Stink bugs are back -- and this year's crop is an unfortunately large one.
Fall is the time for Halyomorpha halys to make its putrid presence known to people in its adopted homeland of Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The insect immigrated from Asia, most likely as a stowaway in packing materials. The species doesn't spread disease or cause significant structural damage. It's not a major agricultural threat and it won't leave you with welts. But the creepy bugs do emit a nasty odor as a defense mechanism -- thus the "stink bug" designation.
Stink bugs usually live in people's yards, but work their way into homes in the autumn through cracks and open windows as they search for a warm place to spend the winter. They don't reproduce indoors, but can become an annoying presence indoors. Open windows, ripped screens, and cracks in foundations allow the dime-sized bug to find its way into your home.
According to the Frederick News Post, this year's crop of stink bugs is a large one, with the infested areas centering around Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey, possibly due to the mild weather this summer.
Suburban yards can be treated with a mild pesticide to prevent next year's profusion. But for now, residents are best served by keeping their windows closed and other entry points sealed. And holding their noses.