NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The colder, rainy weather is just the right combination to send stink bugs looking for shelter, possibly inside your house.
Experts say stink bug complaints are on the rise. Yet, the insects are relatively harmless, except for that smell.
“We turned the phones on on Tuesday. We had six messages about stink bugs alone,” said Mike Diurno, Alpha Wildlife & Pest Management co-owner.
That number is now up to 20 stink bug calls this week.
Experts said there are several kinds of stink bugs, but if you squash any of them, you will regret the odor you unleash.
“It’s something that you’ve never smelled before, and it’s definitely something that is not pleasant,” Diurno said. “It’s not enjoyable.”
The bugs feed on the seeds inside pine cones. Entomologist Dr. Gale Ridge said they got to Connecticut from out west because vacationers love collecting the big, pretty cones.
“They would drive across the country, pick up a nice big fir cone, bring it back in their wagon or car,” Ridge said.
The bugs are usually hidden inside the cones. However, the good news is that stink bugs can’t hurt you. They don’t bite you, they don’t bite your pets, they don’t spread disease.
They don’t want to eat your food or even chew holes in your clothes. They don’t even mean to offend with that smell. It’s just a defense mechanism. The odor exists to scare off predators like birds.
“So, they’ll give off this odor, and it either bides them enough time just to escape because the bird falters in its attack,” Ridge explained. “Or it’s downright nasty to taste so that the birds will spit them out.”
This time of year, stink bugs are trying to stay warm and dry, which experts explained makes them want to enter homes. The fix is to keep them out.
“We’re going to dust voids behind windows and soffits around the home, spray the doors, windows and foundation with insecticide,” Diurno said while on his way to a call. “That will help reduce them down.”
If you see one, gently sweep it outside, but whatever you do, experts advise never to squash it.