I've received several reports of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSB) being found in homes over the past couple of days. It's a sure sign that the seasons are changing and these home invaders are searching for their winter vacation spots.
It's during this time of year that we see insects hanging out on the sides of houses, garages, and window sills on sunny days, checking out places to spend the winter. While boxelder bugs and multicolored Asian lady beetles first come to mind, in several areas of the state, BMSB is starting to make its presence known as well. Typically, the adults will begin to move to overwintering locations in September, with peak movement in late September and October. Homeowners may start to see BMSB begin gathering on homes, barns, and garages during this time. In the spring, adults will begin to emerge from their overwinter locations as temperatures begin to warm.
A great resource for homeowners is a publication from Cornell University. It's important to remember that it is geared towards homeowners in the east - in Illinois, we've yet to have a circumstance where treating the landscape outside the home has been needed to decrease the number of BMSB home invaders.
BMSB has been making headlines in Illinois for a couple of years. After the first confirmation of this invasive insect was reported in the fall of 2010 (Cook County), additional reports continued in 2011 (Kane, McLean, and Champaign counties). In late 2012, BMSB was confirmed in Jacksonville (Morgan County) and the first report has also come out of the Quad Cities area (Scott County, Iowa).
Brown marmorated stink bug confirmed in shaded counties.
Currently, the known distribution of this insect in Illinois is limited. Homeowners are our primary source of information during the fall and spring. We are very interested in where these insects may be and continue to try to determine where they are in Illinois. If you believe you have BMSB, we would be very interested in looking at it. To positively confirm any insect as BMSB, we need to look at an actual specimen. Suspect stink bugs may be sent to Kelly Estes, 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL 61820. Please put stink bugs in a crush-proof container (pill bottle, check box, etc). You can also send a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org for preliminary screening if you wish.