The Stink Bug: Harmless in Homes But the NJ Farmer’s Enemy
Stink bugs are on their way inside many New Jersey homes this time of year as they seek shelter from chilly weather.
Rutgers Extension Pest Management specialist George Hamilton says they are harmless, except for the smell.
"It has a defensive secretion that it emits, that for most people is offensive," he says, although some people think that it smells like cilantro.
"We pretty much have stink bugs issues all year round here in New Jersey. Most homeowners will come in contact with them between the beginning of September and the middle of October. They begin to aggregate outside of structures and plants. And then as the temperatures get colder, they move indoors, seeking a place to stay warm for the winter."
Hamilton says the stink bug is pretty harmless.
"It does not do any structural damage like carpenter ants or termites would do. There are reports that there can be issues with things like draperies and what not, that they might defecate on them."
He says stink bugs are way more harmful to agriculture because they feed on fruit.
"We are currently still doing a lot of spraying. They are a significant pest in agricultural situations, prior to the coming in in the fall."
He says you can vacuum stink bugs up around your house, but get rid of the bag right away, because they do stink.
"Main areas to look for would be attic spaces. They tend to like attics. But when we warm up as we usually do here in January and sometimes in February, they get fooled into thinking it is springtime, they will come downstairs and they will aggregate around windows."