Chinese stink bug invading Midwest, Creighton University says

Brown Marmorated stink bug
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Stink bugs are typically a pest found outside, but the brown marmorated stink bug is a new species that has been making its way indoors this season, according to a news release from Creighton University.

Originating from China, this species has a marbled brown-and-white exterior and does produce a smell if disturbed, the release states.

“This is the first year that we have seen so many of them," said Dr. Ted Burk, a Creighton University professor.

Whenever a new species arrives, biologists try to discern its population, hoping they're not at the beginning of an infestation, he said.

The bug doesn't seem to be breeding or feeding indoors, but Burk said the stink bug is known to feed on more than 300 different kinds of fruit and vegetable plants, causing damage to crops.

He said if the bugs' numbers increase here enough, it could threaten the agriculture industry.

In the eastern region of the United States, thousands of brown marmorated stink bugs can be seen in homes over the winter. Burk says it’s difficult to discern whether the Midwest will see a similar amount.

“This particular species of stink bug has not only gotten into the United States, but it’s also been spreading all throughout Europe and other parts of the world,” Burk said.

Brown marmorated stink bugs have been working their way across the United States since the early 1990s. Burk said they take up residence in houses during winter, gaining entry through cracks, crevices, and fireplaces.

They're the latest insect to menace the region.

“We’ve got the Asian long-horned beetle, the emerald ash borer. We have the ladybugs that have been invading houses in the last few years," Burk said. "It’s really just a reflection of so much worldwide trade originating in China now that things are being spread all over the world."

How to remove them

While the bugs are not causing any major harm inside houses, Dr. Ted Burk of Creighton University said the species is resistant to most chemical sprays.

To rid your home of brown marmorated stink bugs, Burk recommends:

  • Collecting the stink bugs using a vacuum and empty the bag outside.
  • Using a homemade trap of a tinfoil roaster pan or similar container. Place an inch of soapy water in the bottom and a desk lamp over the container. Stink bugs are attracted to water and warm spaces and the trap could lure and drown them.
  • Focusing on the future. Work to caulk or seal any entrances to avoid infestation next fall.