guest post by Patty Pierleonardi
The human sense of smell may not be as acute as that of animals, but we can still recognize thousands of different smells. The top ten best smells according to The Top Ten List (www.toptenlist.com) is Fresh Petrol, Vanilla, Bacon, Fresh Air, Freshly Cut Grass, Female perfume, Melted Chocolate, Popcorn, Coconut and Freshly Baked Cookies. Pumpkin Pie is not on the list but it is one of the favorite smells that leads us to believe that Fall has arrived.
Another not so favorable sign that cooler months are approaching is the arrival of the Stinkbug.
For starters, the stinkbug or Pentatomoidea, belonging to the insect family, Heteroptera, has piercing mouthparts and particular wings that are tough with membranes. Notorious for their “smelly” reputation, stinkbugs excrete liquid from their thorax glands when they are attacked by predators or breeding. The scent is defensive to predators yet attractive to their mates. Hmmm, sounds like Axe to me!
Stinkbugs are herbivorous, eating fruits and crops mostly. They use their sucking and piercing mouthparts to suck juice from a number of fruits, such as apples, pears, plums, grapes, and other crops such as dogwood, pecan, sunflowers, cucumbers and tomatoes.
Stinkbugs are regarded as agricultural pests because they do render severe damage to crops, even injuring the seed population for future growth. My friends and neighbors consider stinkbugs to be pests because they move into their homes as it gets cooler, searching for a warm place to hibernate. As the infestation grows, they can become a huge nuisance due to their number and their odorous smell. I have seen HUNDREDS of stinkbugs crawling on the sides of houses and window sills. Yuck!
Here are some interesting facts about stinkbugs:
- They are not poisonous to humans.
- Stinkbugs fly. They do not have wings during nymph stages and rarely fly when it is cold.
- Stinkbugs are attracted to warm weather because they need external heat to keep them alive. They are also attracted to light colored houses and homes with a lot of windows for sunlight.
- They normally do not bite humans, but they will if they feel threatened.
When you find that stinkbugs have moved into your home, there are a few things you can do to lessen the nuisance. You can vacuum them up with a handheld vacuum. Keep in mind that the stinkbugs will release their odor during this process, which will remain in the vacuum itself or in your home. Believe me, this is not pleasant. Cleaning your window sills with soapy water will drown the existing bugs and eggs and provide some instant relief but……….they may return.
Prevention may be the best way to stop an infestation from starting. One way is to seal all cracks with caulk, remove all potted plants and flowers close to the house and establish a barren land around your home with nothing to attract them. Yes, your home will not be attractive to humans once your pretty plants are gone, but stinkbugs may not like it either. Also, turn off all your lights at night because light attracts stinkbugs due to the heat they desperately need to survive.
So, in a nutshell:
Stinkbugs like our homes. They like our heat, our pretty flowers, our lights and our fruits. They like the shelter we provide them from the cold and feel safe hibernating there in the winter, where they are snug and warm.
We do not like stinkbugs! They move in, take over our house and smell awful! They fly over our heads when we are watching TV at night and fall into our cereal bowls in the morning. They lay their eggs in our window sills and release their smell to invite ALL their friends to our cozy abode, creating the infestation we try so hard to prevent.
If you want to keep your pretty flowers, turn your lights on whenever you want, and continue to use your vacuum for vacuuming carpets instead of bugs, call the professionals, Pest Management Services, Inc. at 703-723-2899 and let them treat your window sills, your attic, and your cracks to minimize the infestation and get your home back, smelling like a daisy.
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.
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