Stink Bugs Taking Area by Swarm

They're everywhere

By Derrick Ward
|  Monday, Sep 27, 2010  |  Updated 2:43 PM EDT
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Pests known as stink bugs are invading the <a title=Washington, D.C., area." />

Derrick Ward

Pests known as stink bugs are invading the Washington, D.C., area.

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Stink Bugs

Michael Raupp, an Entomology professor at the University of Maryland, discusses stink bugs. Raupp has a "bug of the week" page: click here.
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Smelly, pesky bugs known as stink bugs have been swarming the Washington, D.C. area -- and when you try to kill them, they just smell worse.

"When you try to kill them, before death, they stink," said Michael Raupp, an entomology professor at the University of Maryland. "They want to find a place to chill out for the winter. They're not coming in for warmth, they're coming in for refuge.

"They'll invade your attic and come in for the winter time. But on a nice warm day in February, they're going to say, 'Oh, spring,' and come down and be all over your windows and your baseboards and things like that."

Some frustrated area residents have gone as far as using their vacuum cleaners to combat these stinky critters. Scientists call their kind halyomorpha halys. They smell so badly because when threatened, they release a smelly defensive chemical.

And right now, they're flooding houses.

"This is the time of year that they get the natural cue to move to buildings," said Wayne White, of American Pest

For us, they are mostly a nuisance, but in places where there's a lot of agriculture they are a big problem.

"The bug definitely has the ability to puncture fruit and cause some damage and make it un-marketable. For a few years now, we've been watching this migration and watching the numbers build up," White said.

Matt Nixon, the owner of American Pest, watched the numbers build up around his home.

"In the last two or three days there have been about a dozen or so outside and some inside every day," he said.

The best way to combat them is to close off the spaces where they enter a home, experts said. Places like small spaces around windows and screens. You can also always call pest control.

"They really cause no harm," White said. "Just a nuisance."

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