How To Control Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs In Your Garden (2018)

How To Control Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs In Your Garden

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are minuscule stink bugs which have accidentally been introduced to the environment of North America a couple of decades ago. Originally, the natives of the Korean peninsula, Japan, China, and Taiwan they have adapted exceptionally well to the new environment. But, this introduction of brown marmorated stink bugs in North America took a wrong turn when their population exploded. The rapid increase in the population of these creatures has become troublesome for the farmers as well as homeowners. Not only is their spread a major cause of damage to precious food crop every year, they hide in the vents, cracks, and crevices of the houses, warehouses, and office buildings for overwintering. This behaviour of theirs creates the nuisance for the owners. It is a considerably difficult task to keep them away from your garden. Then again, it is not impossible. Here, we will take you through some effective ways of garden control and how you can get rid of Brown Marmorated Stink bugs in your house.

1. Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

Halyomorpha halys (Stål) or Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is a native of Japan, the Korean peninsula, Taiwan, and China. It is a characteristically shield-like stink bug which varies from 12-17mm in size. It is given the adjective ‘marmorated’ because of the presence of marble-like veined or variegated markings on its abdomen. These markings can be mottled brown, blueish, black, grey, or off-white in colour. They are flat insects which can enter the tiniest of cracks easily. Their stink glands are located in between their hind and front legs which enable them to emit an odour whenever they feel threatened by a predator. Apart from this defence mechanism, there is no other way in which brown marmorated stink bugs can harm their predators.

2. Life-Cycle of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

Life-Cycle of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

Brown marmorated stink bugs spread rapidly in the mid-Atlantic region even though they were accidentally introduced to the environment in a small number. This is because a female brown marmorated stink bug can lay up to 400-500 eggs in her lifetime. That makes these bugs capable enough to give birth to an entire generation annually.

Winters can be a very harsh season for brown marmorated stink bugs because they hide in the warmer places such as door frames, window sidings, and other openings in a house which are wide enough to fit them. They do so in order to keep themselves warm. They usually look for buildings such as warehouses, houses, condos, office spaces, and buildings with spaces for them to slide-in and overwinter. While overwintering, brown marmorated stink bugs are majorly inactive. It is only in the early spring, two to three weeks after emerging out from their hiding spots, that females become able to reproduce.

To attract their female counterparts towards themselves for reproduction, male brown marmorated stink bugs release pheromone and send out vibrational signals. Females reciprocate by sending out vibrational signals too, so that, both of them can find each other for mating. Females lay their eggs in tiny clusters of 25-30 eggs on the underside of a leaf or any such protected space. The nymphs can be identified by their bright colours. They undergo 5 nymphal stages from 2.4mm to 12 mm untill they grow into adults. It takes a nymph 35-45 days to grow into adults.

Brown mamorated stink bugs can mate several times in one season, depending upon how warm the climate of the region is. Females can lay their brood several times a year which can range up to 212-486 eggs by every female. No wonder, the population of these stink bugs is expanding so quickly.

3. Damage Caused by Brown marmorated Stink bugs

Damage Caused by Brown marmorated Stink bugs

Well, we know that this growing population of brown marmorated stink bugs is posing a dire threat to the farms in Japan, the Korean Peninsula, China, and the Mid-Atlantic region in the United States. They are responsible for the destruction of food crop including that of peaches, pepper, apples, sweet corn, soybeans, and many others annually and cause loss of millions of dollars to farmers every year.

The above agricultural threat is definitely something to be concerned about, but apart from that, brown marmorated stink bugs are causing nuisance in lives of the city dwellers too. They do so by infesting their houses, office spaces, apartments, and warehouses. They do so because they need warm spaces to survive the winters. They are certainly not harmful to the structure or cosmetic appearance of the landscape you live in. then again, they are stink bugs, therefore, whenever they sense a threat to their lives or are crushed under pressure, they emit a foul odour. Well, of all things, you do not want thousands of stink bugs hiding in your house. Yes, there are thousands of them in one place!

During the late summers, as winter is upon them, brown marmorated stink bugs begin looking for places to congregate and survive winters. When a group of brown marmorated stink bugs find a place to overwinter, they release the pheromone to attract and invite more of their kind to the place. This is how they spend winters at your home in clusters of thousands of bugs.

These thousands of bugs emerge out of their hiding spaces as the spring approaches. This is the time when you will actually realise the presence of the brown marmorated stink bugs in your house. Here’s how their presence can prove troublesome for you:

  • Initially, when brown marmorated stink bugs take shelter in your house, they attract their predators such as lizards and other bigger insects.
  • Then, whenever they feel threatened, they emit a foul odour which puts all your efforts into making your living or work space phenomenal, to waste.
  • Though their activities are minimal in the winters, the warmth of the house enables them to roam about clumsily into your house when the lights are on as they are attracted to light fixtures. They usually die in the light fixtures, fans, and such spaces which are difficult to clean.
  • Once they emerge out in the early spring, they are all over your house and garden. They crawl on walls and ceilings which is certainly not a pleasant site to see. The adults now move from the overwintering sites to the host plant.
  • They can now damage your curb appeal and garden by feeding on the ornamental plants, fruit trees, and garden.

If such is the case with you, you certainly need expert garden control against brown marmorated stink bugs. Read along to know how to control brown marmorated stink bugs in your garden.

4. How to get rid of Brown marmorated bugs?

How to get rid of Brown marmorated bugs

You do not want these pests to infest your house because they will lay more eggs in an around your house again, and this infestation will become an annual thing at your house. Therefore, here is how to get rid of brown marmorated bugs.

5. DIY Methods to get rid of brown marmorated stink bugs

get rid of Brown marmorated bugs

Wondering how to keep brown marmorated stink bugs away by DIY methods? Well, here’s how you can save money on expert help and follow these quick hacks to get your curb and garden back to its glory:

  • Use good quality silicone, foam sealants, silicone-latex cloaks etc. to cover open drain pipes, window air conditioners, sidings, vents, utility pipes, spaces around doors, screens, and windows, and under fascia boards. By sealing all the spaces wider than 1/8 of an inch in your house, you can prevent most of the infestation.
  • Replace all damaged screens, broken doors and windows before it is the overwintering season.
  • Installing weather stripping on the edges of the doors which are frequently exposed to outdoors will be of great help to keep the spaces around them sealed. The seeps or thresholds on the exterior doors should be tightly fit too.
  • Attics often go overlooked when you are looking to prevent the entry of bugs into your house. Make sure that you take care if the spaces are all tightly sealed to prevent entry of bugs through attics as well.
  • Lights attract the brown marmorated stink bugs the most in your homes, therefore, it is important that you switch off all unnecessary lights on the exterior and interior of your house. You can also install the exterior lights away from your home, somewhere near a screened window to create a distraction for the bugs.
  • One of the best natural remedies to control brown marmorated stink bugs in your garden or indoors is to place a foiled pan filled with water and a few drops of shampoo or dish soap. Point a light a source into it and place it in a dark corner and dark room. All the bugs will get attracted to the light source and will get trapped into the soapy water. The bugs drown in it because the soap reduces the surface tension, disabling them to fly. Empty the pan and repeat the process if necessary.
  • Use a dry or wet vacuum cleaner to suck up all the bugs from small spaces and if you are concerned about the foul smell it will leave in the dirt canister, dedicate a separate vacuum cleaner for bug control. Well, it is somewhat an investment to dedicate a vacuum cleaner alone to brown marmorated stink bug control & prevention but if they are creating a lot of nuisance in your otherwise tranquil workspace, you have just a few good options.
  • One good alternate to a separate vacuum cleaner for you can go through tips to control brown marmorated stink bugs, they will advise you to stick an old nylon stocking into the vacuum pipe in which all the bugs will get collected and you can throw the stocking away.
  • Wondering what if the bugs collected are alive and might come back? This is certainly a possibility, therefore, seal the bugs into a plastic seal bag and keep it in the freezer for 2 days before throwing them away.
  • Sweep them into containers when they are not active. When you collect the bugs, do not flush them to conserve water and do not throw them into the garbage or else they will establish themselves into the landfills.

6. Garden Control against Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

Garden Control against Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

If your garden is infested by brown marmorated stink bugs and you are looking for an answer to how to control brown marmorated stink bugs in natural ways, here’s what you are looking for:

Brown marmorated stink bugs are no less than a nightmare for landscaping and backyard gardening enthusiasts. They spoil their fruit trees, corn crops, and other ornamental plants and attract undesired pests into the garden. Though small damage to fruits is tolerable, when these bugs inflict in your garden in a large number, you better put your prevention game up front!

  • One of the best methods for brown marmorated stink bug control & prevention in your garden is to line the edges of the garden with row covers. Row cover is a light, permeable material which is made up of polyester or polypropylene. You can also cover just the fruit and vegetable plants with it. However, the material will also bar pollinators from doing their work along with stink bugs. Another problem with row covers is that they cannot be used to cover large fruit trees, which are huge and even if you cover them, the cover is more likely to be torn apart by air.
  • Alike row covers, netting can also be used as an effective remedy to protect plants such as that of pepper and tomatoes from stink bugs. Nets with gaps smaller than 1/6th of an inch will prove just fine for protecting the plants from damage by brown marmorated stink bugs. Though, they will barre the pollinators from reaching the flowers, at least you can make sure that the heat doesn’t get trapped within the plant and it gets enough room to breathe.
  • To regularly checking the underside of leaves for egg masses is one of a few natural remedies to control brown marmorated stink bugs in your garden prescribed by the experts. While you are at it, use a hand-held vacuum cleaner to get rid of stink bugs which are hiding amidst the dense foliage. Ensure that you treat them well before throwing them away. Keeping them into soapy water initially will ensure that those probably still alive also die.
  • Some tips to control brown marmorated stink bugs suggest the use of commercially available stink bug traps which use the pheromone to lure the bugs. These traps are known to help the gardening enthusiasts get rid of stink bugs when they have infested the space in a large number. If the garden or backyard is small, these commercial traps are of little use because the traps are supposed to be moved away from the infested area as the bugs start collecting around them. Smaller spaces do not have enough space to do so. These traps have a bad name for the ‘spill over’ effect as they attract the bugs from the neighbourhood as well. Plus, they do not guarantee that the crops will be saved from damage.
  • The Asian countries from where these bugs originate have had time to biologically figure out how to control brown marmorated stink bugs in natural ways. They have identified various parasites which feed upon these bugs and let loose their population in the infested regions. As a new specie enters a new environment, its predators also co-emerge. Brown marmorated stink bugs also have a lot of natural enemies which have been documented to feed upon them at various life stages. These natural enemies include assassin bugs, green lacewing larvae, and earwigs. Apart from them, tiny parasitic wasps eat up as much as 80% of the eggs leaving much less of them to grow into adults. Somewhere around 50-60% of the eggs die naturally without any interference too.
  • If you are planning to spend a fortune on insecticides to get rid of these bugs, it will be of little use because most of the insecticides are not effective on brown marmorated stink bugs. Then again, if nothing else seems to help you with the stink bugs, chemical control is the last resort. For this, you should opt for the insecticides which cover a broader spectrum such as pyrethroid and organophosphate. Apart from them, you can opt for some natural oils to suspend nymphs at an early stage.

Now that you know that brown marmorated stink bugs can create real nuisance in your house and can cause a considerable amount of damage to your garden, you should definitely start right away with the DIY methods to get rid of brown marmorated stink bugs. Always remember the old adage that “prevention is better than cure” still stands true. The above listed ways describing how to keep brown marmorated stink bugs away from your house will help you protect the indoors of your house from stink bug infestation. In addition to that, steps suggesting how to control brown marmorated stink bugs in your garden will keep your backyard blooming with lush green trees and delicious fruits.

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