Stinkbugs Are Back and Scientists Need Your Help

West Virginia scientists want to determine population numbers and why the bugs choose certain homes, but need help from residents.

A stinkbug at a house in Ellicott City. Credit: Andrew Metcalf
A stinkbug at a house in Ellicott City. Credit: Andrew Metcalf

Every fall millions of Brown Marmorated Stinkbugs (BMSB) move from their outdoor habitats to seek hibernation for the winter.

This is what causes the bugs to enter homes, according to entomologist Don Weber, who studies stinkbugs in Beltsville for the Agricultural Research Service.

This year scientists in West Virginia are enlisting residents, mostly in West Virginia and Maryland, to count the number of stinkbugs that enter their homes. The information will be used to help scientists determine BMSB population numbers and help figure out why bugs choose certain houses over others, according to an Associated Press report.

"The question we have is why particular houses or particular locations have such large infestations and why other houses and other structures may not," Leskey said, according to the AP report. "Because we've seen in some locations where people can have literally thousands of stink bugs in their homes but maybe a mile or two away maybe just five or ten and so the question is 'why is that?'"

The "stinkbug count" will take place from Sept. 15 to Oct 15 and citizens scientists are being asked to count daily the amount of stinkbugs in their home.

If you're interested in participating, you can fill out this form, which was created by the Agricultural Research Service's Appalachian Fruit Research Station.

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