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How to Deal With Stink Bugs

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Brown marmorated stink bugs have come out of hibernation and are busy devouring produce in many U.S. states. But while stink bug infestations can be devastating to farmers and their crops, they're much less harmful in homes.

"They're a nuisance pest," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. She explains that, similar to cicadas, there are no diseases associated with stink bugs and they don't cause property damage in homes where they take up residence.

Brown marmorated stink bugs are ugly to look at and have an unpleasant odor to them.

That being said, most homeowners probably don't want to live with a stink bug that wanders into their house, either inadvertently or as a way to escape the cold.

"They're ugly to look at," Henriksen admits. "And they do have an unpleasant odor to them."

Here's what those living in high-risk areas can do if stink bugs start threatening to take over their home.

Don't squish them.
While stink bugs can give off a slight odor in general, their stink -- which Henriksen says is strikingly similar to the one given off by "dirty feet" -- gets a lot worse when your squish them. As such, you might want to refrain from squashing a bug that's wandering around your living room.

Instead, "grab them with a tissue and toss them out," Henriksen says. She suggests that those who find themselves with a more serious infestation should use a vacuum hose to collect the insects. "Make sure to dispose of the vacuum bag once you have collected them," she says.

Seal off their points of entry.
Since stink bugs feed on vegetation, they prefer to be outside. They will come into houses "to winter" once the weather is no longer conducive to life on the streets, Henriksen explains. The best way to deal with a stink bug problem is to prevent one from occurring in the first place.

Henrikson suggests sealing off typical points of entry -- rips in window screens, cracks in the foundation, exhaust fans or light fixtures -- before the change in season.

She also suggests making sure children aren't inadvertently leaving doors open while running in and out of the house during their busy summer months.

Consult a pest control professional if a serious infestation has occurred.
Those with serious infestations should consult a pest management company, since there are treatments available that can get rid of the stink bugs in your home. Henrikson says pest professionals generally treat for stink bugs in midsummer to midfall because that's when they are most likely to come into homes looking for warmth.

"In other months the treatments would be less effective, as the pests wouldn't be present in such numbers," she says.

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