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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 03/23/2012

Stink bugs emerge from hibernation


“Gotta love those stinkin’ blossoms!” A stink bug crawls over a cherry blossom on March 16, 2012. Is nothing sacred to these smellyintruders? (Kevin Ambrose)

The warm weather has awakened stink bugs from hibernation, causing them to scamper from their hideouts in our attics and walls to emerge both indoors and outdoors, wherever they can find a getaway route from their winter seclusion.

The bugs that emerge indoors tend to follow light sources and they are particularly slow and clumsy. Typically, they buzz around a light for about 30 seconds before landing on walls, ceilings, floors, and countertops. Once they land, they seem quite content to crawl for hours. The bugs are quite easy to catch but they can give off a strong odor when disturbed.

The good news is that their numbers this season appear to be smaller than last spring. Comparing notes with friends, we are seeing about 50-75% fewer stink bugs emerging into our homes this year. I’m interested to hear your results of this year compared to last year.

Keep reading to watch a stink bug meet a spider...

Stink bug meets spider: A sting bug is greeted by a spider after emerging from hibernation. I filmed this creepy video outside my front door a few weeks ago. The video is played to the tune of The Who’s “Boris the Spider.”


The BugZooka: It’s a handy tool to suck up stink bugs from a distance and keep them isolated in a relatively stink-proof chamber. It is getting a lot of use around my house lately. (Kevin Ambrose) (http://www.bugzooka.com/home.html)

Stink bugs seek out places to hibernate when the weather turns cold in the fall. They often target the attics and walls of houses and office buildings.

When the weather turns warm in the spring, the bugs try to find their way back outdoors. Unfortunately, many stink bugs find their way into the living area of our homes instead.

What I find particularly interesting about stink bugs is that they seem to find the same entrance into my house from year to year, but they cannot seem to find the same exit out of my house a few months later, when it’s time to go back outside. They end up buzzing around my light fixtures instead of buzzing around my backyard.

Stink bugs live for only about 6 to 8 months. They don’t bite or directly harm humans, but they do harm vegetable crops and fruit orchards.

Have their numbers declined since last year? It appears so, but I’ve not found a definitive answer yet. Let us know if you have any sources of information.

Stink bugs don't have many natural predators in our area, but I have learned that spiders find them to be a particularly tasty treat. I’d love to see our area’s spider population grow and adapt to meet the onslaught of stink bugs, if that’s even possible.

In the meantime, I suppose I’ll continue to chase the little sinkers around my house with a BugZooka (see photo above). It’s actually kind of fun!

This is part of my on-going series of articles to track our area’s stink bug invasion. Past articles include:

Stink bug season 2011-12: If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em?

Traps for fighting the inevitable stink bug invasion

Stink bug weather & tips for keeping them out

By  |  10:45 AM ET, 03/23/2012

Categories:  Nature, Latest, Photography

 
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