Stink Bugs! Who are they and what do they want?

Having lived in the tropics, both Caribbean and Asian climates, I have seen a lot of bugs in my life.  Upon returning to the States, I noticed for the first time the abundance of “lady bugs” that hatched and died on the window sills of the older homes I owned.  They were harmless enough and a quick vacuum made them disappear like magic.

Now a new phenomenon has struck.  The Stink Bug.  This is the first winter I have seen these creatures  in such abundance.

A little background here.  According to Wikipedia and other reliable sources, Stink Bugs (aka Halyomorpha halys, Brown Marmorated Stink Bug or BMSB) were accidentally introduced into the US in the late 1990s in Pennsylvania.  “They can be ruinous to crops as they are indiscriminate in their menu of plants though they pose no threat to humans.”

Well, I’m not sure how you define “threat” but they certainly do threaten my happiness.  When frightened or crushed, the bugs emit a sharp, strong odor.  Some liken it to cilantro, but let me just say there is no thought of yummy Thai food when you get a whiff.  And furthermore, what exactly are they frighten by?  The cats love to bat them around on the floor, the dogs are drawn to their slow-moving waddle, but aside from occasionally being squished underfoot, it seems they live a life of leisure.

The prolific little suckers are everywhere in my house.  The other day I got into the shower only to discover two bugs lurking.  I sprayed them and washed them toward the drain, was rewarded with a double shot of stink and when I finished?  They crawled back out of the drain to dry off.  I have flushed them down the toilet, escorted them out the door to the freezing cold and vacuumed them by the dozens only to find a new, bumper crop of them every morning.

In the cold dry months of winter I place a pan of water on the heat registers in my floor.  These pools have now taken on the name of “Stink Bug Soup” as they seem to attract the pests in droves.  Their little, brown shield-shaped bodies float effortlessly across the surface.

So what do they want but a warm place to snack and reproduce?

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