Since last autumn, the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) has been invading homes and other buildings throughout the state. The stink bug feeds on a variety of hosts in the landscape, including—but not limited to—Buddleia sp., hibiscus, zinnia, and sunflower. Both fruit trees, such as apples and peaches, and vegetables can also serve as host plants. Stink bugs inflict leaf and fruit damage primarily from feeding with needlelike mouth parts. The North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual suggests either malathion or permethrin as a control agent for ornamentals and vegetables.
The biggest problem for homeowners is the bugs’ overwintering behavior of collecting inside structures and homes when seeking shelter, much like the multicolored Asian lady beetle. They do not harm people, but they can emit an unpleasant odor when crushed or vacuumed. Appearance in homes usually begins about late September or early October. For homes, sealing and caulking all entry spaces usually keeps stink bugs at bay. If they are found inside, hand removal and vacuuming are the best options. A piece of ladies’ hosiery over the vacuum’s nozzle allows for easy disposal of the insects and keeps the odor from lingering in the vacuum canister.
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