Prepare yourselves. Hemipteran hobgoblins known as brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) will invade Corvallis homes this fall, wiggle into walls, flood umbrella stands, and find their way into firewood piles. The bugs take advantage of warm fall days to find their overwintering homes – and yours looks cozy. Be aware they might just bump into you in your sleep along their way.
BMSB were first found in Portland back in 2004, and the sturdy creatures have since flown or hitched rides up and down the I-5 and I-84 corridors. Populations around Corvallis have been steadily growing for the last few years, which is particularly concerning to local residents not too keen on the winged beasts’ cilantro-like smell.
BMSB are commonly confused with other aggregating structural pests like boxelder bugs or native species like the rough stink bug, though bands across their antennae distinguish them from other brown stink bugs.
Though prevalent in fall, they’re also a problem in home gardens and a wide range of agricultural crops during the summer. They often hide and overwinter in loose bark or decaying wood on holly, oak, and locust trees. Cardboard is, of course, comfy too. Fixing your screens, taking your rain boots inside, and feeding the foul-smelling insects to your chickens are all great ways to reduce the population of these stinky marauders.
For more information, check out www.stopbmsb.org and http://horticulture.
By Matthew Hunt
(Photos courtesy of Victoria Skillman, OSU Graduate Research Assistant)