LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Seeing stink bugs in places where you'd rather not see stink bugs? Unfortunately, it's just that time of year again. Stink bugs become extra active in the fall when they're busy trying to work their way into your home.
That's because, as it gets cooler outside, the brown marmorated bugs look for warmth and inside your nice, warm, and cozy home is just the place.
The bugs look for "wintering sites" and make their way into houses and buildings. They don’t harm humans, but if they’re squashed or pulled into a vacuum cleaner, they emit an unpleasant odor that attracts even more stink bugs, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
Here are some things to know about the nuisance bugs and how to get rid to them.
10 things to know about stink bugs
1. They're not from around here. Brown marmorated stink bugs are native to Japan, China and Korea and were accidentally imported to the Allentown, Pennsylvania, region in the late 1990s. They have no natural predators in the U.S.
2. They're multiplying. They've spread to 43 states in 2016, up from 42 states in 2015. The new state is North Dakota. They were found in New York in 2010.
3. They really stink. People have described the smell as anything from skunk to dirty socks to coriander, and squashing them releases the odor. Do so at your own risk.
4. They're ruining agriculture. Six states in the Mid-Atlantic reported "severe nuisance and agricultural damage" in June 2014, with farmers reporting total losses of tomato, apple and corn crops in 2013, said research entomologist Tracy Leskey of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The stink bugs' effect can cause "scabs" and bruising on fruit and vegetables.
5. They find creative ways into houses. If there are cracks in screens, door jams, roofs or walls, stink bugs will find them. To make your home stink bug-proof, check around windows and doors for small openings, both indoors and outdoors.
6. They like plants. If you live near a wooded area or have a vegetable garden, your home may have a higher risk of stink bugs, said Ray Miller, owner of Upstate X-Treme Solutions pest control. If you have potted plants in your home, that's where stink bugs might congregate.
7. They won't bite you, harm your pets, or ruin your carpet. Stink bugs don't pose any danger to humans or animals, and won't destroy indoor non-plant material. The bugs just want a warm window where they can sun themselves.
8. Vacuum them at your own risk. Vacuuming stink bugs make for quick and clean disposal, but your vacuum might not smell so great afterward, said resident Veronica Miller of Irondequoit, who dealt with a few indoor stink bugs this year.
9. You can buy or make stink bug traps. Stink bugs like light and they can't swim, so a desk lamp with a tub of soapy water underneath works as an impromptu stink bug trap. You can also buy lighted stink bug traps at local hardware stores.
10. If all else fails, call an exterminator.