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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

The Invasion has Begun (AKA: Can you smell it?)

As occasionally happens, I have a blog written and ready to go (I typically write my first drafts on Mondays) and something happens and I totally change my mind and my blog at the last minute. This time, it was seeing this:

Where's Waldo?

You don’t see it? Okay, try this:

That’s right, the incursion of fall invaders has begun. Here in Georgia, it is going to be the brown marmorated stink bugs this year. These insects were accidentally introduced to the US from Asia sometime in the 1990’s. Like any introduced species that finds a suitable new habitat, they took off because they have no native predators in their new habitat and nothing to naturally keep those populations in check.

These stink bugs aren’t urban pests, they are agricultural pests that feed on a number of fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants. So what’s the big deal for homeowners and non-ag businesses? Great question, thanks so much for asking: they get IN. They find the tiny little cracks, crevices, and openings that allow them to invade structures. The good news (for home and business owners) is that they don’t cause any structural damage. They are just looking for a warm place to wait out the winter. They don’t feed, they don’t breed, and they really don’t move around too much. They just sit there and wait.

Come spring, as the temperatures warm up and the light changes, they become active and look for light to find a way of their winter dwellings. While many people will see the aggregations of them in the fall, it is just as likely they will see them in the spring as they try to exit and start their reproductive cycle all over again.

To be honest, if they have found their way in, it’s too late: there’s not too much that can be done. If they are found inside, they can be vacuumed up and taken out of the structure. It is NOT recommended to treat inside for these insects. Of course customers don’t really want to hear this from their pest control company!

The trick is finding them before they get in to stop them on the outside. Since I found this little one (and a few more) I know that now is when I need to make sure all my doors and windows are sealed. An outside treatment that focuses on possible entry points can reduce the numbers trying to get in. Really good structural inspections are necessary at this time of year to keep out the stink bugs and any other fall invaders looking for that great spot to overwinter.

Brown marmorated stink bugs are found in most states across the US. There are many other “fall invaders” that are wanting in too. Depending on where you are, some of the common ones are:

Each year will be a bit different; I don’t recall many stink bugs in my area last year but spiders were big. Each year will be a bit different in when they show up. September is a great time to really get on customers about exclusion issues. By October, some of these pests are going to be showing up, you need to keep an eye on what’s showing up and try to catch it early. So start looking now!

If you need some extra firepower dealing with this year’s invading force, contact us, we can help you deal with these battles more effectively!

Lagniappe – this is an older article but so well written!

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