Stink bugs are tiny insects that can be annoying as they produce a foul odor whenever they feel threatened. During the warmer months of the year, stink bugs live outside. As soon as their eggs hatch in summer, the little bugs come out, ready to invade your property and attack your garden. In the fall, you’ll be able to see many more adult stink bugs in your garden, and even in your house where they’re trying to find a place to hide for the winter.
So, should you be worried about stink bugs in your garden? The answer is a resounding “yes” as they lower the quality of your crops and can wipe out other decorative plants as well.
The insects are herbivores that destroy the vegetation and crops in your garden. Using their sharp mouthparts, they perforate and suck out the juice from the inside of roots, leaves, fruits, and stems of plants in order to extract nutrients and feed themselves. They will also inject digestive enzymes that dissolve the seeds. Besides, they also leave their waste on both fruit and foliage.
In addition, the stink bugs can carry viruses that they later spread to the vegetation. But they can cause even more havoc to your fruit plants by spreading yeast spot infection, which is responsible for significantly reducing crop yield and causing cosmetic damage to the fruit.
If stink bugs numbers go unchecked, eliminating them will be a difficult task. Hence, you should embrace the use of proper pest control methods to keep their numbers in check as soon as possible.
Keep reading to find out more about the harm that stink bugs cause in the garden and what to do about the infestation.
What Attracts Stink Bugs To Your Garden?
Fruits, ornamental plants, nuts, and even weeds can be the key attraction of stink bugs in your garden. When irrigating plants and grass, or settling into a flower bed, these are the two main routes through which the insects enter your garden. The bugs thrive in sucking the life out of your plants, which results in the slow death of the plants.
The bugs are likely to choose your garden as their next home for a couple of reasons. They usually forage on ripe berries and second leafy vegetables. The presence of fruit trees with ripe fruits serves as an invitation to these shield-shaped bugs. Besides, shrubs, vines, and ornamental plants are also very enticing to the bugs.
Warm weather offers the insects a thriving environment, causing them to multiply. During winter, they are not active and tend to hide in crevices in the attic and walls of your house, where they can find the much-needed warmth. As long as the temperatures remain low, you do not notice their presence in your yard.
However, when winter is over and temperatures rise, they slowly find their way into the garden to feed. Whenever they are gathered in their numbers, they release a pheromone, i.e. a special chemical that draws more of these insects into your garden or home. Thus, when you notice them on your property, take action before their numbers increase exponentially.
Where Do Stink Bugs Lay Eggs In Gardens?
Adult stink bugs do not lay eggs until spring, when there is sufficient food and warmth for their eggs to hatch later in summer. While they feed on fruits and foliage, they lay their eggs on the back or underside of the leaves.
During spring, adult stink bugs find their way out and feed on all the available plants, particularly on fruits and any foliage they come across, where they lay their eggs.
After a few weeks, the nymphs hatch from the eggs. Immediately after hatching, the insects are driven by hunger into nearby plants. The young bugs will develop for the rest of the summer as there is enough food to eat.
The sharp mouthparts are essential in piercing the skin of fruits and plants to extract the juice. However, the stink bugs tend to leave their toxic saliva behind, which is responsible for killing plant cells.
How Do You Know If You Have A Stink Bug Infestation In The Garden?
Stink bugs are difficult to identify as there are many species that significantly vary in appearance. Nonetheless, adult stink bugs have a shield-shaped body that grows up to 6 inches long and equally wide. They have a mottled tan or cream green color, with some species having colored markers.
Nymphs tend to be smaller in size and vary in color from red, black, brown, and green. Depending on the species of the stink bugs, their eggs may differ in color, but tend to look like tiny barrels or small pistachio nuts.
The first thing that signals a stink bug infestation is when you notice them in large numbers in your garden or see lots of nymphs on fruits. Furthermore, you are likely to detect an infestation by noticing wide-ranging destruction of the plants and crops, thanks to their piercing.
Stink bug infestation kills seedlings, wilts leaves, cause stunted growth in plants, and they create pits and spots on fruits. Fruits tend to drop prematurely, become deformed, or may even fail to form.
Should You Eliminate Stink Bugs?
The worst problem with stink bugs is that they are destructive to fruit trees, ornamental plants, and other vegetation in the garden. But they do not pose a direct threat to people or cause structural damage to houses.
However, they can be a nuisance to people and pets. They have glands that give off a strong foul odor when squashed, disturbed, or when they feel threatened. It’s a natural way of protecting themselves against predators.
Also, they can be factors in the spread of certain plant diseases as they travel from one plant to another.
Finding a large number of stink bugs in your garden is a telltale sign of an infestation. Once the infestation is already underway, eliminating stink bugs can be quite a challenge. Thus, it is important to apply professional control methods to ensure these pests are effectively removed and prevent them from invading your garden again in the future.
Our expert team at American Pest Control in Atlanta will examine your property and come up with a strategic plan to keep these bugs at bay! Call us today for more information on stink bug control or request a free pest inspection.