Stink bugs: 5 things to know about the foul-smelling pests

Stink bugs are becoming a growing problem across Ohio.

They’re stinky, creepy and probably in your home.

>> Stink bugs causing problems for homeowners in Miami Valley

Here are five things you should know about stink bugs:

1) Their foul smell is a defense mechanism

Scientists believe the stink bug’s odor is to help protect them from predators, according to Orkin. The bugs secrete the chemical when they are threatened or injured and some species can actually spray the stench several inches.

2) They’re harmless

Stink bugs don’t bite, sting, damage homes or carry any deadly diseases, said Jay Morgan, president of A-Able Exterminating. The bugs are less of a danger and more a very smelly annoyance.

3) There are hundreds of stink bug species

Stink bugs come in a variety sizes and colors. In the U.S. alone there are more than 100 species, according to Orkin. Most species are plant-eaters, but some eat other insects that harm plants, such as caterpillars, weevils, beetles and even other stink bugs. The brown marmorated stink bugs are the species typically found in the Miami Valley.

4) How do you get rid of them?

Stink bugs get into home through cracks and crevices. Moran suggested that homeowners check the outside of their homes in the fall and caulk, seal or screen any spots they find. Traps and pesticides can be used as well, but also work best in the fall.

5) Stink bugs like citrus 

Most stink bugs are herbivores and many species prefer to snack on citrus. In warmer spots of the U.S., stink bugs can be a major pest for citrus plants, according to Orkin. The bug seems to favor tangerines, but will also eat oranges and satsumas. Stink bugs have not been known to eat grapefruit, which scientists believe is because of the fruit’s thick rind.