Stink Bugs in Western Washington State

Author: Kurt Treftz, Cascade Pest Control

stink bug on a plantWhile there are about 51 stink bug species in the state of Washington, the brown marmorated stink bug has been making its home in the western Washington King, Pierce, and Thurston counties in the last several years.

Native to the Asian regions of China, Japan, and Korea, the brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive pest that was first detected in the US (in Pennsylvania) in the mid-1990’s, and then in the Pacific Northwest (in Portland) around 2004, making their way to the western Washington King, Pierce, and Thurston counties by 2017.

How Stink Bugs Get Their Name

Like many species, stink bugs emit an odor as a defense mechanism when threatened by a predator. When threatened, they produce and spray a smelly fluid through their scent gland. This smelly fluid can be sprayed several inches.

When squished, this fluid is not only emitted, but can transfer to whatever they’ve been squished on, e.g. a floor, carpet, human, etc. And if you vacuum up stink bugs, the fluid and smell transfer to your vacuum!

What Attracts Stink Bugs?

  • Stink bugs are attracted to lights, so in the evening, limit outdoor lighting such as porch, deck, and patio lighting.
  • Fruits – especially ripe fruit. Maintain and protect your garden fruit and fruit trees (and/or shrubs) in your yard.
  • Vegetable gardens. Maintain and protect the native vegetables in your garden.
  • Native Washington state trees, shrubs, vines, and even weeds.
  • Stink bug pheromones. Stink bugs release an aggregation pheromone that can attract other stink bugs. Once stink bugs are inside your home, they can actually attract other stink bugs into your home.

What Damage Do Stink Bugs Cause?

The same things that attract stink bugs, can be damaged from these pests! They can cause damage to any/all fruit-baring crops / plants / shrubs / trees, vegetable crops / gardens, and trees/shrubs/vines/plants native to Washington state.

How to Prevent and Get Rid of Stink Bugs?

  • Repair any damaged screens or windows, including damaged weather stripping or mortar
  • Repair damaged doors and install door sweeps
  • Limit and/or avoid outdoor lights at night on porches, decks, patios, etc.
  • Check items you bring into your home, such as grocery bags, boxes, containers, etc.
  • Maintain your yard or gardens keeping plants, shrubs, vines, trees, etc. property landscaped and away from the structure of your home or business

TIP: To immediately remove the stink bugs that you see crawling around your home, don’t squish them! Gently sweep them into a bucket and fill the bucket with 4-5 inches of soapy water.

Call Cascade Pest Control for Your Stink Bug Problem

Professional stink bug control is often the best option for removing and controlling stink bug infestation. If you have a problem, call us 1-888-989-8979 or Request a Quote, today!

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