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Stink bugs sneaking into your home mean you no harm

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John Brandauer
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Brown marmorated stink bug

With the temperatures dropping, you may have noticed a few small, shield-shaped brown insects making their way into your house. Those are brown marmorated stink bugs, and they’re mostly just a nuisance.

This particular stink bug doesn't harm humans or pets. They don't bite or spread disease, but they do eat plants and tree fruit.

They first hitchhiked to the United States about 20 years ago from parts of Asia but weren't seen in Michigan until 2010. Some orchards have experienced damage from stink bugs, but over the last decade, it has not been the widespread problem that experts anticipated.

Julianna Wilson, an assistant professor of entomology at Michigan State University, says in their natural habitat, they hunker down around cliffs. But Michigan’s cliff options are pretty limited.

“They’re seeking out buildings and structures and anything where they can crawl into tight spaces, and they end up in people’s attics. But they’re really doing nothing in the winter, other than just staying out of the cold.”

While experts have no clear-cut reason for this, Wilson says the stink bug population has shrunk considerably in recent years. So, you might see fewer of them in your house this fall.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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