China, South Korea and Japan are credited with bringing the stink bug to America in cargo containers.
The first stink bugs to be detected were in Allentown, Pa. in 1998, where they were collected and studied.
In just 12 years, the invasive brown-marmorated stink bug had become a major pest, costing apple growers in the mid-Atlantic region $37 million.
In 2022, hazelnut growers on the West Coast were suffering multi-million dollar damages caused by the Asian pests.
Virginia Tech has studied the tiny creatures that rival skunks when it comes to the putrid aroma they emit when they feel threatened or are crushed.
The nickel-sized, brown-winged bugs have a shield-like plate on their backs, and the stench they produce has been described as resembling rancid meat or that of the herb cilantro being cooked.
The pest’s life-expectancy is six to eight months during which a stink bug can lay up to 400 eggs. They reproduce during the summer months.
Another name for the stink bug is the shield bug, a name given because of the shield-like plate on its back, and they seek warm, dry shelter during cold months.
The mottled brown pests are destructive because they feed on fruits and vegetables as well as flowers, not devouring them entirely but marring them so that they are not saleable.
It is estimated that 200 species of stink bugs now occupy areas of North America, and the fact that the stink bug has many predators has not prevented the increase in numbers.
Some scientists blame the spread in 2022 as being due to global warming despite the thinning out of the species by spiders, birds, bats, parasite flies, predatory stink bugs and assassin bugs.
The Virginia Tech study reveals ways to prevent stink bugs from entering homes. Homeowners are advised to prevent their unwanted guests from entering their homes by caulking all cracks on the outside of their homes, repairing screens that are torn or have holes in them, adding a mesh over tops of chimneys and installing door sweeps.
Also, by not having flowers planted close to the home will serve as a deterrent as will replacing outside light bulbs with led lights.
Although Virginia Tech experimented with various ways of removing stink bugs from inside the home, a simple, inexpensive solution was found to be most effective.
A pan of water with dish detergent set on a flat surface inside the home with a bright light shining down onto the water is the death trap found to be most effective.
Stink bugs are attracted to light, and once they land in the pan of water, they are doomed to drown.