Stink bugs in Kentuckiana

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - Stink bugs are making their way inside due to cooler temperatures, and experts say this particular stink bug is fairly new to the area.

It's called the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. It was first identified in Kentucky in 2010. Jefferson County happens to be one of the first counties where the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug was identified.

"A lot of people seeing them on the outside of their homes, outside of garages, in and around trees and crops, and they were considered a nuisance at that point," said Carol Wilder, a horticulture technician in the Jefferson County Extension Office.

Wilder and her office have received more complaints about stink bugs in the past few years than every before. Back when the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug was identified in 2010, only seven counties were able to find them. Just under a decade later, they can be found in more than 50 counties invading homes and destroying crops.

The bugs have given farmers fits; they feast on crops such as apples, tomatoes, corn, berries, beans and more. 

"It's really bad when we're talking about Kentucky farmers -- and Jefferson County does have farmers -- and they're losing crops," Wilder said. "And then it hits the community."

As for home owners, there's nothing to worry about if you spot a stink bug.

"They're not carrying diseases," Wilder said. "They don't bite people, but people don't want them falling in their cereal in the morning." 

When temperatures start to drop, as they do this time of year, stink bugs fight to get inside homes. Over the past few years, the Kentuckiana area has seen an influx of these bugs in homes because the population keeps growing. 

The key to keeping stink bugs outside of your doors is prepping your home. Sealing tight cracks is the best way to prevent entrance. 

"They've got a 50/50 chance on coming in or going out," Wilder said. "You want to make sure areas around electrical plates, lighting, windows are all sealed so that when they do go, they can't find a way in (and) they go back out."

As far as killing the pest, experts advise not to squash them. That's when the "stink" comes, along with a stain that will get left behind. 

It's also not recommended that people use insect spray to kill the bugs indoors.

Extension offices across the state are working to cut down on the stink bug problem because of how it effects farmers. Experts are asking you to bring stink bugs to their office so that they can identify where the bugs are coming from.

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