(NewsUSA) - Turning leaves and cooler weather are sure signs that fall is here, but for homeowners in a number of states across the country, stink bugs are quickly becoming another sign of the changing seasons. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) says we are likely to start seeing these smelly pests hanging on curtains, lampshades, screens and other objects inside homes in the coming months.
The brown marmorated stink bug, native to Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea, was first discovered in the United States in eastern Pennsylvania in 1998. Since then, the stink bug has migrated to other states, including: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. In recent years, there have also been reported sightings in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
"Stink bugs, although harmless to humans, are quickly becoming one of fall's annoyances as they look to houses as the perfect over-wintering spot," noted Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "However, homeowners can pest-proof the home and keep tissues or a vacuum handy to help keep them under control."
The NPMA recommends the following tips for preventing and dealing with stink bugs:
1. Seal off entry points: Inspect the outside of your home for easy access points. Pay close attention to areas around siding and utility pipes, behind chimneys and underneath the fascia or other openings. Use silicone or caulk to seal any cracks and holes.
2. Replace and repair: Check for damaged window or door screens and for torn weather-stripping and loose mortar.
3. Turn off the lights: Keep outdoor lighting to a minimum. During the evenings, turn off porch lights and pull down window blinds to prevent light from spilling outside.
4. Ventilate: Properly ventilate basements, attics, garages and crawl spaces to eliminate harborage points. Consider using a dehumidifier in these areas.
5. Think before squishing: When disturbed or crushed, stink bugs have a tendency to release a bad-smelling odor. Instead, use a vacuum cleaner for their removal, and be sure to empty the vacuum bag immediately to prevent odor from permeating the area.
For more information on stink bugs, or to find a pest professional in your area, visit www.PestWorld.org.