POLL: Stink Bug Invasion Hits Region—Do You Have Them?

The stinky bug with the shield-like shape is now in 14 regions of New York.

Stink bugs.

They certainly lack the great PR ladybugs enjoy — no pretty name, whimsical pattern or usefulness for keeping garden pests at bay — but just like the cute little ladies the Halyomorpha halys loves to snuggle into warm homes when the weather turns cooler.

And they may be coming soon to your abode.

The stink bug invasion well known elsewhere has officially moved into the Hudson Valley with confirmed reports of the six-legged pests finding winter vacation stops in areas throughout Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties, as well as the northwest tip of Westchester, according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension, which is looking for help in tracking the bugs this fall. (See map for more detail.)

"Homeowners will begin seeing them over the next few weeks in larger numbers than last year as they were very successful this season in building populations," said Peter Jentsch, senior extension associate.

Stink bugs, which are brown, black or gray and shaped like a shield, can easily march through cracks, briefly opened doors and windows. They are also attracted to light, so blazing up your home at night may serve as a beacon, experts say. And, as the name suggests, they do emit an odor when squashed, which has been explained as everything from foul to almond- or even cilantro-like. 

They snuck in from Asia around 2008 and while harmless to humans and pets have since caused tens of millions of dollars in damage to U.S. crops such as apples, soybeans and peaches. One farmer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania told reporters that they ruined 40 percent of his crop this year. Locally, Jentsch said, the apple and bell pepper crop in the Marlboro Ridge along the Hudson River was affected this year.

There are many schools of thought on how to get rid of them, from dish soap to flushing them down the toilet to applying pesticides to the perimeter of your house. 

You can help track the stink bug two ways: following the instructions below for scientists and in the poll/comments to help forewarn your neighbors.

If you see them, send a sample for identification to the Cornell Cooperative Extension to help document its distribution. Place captured specimens in a small plastic container such as a plastic medicine bottle or film canister. 

Be sure to fill out the Submission Form and include it with your sample. Provide the complete information listed so we can document the distribution of this insect AND let you know if your sample contained any BMSB (Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.) Live specimens will be added to the research colony being established for the project (we cannot return any samples). Mail samples to:

Attn: Peter Jentsch, BMSB Project
Cornell Hudson Valley Lab
P.O. Box 727
Highland, NY 12528

Laura January 17, 2013 at 02:56 AM
For the past 5 months, I've found one each month in our 4th floor apartment in Bronxville. We've been here 3 years and have never seen them prior to this. There was also a stink bug on a wedding dress in the window display of the bridal shop in Bronxville last week. I catch them in a ziploc bag and then toss it. Whether they're harmful or not, they creep me out.
Scott Petricig January 17, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Seen 3 in the past few days in my house. They seem pretty lethargic right now, I guess due to the freezing weather.
Nanc January 17, 2013 at 04:52 AM
Why they don't hibernate is beyond me. They are still around alive and hiding in cracks and window sills. Possibly the radiators too. So we keep finding one or two a week. Easy to catch but so annoying. Any info on hibernation or life span?
Peter Jentsch January 18, 2013 at 02:06 AM
BMSB are overwintering in your home voids, soffets, attic, in the upper parts of the house. They will live through the winter and begin moving out of the urban environments in the spring. These Insects undergo a period of dormancy directly related to temperature. As the temperature increases so does BMSB activity. As the traps available are marginal at capturing the insect in homes your best bet is using a designated vacuum or cutting the top of a soda bottle flipped into the opening to form a funnel. They work well with a swipe of rainx in the funnel. Sealing homes, fixing screen doors, voids in siding soffit and fascia, air conditioners, fireplaces will help deter them.
Nanc January 18, 2013 at 02:25 AM
Liz Claire January 18, 2013 at 07:54 AM
I've had a few as well. I've read they prefer the South side of house. Nothing will kill them unless you do manually. Quite unpleasant to deal with.
10560 January 29, 2013 at 05:37 PM
North Salem NY. I see them all the time! Wish they would go away!
Donna Sanzo January 29, 2013 at 06:07 PM
i live in Croton have had them for 2 yrs.Found they were coming thru the light fixture in the bathroom. we have fixed the problem and no more.Had a worse scenerio with Ladybugs they invaded my house hundreds of them inside thousands outside anyone else had problem with ladybugs?? what can you do??
Dawan Rotella January 29, 2013 at 06:35 PM
I was wondering what they are. I find them on my porch in Ossining NY all the time and in the bathroom
Tracy Hoffman January 29, 2013 at 06:57 PM
I live in Chappaqua and have had these bugs in my garden & home for the past 4 to 5 years. This past summer there were about 200 bugs flying around on my deck, since then I kill about 4 a day in various bedrooms & bathrooms.
Dee January 29, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Cortlandt Manor, NY for over a year. I flush 2-5 of them down the toliet most days. Only in my living room and dining room.
Penny Hawkey January 29, 2013 at 07:50 PM
I found them last summer infesting my green pepper crop. Very worried about this years apple harvest.
Liz Claire January 29, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Fight nature with nature. I just got a bat house. Bats are one of their few natural predators. For some reason, the bat house makers make you paint them black. Black bat houses are most effective, apparently, in attracting bats. Bats find new houses in spring, so now is the time to prepare to attract them.
10506er January 29, 2013 at 08:06 PM
YES, Bedford Village. They drop out of my ceiling light fixtures!! I find three or four a day, sometimes they appear out of nowhere and fly around the kitchen. I'm waiting for one to land in my coffee.
dita von struedel van trappyodel January 29, 2013 at 10:22 PM
I saw tons of them inside the Demoacratic National Convention back over the summer in Charlotte NC. Several local democrat stinkers must have carried them back to our area. No other possible explanation.
Lanning Taliaferro (Editor) January 30, 2013 at 12:55 AM
LOL. Seriously, they've just started showing up again at our house in Croton -- right about the time the temperature dropped to 10! We've been flushing them. But now I'm going to start taking pix of them first for Cornell! http://hudsonvf.cce.cornell.edu/bmsb1.html
LOVE MY WP January 30, 2013 at 03:51 AM
White Plains, this is the second year. My sister also here gets them too.
Darcy Ann Flanders January 30, 2013 at 05:29 AM
YORKTOWN HEIGHTS NY They were all over the outside of our house in the spring and fall and they were occasionally finding their way in. Hadn't seen any for a while but just found one on my kitchen cabinet this past weekend. YUK! I cup them and put them outside.
Jenny Hinsman January 30, 2013 at 12:11 PM
A little over a year ago when the Patch polled folks to see if they had stink bugs, I responded no. Now we have them in Brewster/Patterson. I throw them out since they're easy to pick up. Did not know that they destroy apples - not a good thing for New York.
Laura Harrison January 30, 2013 at 12:18 PM
They started spending their "winter vacations" in my White Plains, NY home last year. Guess they had a grand time because they told ALL of their friends this year :(
Natalie Schmidt January 30, 2013 at 01:00 PM
I live in Yorktown Heights.These stinkers amazingly showed up in my Christmas decorations. When I pulled out my boxes from my attic in December, I was horrified to find about 7 of them in my sealed, wrapped decorations!! How could this happen? We packed them up last January, and I was finding them in bubble wrapped items that were in plastic bins!. They look pre-historic to me. Uggh, I really dislike them.
kathy January 30, 2013 at 01:58 PM
chappaqua, ny
Wendy Kelly January 30, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Peekskill 2 years exterminator said they come inside to get out of cold mostly from roof vents (where I have found most upstairs) no sure treatment to rid them. Friend in Marlboro, NY bought a Bug Buster funny sucks the bugs into a tube he has lots. That is apple country.
Barbara Cooper January 30, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Hope we won't see them in White Plains. LOTS in our daughter's home in New Hampshire last Thanksgiving. Yuk!
Lanning Taliaferro (Editor) January 30, 2013 at 11:07 PM
That's amazing. And horrible. Did you take pix? If so please share!
Peter Goodson January 31, 2013 at 01:50 AM
In Peekskill I keep seeing this really big and round Stink Bug roaming around City Hall at all times of the day and especially late into the evening. If you are patient and wait until dark you will be able to see her, I mean it, pass by the window as it goes from office to office.
freydo February 04, 2013 at 04:02 PM
We have them everywhere. Ossining, New York. I purchased one of these electric flyswatters and if you get them on their back, they won't stink. What a great invention. Great for all bugs, even spiders.
freydo February 04, 2013 at 04:05 PM
We have them here in Ossining. I purchased an electric flyswatter and if you zap them on their backs, they won't smell. Great invention and great for all bugs, even spiders.
Valerie Candela February 09, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Cortlandt manor we sprayed the perimeter of the house in the fall and early winter and also in the attic. The number that have actually been found inside the house has been minimal this year. A couple of bugs a month not much.
Valerie Candela February 09, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Liz did you get any bats? We did not paint our house but will now. Someone said to order bat poop.


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