If you've not seen one then you may be one of the few in the area that have not. They are here, and over the last couple of years they've become much more noticeable in the High Country. “Stink bugs”, or as they are officially known – brown marmorated stink bug.
Over the last several months the WataugaRoads.com/WataugaOnline.com social media outlets have received several questions regarding the bugs and why they are here.
First a little background. The bugs are considered invasive and were accidentally introduced from Asia into Pennsylvania in the 1990s, according to North Carolina State University (NCSU). The first reported state sighting occurred in 2009 in Forsyth County and since that time they have spread across the mountains and piedmont. And just why are they called stink bugs? They put off a foul smelling chemical as a defense mechanism, according to NCSU. The taste also will cause other animals, mostly birds, from eating the bugs.
64 of North Carolina's 100 counties have reports of the bugs as of February 2017 according to NCSU, but so far they have not caused any major problems to agriculture…yet. Watauga County Cooperative Extension Director Jim Hamilton tells WataugaRoads.com/WataugaOnline.com that his office gets residents bringing in the bugs asking about them.
They may not be a danger to most agricultural currently, but many local residents have their own issues with the brown pest invading their homes.
NCSU recommends these tips in dealing with the pest:
Insecticide sprays are usually not effective since the bugs are mobile, the constant influx of new stink bugs from outside and treating large populations is hard without contaminating living areas.
Leaving a large dead number of the pest can attract other unwanted pest looking to possibly feed on the stink bugs.
Don't live-release the bugs back outside as they will only work their way back in.
Don't squash the bugs in the home which will worsen the smell.
Dropping the bugs into a dish of soapy water to drown them is the simplest and most reliable method in dealing with the pest.
Vacuum the bugs up, then freeze or throw the vacuum bag away has also proved effective, but is a little more time consuming.