The brown stink bug, which was introduced to the United States from Asia in the mid-1990s, is spreading to more states as climate change increases temperatures across the country.
Researchers at Washington State University have found that changing weather can increase a suitable habitat for the stink bug by 70 percent.
Although harmless to humans, these tiny insects feed on nearly 170 plants including crops, putting the country’s farming business at risk.
Some states, such as Washington, are already taking action against the pest with a parasitic insect called the samurai wasp that lays its eggs inside the eggs of a smelly bug.
When the wasp larva hatches, it eats the eggs of the stink bug, thereby stopping population growth.
The study looked at the sites of odorous bugs over a three-year period. It found that the bugs had triggered a northward shift, which is likely due to climate change and warming temperatures.
The stink bugs were likely hidden in a shipping container assigned to the United States and have since settled in 46 states – 15 of which are considered a pest.
Despite their small size (smaller than a fingernail), they suck juice – and life – from fruit plants, infesting people’s homes, attacking more than 100 species of plants including berries, apples, pears, peaches and plums, and are capable of complete destruction. crops.
To add insult to injury, as it sucks and sticks, it often smells best described as “a cross between stale gas, rotting trash and rotten almonds.”
Insects hate cold winters and have mainly stayed in the southern region, but as climate change warms in different parts of the north, they are able to cause a northward shift.
This was determined by researchers who monitored 534 sites where the stink bugs are prevalent over a three-year period – from 2017 to 2019.
Despite their small size (smaller than a fingernail), they suck juice – and life – from fruit plants, infesting people’s homes, attacking more than 100 species of plants including berries, apples, pears, peaches and plums, and are capable of complete destruction. crops
Smelly bugs are rarely found in northern states, but as of 2019, the bugs have settled as far north as Washington.
Areas that may be particularly affected include the mid-Atlantic region, the areas around the Great Lakes, and the valleys of the West Coast, such as California’s Sacramento Valley and Idaho’s Treasure Valley.
The team notes that because the stink bugs hide indoors during the winter, people inadvertently help them spread from state to state.
“Every system will change with climate change, so the fact that you can grow chickpeas, lentils, or wheat without these pests now, doesn’t mean that,” the study’s lead author, Javier Gutierrez Illan, an entomologist at Washington State University, said in a statement. You won’t get them in a few years.
“There are extenuating things we can do, but it’s wise to prepare for change.”
There are ways to keep these pests out of your home during the winter—one of which is to seal any cracks in your home’s frame, though.
‘Smelly bugs often get into homes through small cracks and cracks between windows, doorways, and vents,’ Andrew Gaumond of the Petal Republic told Homes and Gardens.
Researchers at Washington State University have found that changing weather can increase the suitable habitat of the stink bug by 70 percent
“It is wise to check the frame throughout your home and re-seal as necessary with a strong silicone sealant.”
Andrew also suggests spraying insecticide around the outside of your home.
“Where possible, it is worth spraying a store-bought insecticide or insecticide solution around the outside of your home (particularly around windows and doors), which may provide some protection,” he said.
“At the same time, pull any plants you see growing from the foundations or very close to the exterior of the house.”
Another way to keep nasty insects out of your home is to change the outdoor lighting.
“It is also thought that stink bugs are somewhat attracted to light sources after dark, so it is worth turning them down after sunset,” Andrew said.