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Stink Bug Invasion! It’s as Bad as You Think

Stink bugs are coming (again)! In fact, they’re already here, and the government is searching for ways to wipe out the little stinkers.

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A brown marmolated stinkbug in Ohio

Don't squish a stink bug, or you'll quickly regret it. Instead, catch them and flush them down the toilet. Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

An army of stink bugs has marched into 38 states, and the federal government is scrambling to find ammunition to take them down.

Brown marmorated stink bugs, a Chinese import, are invading homes, orchards, and vineyards; eating fruit, buzzing overhead, and staying warm until they can emerge and lay eggs in spring.

If last year’s stink bug invasion wasn’t bad enough, this fall’s invasion is the second one this year — which presages an even bigger onslaught in 2013, says Tracy Leskey, an Agriculture Department entomologist.

“This has been a very good year for the stink bug,” Leskey told the The Examiner in Washington, D.C. 

Entomologists are deep into R&D to find ways to wipe out the stink bug. Front-runners include baited traps and natural stink bug enemies, such as the wheel bug, a bug assassin that injects a paralyzing enzyme that turns stink bug innards into porridge, which the wheel bug sucks up.

The best way you can keep stink bugs at bay is to seal your home up tight, like you do in winter to lower your heating costs.

  • Fill cracks in siding, window screens, and HVAC vents
  • Install weather stripping
  • Plug outdoor outlets

If stink bugs already have invaded your home, grab them with toilet paper and flush them down the toilet. Or, drown them in a jar of soapy water.

Do not squish them, which will release the stink that inspired its name, or vacuum them up, which will make the machine smell.

I gun down stink bugs in my house with my trusty Bugzooka.

Have stink bugs invaded your home? How do you get rid of them?

lisa-kaplan-gordon Lisa Kaplan Gordon

is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL. Follow Lisa on Google+.

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