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Stink bugs look for a home in Oregon, maybe yours

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As the temperature drops, insects are likely to find safe harbor in homes. For Oregonians, the list of unwanted house guests now includes the brown marmorated stink bug:

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The invasive brown marmorated stink bug is considered more of a dangerous agricultural pest, but that doesn’t mean it’s any more welcome inside someone’s home this fall and winter. The Oregon Department of Agriculture is starting to get more calls about the bug from homeowners, says entomologist Josh Vlach:

VLACH:  “We believe the initial infestation was in southeast Portland. At this point now, we have 10 counties that we know certainly are infested and 16 counties where it has been found.”  :11

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While it can devastate a whole host of crops, the stink bug is more of an annoyance inside a home:

VLACH:  “They’re not harmful. They don’t bite. They won’t eat your house plants, they won’t attack your cat. They might hide underneath your picture frames and get snuggly in your couch or something. But they aren’t going to hurt anything. Unfortunately, they do stink. Although they don’t stink usually unless you agitate them.”  :14

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The best thing for homeowners to do is close any gaps in the home that provide access for insects. If the stink bug does make it inside, and in good numbers, a vacuum cleaner works well. Some Oregon residents have reported a couple hundred stink bugs inside their home. That’s a far cry from areas back east where several thousand may aggregate inside a house. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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VLACH says there may be more indoor sightings of the stink bug, especially from those who might have attracted the pests earlier this year by having a backyard garden:

“As far as for homeowners, we definitely here in Oregon have had numerous cases where people had their backyard crops pretty much obliterated. Everything from hops to tomatoes, peppers to their flowers.”  :13

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VLACH says for all indoor insects, the advice is the same– try to keep them out of the house in the first place, if possible:

“The best thing to do is to try to go around and caulk up your house. Go underneath the siding, get around the dryer vent, around the windows. Make sure there is no gaps they are going to come into. That’s really hard. So then you are left with, okay, they are coming into my house. The best thing to do, even though they are going to stink, is probably just to use a vacuum cleaner.” :16

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