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New kind of pest invading Indiana homes

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Indianapolis, Ind.

People in Central Indiana are noticing a strange new bug trying to invade buildings.

“It’s usually about two or three of them at about four o’clock. I leave my front door open, and when it starts to cool down, that seems to be when they want to come in and get warmed up,” said Adam Nisley who owns Adam’s Flooring in Carmel.

Fortunately, the insect Nisley’s been finding can’t damage flooring or structures and doesn’t bite, but it does stink. The brown marmorated stink bug is relatively new to Indiana. Spotted first out East about 20 years ago, it’s only been in Indiana since 2010, according to Purdue Entomology Professor Rick Foster

“They’re going to get a lot worse before it gets better. I’ve seen pictures from out East where they’re scooping them off their front porch with a shovel and things like that, so it could get way worse than it is now,”  said Foster.

He said homeowners should first focus on closing windows and doors and sealing up cracks and crevices now that the temperatures are colder at night. The stink bug breeds during the summer months and then looks for warmth in the winter.

Foster said the bug has its name for a reason.

The stinky part is a defensive chemical that they use to ward off predators and so when you scare them or attack them in some way by squeezing them, that’s when they’re’ going to get defensive, they’re going to release a chemical and it’s going to smell,” Foster said.

Nisley figured out what the bug was by looking online so rather than squishing them, he’s been scooping them up and putting them back outside. Foster said some insecticides around the outside of buildings will help, but won’t necessarily kill the stink bug.

Foster said the real threat is when the population starts to effect Indiana crops. It’s had a devastating effect on tomato and apple crops in eastern states and for the first time, Indiana sweet corn crops saw damage from the insect in 2013.

He said hopefully researchers in the states currently affected will develop the right insecticides and solutions to fight the pest and Indiana farmers can use those methods once the population of the stink bug begins to be a bigger problem here.