Many people are complaining about the annual Fall invasion of these insects into their homes. But what are these bugs that sneak in through cracks in your house, crawl around on your walls, then seem to fly directly at you when you’re not expecting it? We often refer to any insect as a “bug”, but in this case you would be right! It’s known as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys). This species is a member of the insect Order Hemiptera, a group known as True Bugs. And yes, this stink big does stink; it’s reported to release an odor if disturbed or moved.
So how come this stink bug seems to have been bugging us just in recent years? It’s actually not a native species, but an invasive from Asia. It hitched a ride into North America by hiding in packing crates. It was first found in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in 1998, and then by 2012 it had spread to 40 states! Many farmers know about this insect since it’s an agricultural pest to fruit and vegetable crops.
The specimens in the photographs are the first examples in the OHS collections, and specimen records such as this help to document the spread of this invasive species. They were collected and donated by William T. Schultz, OHS volunteer and former Curator of Natural History.