Don’t Squish This Invasive Bug in Washington State

This is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. 

Stink Bug found in Washington CREDIT: Addicted to Gardening (via Facebook)
Stink Bug found in Washington CREDIT: Addicted to Gardening (via Facebook)

I remember seeing a bunch of them when my family lived by St. Joe’s Church. They seemed harmless and I didn’t have any alarming sense of urgency to get rid of them.

Then I read the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s stern warning:

'The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) can cause widespread damage to fruit and vegetable crops.  

BMSB was introduced into Pennslyvania around 1996 from China or Japan.  BMSB is established in Oregon and the east coast of the United States. 

It has established itself as a potential risk to agriculture.  BMSB was found in Washington State in 2010.' - Washington State Department of Agriculture


Because we live in one of the agricultural centers of the world, we need to take this threat seriously.

How Stink Bugs Get Their Name

Like many species, stink bugs emit an odor as a defense mechanism. When they are threatened, they produce and spray a smelly fluid through their scent gland. This smelly fluid can be sprayed several inches!

What Attracts Stink Bugs?

  • Outdoor lights. Try and limit outdoor lights (READ: porch, deck, and patio lighting.)
  • Fruits and shrubs in your yard.
  • Vegetable gardens.
  • Native Washington trees, shrubs, vines, and even weeds.
  • Stink bug pheromones. NOTE: Once stink bugs are inside your home, they use a pheromone to attract other stink bugs into your family's home. If you crush a stink bug, the foul smell attracts other stink bugs in the neighborhood to your property. 

Stink bugs lay eggs under leaves in the spring, and develop and grow during the summer months. They survive winters by entering structures (READ: Your shed or home.) Our family had an aluminum shed, where we kept all our lawn and garden equipment. This is where I would see them.

Stink bugs enter through cracks in windows and foundations. They are seen in large numbers during, just as the weather is changing in September and October. 

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug has a "shield" shaped body that is characteristic of all stink bugs. The adults are slightly larger than a 1/2 inch.

Why Shouldn't We Squish Stinkbugs & How can we deal with them?

The Farmers Almanac says homeowners shouldn't panic when seeing stinkbugs in your house - they are harmless. They strongly suggest not crushing stink bugs. The odor that gets released from stink bugs smells horrible and is unpleasant.

A few tips to get rid of them

  1. Vacuuming - If you end up vacuuming a stink bug, be sure to empty it immediately or change out the bag.
  2. Gather and sweep them into a bucket. Next, fill the bucket with 4-5 inches of soapy water.
  3. A creative solution from a YouTuber:

INFO: Washington State Department of Agriculture, Farmers Almanac

13 Plants & Herbs to Chase Away All Types of Insects

Want to keep the bugs out of your garden and stop the insects from taking a bite out of your backyard fun? Try these 13 plants and herbs to chase them all away.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

12 Most Popular Things to Do in Washington in the Fall

Based on analysis of online search data, these were the most popular things people want to do.

Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby

More From KW3