My mom and dad are finding quite a few stink bugs in or around their home in Washougal, Washington. I have also seen them in and around my home in northeast Portland. What do they eat, and how do we get rid or control them?
I am assuming you are referring to the brown marmorated stink bug, aka BMSB. Perhaps the most obvious identification marks on these shield-shaped insects are the white bands on the antenna. (http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/shared/Documents/Publications/IPPM/BrownMarmoratedStinkBugPestAlert.pdf)
If this doesn’t match the insects your parents see, please send pictures and a brief description (size; shape; colors) when you reply to this emailDuring the winter, BMSB seeks shelter on and in our houses just as do box elder bugs and Asian lady beetles. They can be a tremendous nuisance. While indoors, they don’t bite, breed, or cause damage to plants, pets, people or the building. The key to keeping them outdoors is to seal cracks and crevices where they may enter the house – around the windows and where utilities enter the walls. Seal the interior just prior to fall, the exterior in mid-July. Depending upon the number present, daily rounds while flicking the BMSB into soapy water, is effective. If very numerous, consider using a wet-dry shop vac. Pesticides won’t help.