Several years ago news stories began to pop up with sensational headlines claiming how stink bug infestations would soon be invading Georgia where they would make life miserable for homeowners. At the time, many of these predictions may have seemed dubious to most Georgia residents, but it did not take long before residents began to notice large numbers of the invasive bugs within their homes. Four years ago, researchers at multiple Universities in Georgia recruited everyday residents to help monitor stink bug population numbers, as well as stink bug movements across the state. Today, it is clear to many Georgia residents that the brown marmorated stink bug will not be eradicated from the state anytime soon, as these bugs are infesting more and more homes in the deep south with each passing year. As it happens, the brown marmorated stink bug can be more than just a nuisance within homes, as researchers have recently found that the defensive chemical that gives these bugs their common name can also cause human skin conditions and allergic reactions.
During the early 1900s, researchers found evidence to suggest that stink bugs were capable of causing dermatological conditions, but this information did not become widely known as the field of entomology was still in its infancy at the time. Past researchers were also unable to scientifically confirm that stink bugs caused skin conditions, and it should be noted that stink bugs were not as widespread in residential areas a century ago as they are today, and therefore, they were of no concern to Americans. As many people have learned, the brown marmorated stink bug was only documented in America for the first time in 1996, and this is the only stink bug species that has become a major nuisance pest within 26 states east of the Mississippi. Now, numerous research studies have confirmed that the defensive substance secreted by the brown marmorated stink bug can cause allergic reactions, most notably rhinitis and conjunctivitis (pink eye). Case studies have also documented several cases of dermatitis that resulted from crushing brown marmorated stink bugs with bare skin. Considering that stink bugs are known for invading homes in the hundreds or even thousands, accidentally crushing specimens can be hard to avoid.
Have you ever found stink bugs within your home?