Stinkbugs

Asked September 25, 2016, 8:10 PM EDT

I have had an infestation of stinkbugs in my garden and house for 3 or 4 years. I naively thought that they would die out during winter. Mostly they just get in the house and even reproduce there! They are incredibly prolific, and I do not use pesticides as a rule but hand extermination is not working. I read online that there was no pesticide for this pest and that birds are the only natural predators, but that they were a threat to fruit, particularly peach trees, one of which I do have and its fruit was quite damaged last season. Any suggestions? Ellen

Multnomah County Oregon stink bugs

1 Response

Thanks for your question about stink bugs. First, we've had stink bugs in Oregon for many years, some types of which are actually beneficial in the garden. (Here's a link to an OSU website that has pictures of them.) Most of them are known to find shelter in structures over the winter, and they're more a nuisance than anything. Second, as you can see from the website I linked you to, the top left stink bug, the brown marmorated stink bug, is an invasive pest that has, in fact, done much damage in gardens and nurseries. It's distinguishable by the white lines on its antennae. Third, even though you might have stink bugs in your fruit trees, the damage may have been done by a myriad of other types of insects (and pathogens.) In the event you have positively identified the brown marmorated stink bug, you might consider reporting it here.

Having said that, there is currently no treatment for them. Keeping any type of insect out of your home just requires that you fill any access means, since they have to get in some way. Here are some other suggestions about using physical controls.

Finally, there is some evidence to believe that a natural enemy of the stink bug, the tiny, parasitic wasp called Trissolcus japonicus (also not a native), may proliferate in sufficient quantity to impact the numbers of stink bugs over time. Until then, we're just going to have to live with them.

Hope this is at least informative. Good luck!