Many people are asking the question – What do stink bugs eat and what is attracting them? Finding the answers to certain spray shields (USA) questions about stink bugs will help you be more effective in fighting house and garden infestations.
The stink bugs are becoming a real threat to the gardens and farms in the US. They are originating from Asia, but are taking over the North American territory with an amazing pace.
Finding ways to exterminate them is not always easy. The Shield Bugs are resilient to a number of pesticides and to general insect sprays. They don’t have many natural predators and their reproduction rate is incredibly fast.
The Farm and Garden Pest
The Brown Marmorated stink bug is getting more and more “popular” in North America. It was first noticed in Pennsylvania during the late 90s. In the US the insects have found a warm and hospitable climate and an abundance of food. They needed just about a decade to become one of the most important garden pests.
Usually you will see them on the vegetables in your garden, on the fruit trees or on the leaves of different plants. When a stink bug gets on a fruit it will start sucking the juice out of it with its “needle”, which will result in yellow cloudy spots on the affected area. When they are thousands, then your farm or garden is in a real danger and you must take immediate action.
According to many newspapers and websites the 2011 will be the year of Shield Bug infestations in the USA, so you need to observe carefully and act fast when dealing with them.
Their favorite food includes but is definitely not limited to:
The House Infestation
Even though their primary food source is in the farms and gardens, they can still invade your home. Usually you will see the insects around your house when there is a garden or a fruit tree nearby. Then, when the autumn approaches, they will start coming inside looking for a warm place to hide. They are also attracted by the light during night, so keep your windows closed if the light is on or if it is too hot, consider buying fly screens to put on your windows.
Once they find the comfort of your home, the stink bugs are not planning to leave. They will find a good place to hide and reproduce, and the infestation is just around the corner.
They are usually not biting and human blood is not a part of their menu, however they MAY bite. They will do that as a form of protection. If you get bitten the place may become inflamed and reddish. This is not dangerous though as the insects are not poisonous. Treat the affected place as you would treat a mosquito inflammation.
If you are already having an infestation problem in your home you need to waste no more time and take immediate action.
If you see a stink bug, run!
Just kidding. Seriously. In all seriousness, stink bugs are harmless to humans. They just look like vicious, reptilian creatures. But they are actually no more of a threat to humans than the common housefly.
They have been likened to everything from dragons, to lizards, to dinosaurs. But they are, essentially nothing but plain old insects like any other, the one major difference being that they have a unique self-defense mechanism that no other insect has: They emit a putrid odor when they are frightened. This odor is enough to stave off just about any predator, and even human beings as well, keeping would-be predators at bay.
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions concerning everything you never wanted to know about these pests and would never bother to ask:
Q. Why are stink bugs so creepy and annoying?
A. One of their distinguishing characteristics that makes them look so unique among other members of the insect world is their “reptilian” appearance. They look unmistakably like reptiles due to that “shell” like encasing on their backs, and its scaly looking texture. Adult bugs can grow to be as big as three quarters of an inch long, which compared to other common household bugs, is pretty huge. And their antennae can grow to be fairly long as well, thus contributing to their “creepy” factor.
Q. What’s up with that cilantro-smell that they emit?
Located in the vicinity of the bug’s abdomen are glands that emit an extremely pungent odor. This is their self-defense mechanism. Whenever they are threatened with any type of danger, they will release this odor into the air, as a deterrent against any types of predators. The stink is not known to be harmful to any other species, but it sure can be repugnant, enough to repel humans in disgust! And many people have compared the odor to that of cilantro.
And that is not just a sheer coincidence. As a matter of fact, the chemical that they release is a composition of trans-2-decenal and trans-2-octenal. The reason that the odor bears a resemblance to the smell of cilantro is because cilantro contains trans-2-decenal, the same chemical compound released by stink bugs.
Q. Do they harm human beings in any way?
Unless you count the psychological fear factor, they do not cause any harm to humans whatsoever. They do not bite. They do not suck your blood. They do not sting. All they do is cause many people fear, who happen to have phobias against insects. And they can cause humans to reel in disgust when they are sprayed with the stench. And as a matter of indirect impact on human lives, these bugs are known to be a threat to farms where crops of produce are grown and harvested.
Q. Do they have any predators?
If you are living in North America, you may be wondering where stink bugs stand in the food chain. Is there any other species that hunt or eat them? While there are predators that would love to get a taste of them, unfortunately they are not found predominantly in North America. This should come as no surprise, considering that these bugs themselves are not indigenous to this continent but are actually natives of Southeast Asia, particularly Japan, China, the Koreas, and Taiwan.
In China, their predominant predator is another insect known as the species Trissolcus halyomorphae, which is a member of the wasp family of insects. Interestingly enough, they are not predators of live stink bugs themselves, but actually will eat the eggs that they lay.
Believe it or not, the United States government is spending taxpayer money to study the stink bug epidemic in North America and is researching ways how to keep the population under control. This is not surprising, considering that these bugs pose an economic threat to the agricultural industry. The government is actually looking into the possibility of introducing these wasps into the North American ecosystem in an effort to combat the spread of their population. (Let’s just hope that this doesn’t backfire and inadvertently replace one epidemic with another!) The hope is that these wasps will eat stink bug eggs to prevent them from being born, thus establishing a form of natural population control.
Q. What do stink bugs eat?
Stink bugs are essentially herbivores. They eat mostly plant-based foods, along with some exceptions. Their diet consists mainly of plants, fruits, and vegetables. They consume their food by piercing it and then sucking up the juices. It is for this reason that stink bugs have proven to be a significant threat to farms where agricultural crops are grown. A swarm of these bugs will form a cluster and attack crops of fruits and vegetation en masse, leaving a swathe of devastation in their path, rendering the crops inedible and unsuitable for mass distribution.
Some Asian stink bugs will also feast upon caterpillars or the larvae of beetles, but for the most part they are herbivores.
Q. Why do these bugs want to come inside our homes?
Unlike many insects who might simply go into hibernation during the onset of the cold winter months, this species of bugs are unique in that they will actively seek out warm places to go and take up domicile so that they can continue to stay active. When they happen to fly by the vicinity of your home, they may pick up on the heat that is emanating from inside. Therefore, these little buggers will try to gain entry into the confines of your home, in search of that warmth, by any means necessary.
If they can find a crack in your foundation, they will slip through it. If they find a crack in your window sill or a gap in between where the window or the door meets the walls, it will manage to squeeze through it. If you have a window-mounted air conditioner unit, it will easily gain entry into your home. If it locates the chimney or any of the various exhaust vents that lead to the exterior of your home, they may make their way through there to get indoors.
And once they get indoors, they will find places to hide out for the winter. One thing that is noteworthy about them is that they will tend to flock toward the exterior windows of the house during broad daylight, because they also seek out sources of light, in addition to heat.
Q: Why are stink bugs frequently seen in clusters?
A: Once one of them gains entry into your house or into a particular area within your house, it will release a special type of pheromone, known as an aggregation pheromone, into the air that is designed to attract others. This signals other stink bugs to come hither, and that this area has been identified as being safe and hospitable to the original one. Therefore, others will follow the scent and will come and join the first one.
Q: If you kill one stink bug, will others follow the stench that was released just before it died, and come to that area? Do they get attracted to their own stench?
No. This is a rumor that has been proven to be untrue. Stink bugs will not be attracted to others who have just been killed in a certain place. However, as stated in the previous question, they will come to a place where the first one will have released its aggregation pheromone.
Q. How did these bugs come to North America?
Stink bugs are illegal aliens in our land. Much like the stowaways of the colonial era who would sneak aboard ships to come to The New World from Europe, they managed to become stowaways and were brought here to North America on cargo ships. (The only difference between a human stowaway and a stink bug is that the former came here intentionally and the latter came here by accident.)
The most commonly held theory of how and when stink bugs first arrived in North America is that at some point in the late 1990s, a cluster of them inadvertently got trapped into a shipping crate aboard a cargo ship as it left the seaport of either Japan, China, the Koreas, or Taiwan. If the cargo was supposed to have been inspected prior to departure, these stink bugs apparently managed to slip through the cracks (pun intended) unnoticed.
The first report of stink bugs being sighted in North America was in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the United States, in the year 1998.
And now, nearly a decade and a half later, they have spread to over 30 of the lower 48 states in the continental USA.
Q. What kind of climate do stink bugs prefer?
Since these bugs are native to Southeast Asia, predominantly centered around China, Japan, the Koreas, and Taiwan, it follows that the climate that they prefer would be that which bears the most similarity to these regions. So it can be expected they will naturally seek the means to gravitate toward those population centers within the North American continent that bear the most resemblance to the climate of the native habitat.
Q. Are there any ways to kill them without smashing them?
There are many ways how to kill stink bugs without smashing them, which in turn releases that pungent odor of theirs. Check out this section of the website, for practical tips on how to kill them.
Q. Where else can stink bugs be found in the world?
As of right now, they are centered primarily around southeastern Asia, localized to Japan, China, Taiwan, and the Koreas. In the past decade, they have now become widespread in North America.
Q. How long do stink bugs live for?
The lifespan of a typical stink bug varies, depending on their exposure to the climate. Those that are unable to seek shelter during the winter will no doubt perish sooner than those that are able to hibernate or find shelter indoors. But typically, the longest one can live is about 6 to 8 months.
Q. How do stink bugs mate and reproduce?
As with any other type of insect, stink bugs lay eggs. What is interesting is that their eggs are actually subject to attack by predators such as wasps who seek to eat them. Scientists are actually looking into the possibility of introducing wasps into their habitat as a means of population control in highly infested areas where reproduction is most likely to take place.
Q. Why do stink bugs have that reptilian look? What’s with that armored plate?
The armored plate on their back is, in fact, a shield. It serves as the bug’s exoskeleton (a skeleton that is on the outside of the body, unlike mammals whose skeleton is on the inside). This shield is strong enough to repel insecticides, so if you have ever tried to spray a stink bug with dish soap or with bug spray, you might notice that it has no effect on it. If you want your spraying to have any impact, then it is important that you aim for the underbelly.
Q. What happens to them in the winter?
Stink bugs cannot survive the cold, harsh winter climate. Therefore, as a matter of instinct, they will look for warm places to retreat to during the winter. Those who happen to discover homes or any other buildings where warmth is emanating from, will attempt to gain entry through cracks and crevices. Once inside, they will either hibernate if it still too cool for them to subsist, or if it is warm inside, they may end up remaining active for the winter.
Those that remain outdoors will attempt to find a safe place to hibernate among the leaves of trees.
If you happen to come across a snake in your house or garden the first thing to do is to resist the urge to attack it with a broom or stick or any other form of stick for that matter. Snakes can jump quite high and strike you just as well as if they were on the ground. Sometimes if the snake is in the house they may be on a slippery floor surface that reduces it’s ability to move efficiently. If this is the case the best thing to do is to place a heavy object like a big book on top of it. This will limit it’s ability to move still further. Be careful though. Use the book as a shield in approaching the snake.
Please note that I do not advocate killing snakes if you have any way of calling a trained expert to remove it. Snakes are a necessary part of the environment and play a vital role in controlling certain species. Only if you have no other option available to you should you consider killing it.
It is always a very advisable to find out about distinguishing non venomous snakes from the venomous ones in your area so that you don’t kill the non venomous ones by mistake. It is of the utmost importance not to kill non venomous snakes because they actually control the population of venomous snakes by actively preying on them.
If you have decided that there is no alternative other than to kill the venomous snake the next thing to do is to either chop it in two with a long handled, broad bladed garden hoe. I still say it’s best to call the PDSA and get them to send an expert out to collect the snake if at all possible. Usually they will catch it and release it somewhere far away from human habitat.
If the Snake is found in a drawer or somewhere difficult to access leave it alone, move all family members away from the immediate area and most of all do not attempt to interact with it at all. Call the PDSA, or RSPCA, and get them to collect it. If they do not have a snake catcher they will contact a trusted professional snake catcher.
If you come across a venomous snake in the garden the first thing to do is to get everyone away from it. If you actually do need to kill it, do this with a long handled, broad edged hoe simply chopping the snake in half as previously stated. Other tactics include spraying it from a distance with a high pressure hose or opening the garden sprinklers. This will have the effect of ‘persuading’ the snake to leave the area.
The thing to do after that is to find out why the snake came to your area. Do you keep rodents or birds? Are there birds nesting in your garden or in the eves of your house? Do you have a rodent problem on the house or garden. Note that in places like the USA this can be problematic because animals like chipmunks and squirrels are everywhere. Snakes, however, like mice and rats and other small rodents. Again in places like the USA, where buildings are mainly made out of timber, rodents often find easy shelter in the space between the outside and inside walls. If you hear scratchings or find evidence of mouse trails in your kitchen, get an expert to solve the problem. Remember, No mice, No snakes.
A mouse can get through a hole the width of a pencil with no problem at all. Make sure there are no holes in your walls. Fill them immediately. High pitched sound devices are now becoming a popular way to discourage vermin from entering our home. Evidence shows that there is some proof to this claim. Having one installed can be a good idea. Remember snakes always follow their food source.
Snakes do not take any active interest in humans and all contact between them and us in merely coincidental. The threat of snake bite is quite remote exactly for this reason. If, however, somebody in your vicinity is bitten it is important to establish the following procedure; move the person to a safe place and keep them calm. Establish what kind of snake bit the person. If you can safely kill it for identification, do so. If not, make a mental note of it’s markings. Call the emergency services to evacuate the wounded person or evacuate them yourself if they are not critically ill. Meeting the ambulance on the way is another good option. Keep calm and keep the patient calm.
COVID-19 primarily spreads through respiratory droplets from one person to another while breathing. These droplets go into the air when you cough, sneeze, laugh, shout, or sing. Those droplets can land or breathe into the mouths or noses of people close to you.
Masks are an easy shield for preventing the reach of your respiratory droplets. Studies show that masks minimize droplet spraying that can pass through the mouth and nose.
Even if you don’t feel ill, you should wear a mask. This is because numerous studies have shown that persons with COVID-19 who never develop (asymptomatic) symptoms and persons who have not yet shown (pre-symptomatic) symptoms will continue to transmit the virus to others. The principal function of wearing a mask is that you are infectious but have no signs to protect those around you.
It is imperative to wear a mask if you cannot remain at least 6 feet apart from others because COVID-19 primarily spreads between people in close contact (within about 6 feet).
Your mask provides you with protection: you. It probably depends on the fabrics used and how your mask is made, how well it protects you from respiration (e.g., the type of fabric, the number of fabric layers, how well the mask fits). It is essential to wear masks when you are going outside.
Who needs to wear a mask?
- Everyone above two years of age and beyond should wear a mask in public.
- Every American should choose to wear a face masks while outdoors or travelling.
- If you’re sick with COVID-19 or think that you have COVID-19, wear a mask, even at home, while you have others.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA agrees that there might be a situation where wearing masks is not possible. Consider modifications and alternatives in these cases.
When you go out, apart from wearing masks, one must carry sanitizers when they go out. You know that your hands need to be washed frequently. Your hands make contact with germs, the mouth, eyes, the nose, and several other parts of your body. We hope you already wash your hands many times a day with soap and water. Apart from soap, another essential item is hand sanitizers.
What are the benefits of Hand Sanitizers?
When soap and warm water are not accessible, especially while on the move, hand sanitizers act as a blessing in disguise. Using sanitizers will help you to transmit fewer germs to your own body through body cavities.
This should not come as a shock. One of the key advantages of a hand sanitizer is that it sanitizes the Hand and kills germs. These products have been engineered to destroy germs and keep you infection-free. Hand sanitizers will kill germs when used correctly. CDC recommends that one must use Sanitizer before eating or around animals, garbage, or outside.
There won’t always be soap and water available outside when you need to wash your hands. Sanitizers are easy to carry and also do the job. The Aloe Vera Hand Sanitizer by Cleanlife360 is a revolutionary product as it is made with a unique no rinse formula. Hence it does not require water and can be used almost every time one comes in contact with unknown surfaces while on the go. Additionally it contains added moisturizers & rare herbs that nourish the skin and make it soft & supple while leaving behind a nice fruity smell. It is all the more advantageous that the Aloe Vera Hand Sanitizer has been scientifically proven to kill 99.99% germs on application.