DETROIT (WJBK) - Michigan State University researchers are asking you to keep an eye - and maybe a nose - out for stinkbugs, an invasive species that will soon be moving from the outdoors to the indoors.
The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) sucks plant juices from fruits, seed pods and nuts on a wide variety of wild and cultivated plants. What it's really known for is it's very distinct smell when you kill it - it's very pungent and when you smell it, you'll know.
Aside from the odor, stink bugs are identified by their black and white pattern around the abdomen, a smooth 'shoulder' and white bands on dark antennae. The bugs are 0.5- by 0.625-inch and their bodies have a distinct shield-shape to them.
Check out the picture here for more details:
The stink bugs live outside during the warm months but as summer turns to fall and then in to winter, the stink bugs are looking for a way to survive. As the outdoor temperatures cool, stink bugs will do like humans - spend time indoors.
This fall, you'll likely see them outside your homes on the south and west sides and the groupings can be quite large.
Don't worry, they don't nest or reproduce inside your home, they're just looking for shelter from the cold.
The stink bugs look for south-facing, manmade structures. In their natural habitat, they search for rocky outcroppings and other protected areas.
They also won't bite you or your pets. They only feed on plants. That makes them a problem for the agriculture and is why you're asked to report them if you see them. They stain walls when killed and can contribute to airborne allergies.
Once they invade, they search for secluded, dark places and are relatively inactive so they may go unnoticed. Once it warms, they start crawling and flying again and try to leave so they can feed and reproduce.
Here's the deal though: in most of the Lower Peninsula, they're already well established. Check out this map that shows the stink bug is already well established and that no other reports are needed:
But if you're headed up north for the fall or up to the Upper Peninsula and you spot any, submit a report here.
The best way to manage stink bugs to keep them out of the house. Repair broken screens on doors, black access through AC units, chimneys, and vents to the outside, fill gaps around air conditioners, utility interfaces, or other cracks using caulk or foam sealant.
If they get in and you want to kill them without the stink or stain, that's easy too. Get a shop vac and suck them up. You can also catch them or drop them into soapy water or get really innovative and put a pan of soapy water under a light. Leave the light on and the stink bugs will flock to the light and eventually fall into the pan and drown.