fruits.
Where do stink bugs live and hibernate?
Marmorated stink bugs are unpretentious in the choice of habitat, too. They can settle in the house, in animal burrows, in birds’ nests, at farms, in barns, in cellars. Stink bugs feel great both in the heat and in the damp. They do not need any special conditions, they adapt to any environment, to any changes of the weather.
Stink bugs prefer to hibernate in human dwellings, in buildings, in shelters. They can find a way into the house through cracks or open windows. Often they hide in folds of hanging drying clothes, and then, the owners bring insects into the house together with clothing. If stink bugs can not get into the room, they make their way under the siding, into the gaps of the cladding and wait out the frost. There were cases when several thousand of insects penetrated the house. Feeling the warmth, stink bugs persistently climb into the rooms, gather around lamps, get under the sofas and beds, and find secluded places.
How do stink bugs reproduce their kind?
Reproduction of marmorated stink bugs occurs in the spring, starting from the middle of April. The female lays 20-30 eggs, measuring 1.3-1.6 mm, attaching them to the inner side of the leaf. This does not allow to detect the eggs and destroy them in time. The development takes 35-45 days. Over the summer the stink bug female manages to breed 3-4 generations. Larvae, like adults, are omnivorous and feed on the same plants and fruits.
Do stink bugs have enemies?
Most regrettably, there is no natural stink bug killer. Birds do not peck this insect because of the disgusting stink bug smell, which reminiscent of a mixture of the skunk smell and cilantro. Of all the birds, only ducks can stand a stink bug smell and peck up this bug. Chickens that peck up stink bugs become uneatable because their meat becomes smelly.
A stink bug killer is a locust. Wasps can kill these pests as well. But there is no sense in such assistants: locusts do even more harm than stink bugs, while wasps parasitize on the stink bugs’ eggs, preventing their intensive reproduction. But the following problem after stopping a stink bug infestation will be getting rid of wasps.
Why are stink bugs dangerous?
The fact that stink bugs eat everything leads to the harvest failures of fruit, citrus, vegetables, shrubs, and cereals. These pests can not be stopped by anything. Stink bugs eat more than 100 species of fruit, berries, vegetables, and cereal crops.
How to reveal a stink bug infestation?
While examining the plants, you can identify the presence of the stink bugs: green sprouts wither and die, necrosis appears on the trunks of trees, the surface is tuberiferous with soft tissues under the bark. Damaged fruits and vegetables are rotting or fall off unripe. There are small punctures in the form of dots on the fruits caused by a stink bug infestation. If the insect damaged the fruit spur, it loses shape and fall off.
What harm does a stink bug infestation cause?
By puncturing the tissues with its proboscis, the stink bug causes the disease of the fruit, the ingress of bacteria, and the following rotting. After injecting its enzymes into vegetables or fruits, the stink bug sucks out the juice, and as a result the fruit loses its taste and is unsuitable for food.
If the marmorated stink bug has damaged the vineyard, then such berries won’t be suitable for making wine.
Are stink bugs dangerous for people?
The stink bugs constitute the most threat to the harvests. There is no harm for people, but if a stink bug finds its way into the room, an allergic reaction may occur. If the insect makes it onto the bed or hygiene items, it can cause itching or rashes. The stink bug smell spread from the stink bug remains on objects, on belongings, on the body. And if you accidentally smash the insect, you’ll have to ventilate a room for a long time to get rid of the stink bug smell . Even repeated washing of hands will not redeem the stink bug smell if you touch or take a bug.
When detecting stink bugs in house or when they are invading the room, it is necessary to apply a sparing way of removing them. You can collect stink bugs with a vacuum cleaner and dump them out onto the street into a jar of kerosene. It’s not recommended to smash them, because the stink bug smell can cause an allergic reaction, up to the Quincke’s disease.
Do stink bugs bite?
Marmorated stink bugs do not bite people. Though their proboscis is made to pierce the fruit, their jaws are not designed for biting. For the same reason, with the stink bug bite infectious diseases and viruses are not transmitted.
How to get rid of stink bugs
Stink bugs are resistant to the majority of insecticides. Therefore, it’s impossible to get rid of stink bugs with chemical preparations suitable for other insects. In small garden areas to prevent a stink bug infestation, physical elimination is used (the bugs are collected manually).
In addition to the eradication of adults, we must also fight their larvae. The most effective preparations to get rid of stink bugs include:
Karate Zeon, micro-suspension, is the most effective stink bug killer that eradicates adult stink bugs and their larvae. The active substance is lambda-cyhalothrin.
How to use?
The stink bug killer substance is sold in ampoules of 4 ml and is mixed with 10 liters of water. Two-time treatment is performed to eradicate adult stink bugs and larvae.
Kliper (emulsion concentrate, Talstar) is a stink bug killer with bifenthrin used as the active ingredient.
How to use?
6 ml of the stink bug killer substance is mixed with 10 liters of water. 1 treatment is required to get rid of stink bugs. Effective for the protection of vegetable crops: tomatoes, cucumbers.
Carbofos or chlorophos are applied according to the instructions.
Any anti-pest treatment is best conducted in early spring when insects have weak immunity after winter and it is easier to get rid of stink bugs.
- It is compulsory to observe safety precautions when working with chemicals.
- Use preparations strictly according to the instructions.
- At home, use chemicals with extreme caution, especially if there are small children or pets.
- When using preparations to get rid of stink bugs larvae, it should be born in mind that the first larvae appear in mid-April — early May. The treatment to cease a stink bug infestation must be processed during this period, even if you have not noticed a large invasion of marmorated stink bugs.
- Subsequent treatments to get rid of stink bugs should be performed at intervals of 35-45 days, since females lay eggs at this interval.
The problem of marmorated stink bugs in house
In addition to harm in the garden, a marmorated stink bug can find its way inside the house and cause damage. Its appearance and the disgusting stink bug smell will bring inconveniences to dwellers. The stink bug infestation can be so massive that it will be impossible to get rid of stink bugs.
How do they enter the house and what do stink bugs eat?
Stink bugs crawl into the house to hibernate when the temperature outside becomes uncomfortable for them (below +15). Feeling the warmth, they find their ways into the rooms through the windows, doors, and cracks. Stink bugs hide in the cellars, pantries, bookcases. In 2016-2017, these insects practically attacked houses in many regions: hoards of them crawled into the houses, and it was impossible to get rid of stink bugs.
What do they feed on inside the house?
Inside the house, the shield bugs usually do not cause any harm. They do not eat food, they do not eat at all, they do not reproduce and simply hibernate. However, the stink bug smell which is produced and their repulsive look bring a lot of trouble to the house owners.
How to get rid of stink bugs inside the house?
The best solution is to not let pests inside the house. In order to do this, several conditions must be fulfilled:
- Repair all cracks;
- Install anti-mosquito screens on the windows;
- Keep the house doors closed;
- Install ventilation screens in the cellars and storerooms;
- Carefully inspect and shake out all things brought from the outside.
If stink bugs have entered the house despite all the precautions, do not panic. They are not dangerous for humans. Even with its impressive size, the stink bug does not attack people, does not bite or transmit diseases. But if you don’t want to ventilate the room, don’t smash or touch the stink bug with bare hands. If it is a single bug, carefully brush it off into a paper bag and turn into a stink bug killer outside. If there’s a stink bug infestation in the room, then you can use a vacuum cleaner to collect them all.
Please, remember that if your vacuum cleaner is equipped with a bag, the stink bug smell will remain for a long time, and you will smell the stink with every cleaning. It is better to use a vacuum cleaner with a removable container to get rid of stink bugs. After collecting insects in such a way, they must be shaken out into a jar of kerosene or be burned outside. A large number of smashed stink bugs can cause an allergic reaction.
If a stink bug infestation takes a catastrophic size, you can use the same stink bug killer methods as in the garden. But be sure to take into account that these are potent chemicals, and ensure that there are no children or pets in the room.
Traditional remedies and preventive measures
When trying to get rid of stink bugs, numerous traditional remedies are used. But the marmorated stink bug reacts little to various deterrents, herbal and onion infusions. And yet, garden owners who do not want to poison their crops with chemicals try to use traditional stink bug killer remedies.
- One of the common methods is a stink bug trap with the smell of alcohol. A strong alcoholic beverage (chacha) is poured into a bottle, and it is suspended in places of pest accumulation, on fruit trees. Stink bugs crawl into in a bottle attracted by the scent, get into a stink bug trap, and die.
- Spraying the garden with a stink bug spray made of water mixed with kerosene, turpentine, or vinegar. This method scares off not only pests but also all useful insect pollinators. Plus, the fruits will become smelly and uneatable after using this stink bug spray.
- To scare the pests off infusions of wormwood, mustard, pyrethrum (chamomile inflorescences) can be used.
- For the eradication of insects, another stink bug trap can be used, It’s a device made of a lamp, a white sheet and a container with a soap solution. At night in the garden a lamp is turned on, a white sheet (painted metal sheet or paper sheet) is installed next to it, and a container which is a stink bug trap is put under it. Stink bugs fly into a bright light, intensified by reflection from a white sheet, hit it and fall into a soapy solution. They can not get out of this stink bug trap anymore. In this way, you can at least slightly reduce the population of the stink bug.
In order to not to have to deal with this dangerous omnivorous pest, it is better to carry out preventive measures.
- Remove the fallen leaves in autumn, where stink bugs can settle for the winter.
- In the early spring, check out all the secluded places where stink bugs can hide.
- Plow beds, dig around fruit trees’ trunks, thereby destroying the pests’ refuges.
- When green sprouts appear, inspect the lower parts of the leaves. Maybe there is already an eggs’ laying.
- When detecting larvae on vegetables or fruits, kill them and treat them with deterrents.
The marmorated stink bug is one of the most dangerous pests to date. Its unpretentiousness when choosing a place of dwelling, in food, and its resistance to insecticides makes it invulnerable. To get rid of stink bugs you must wage in all possible ways, not allowing a stink bug infestation and spreading the insects to new territories. Therefore, complex measures to get rid of stink bugs should be applied: the identification of pests, the use of chemicals, the physical harvesting of adult bugs, and their eradication.