What Happens to Stink Bugs During the Winter?

Stink Bug Illustration

Stink Bugs and Overwintering

Brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSBs) respond to changes in temperature by seeking places suitable for diapause. Diapause is a period in their life cycle when the pests do not feed and are inactive. BMSBs remain in diapause and overwinter until the spring.

Overwintering sites commonly used by BMSBs include:

  • Attics

  • Storage areas

  • Basements

  • Window moldings

  • Behind baseboards

  • Underneath siding

The stink bugs in winter that do not seek shelter in building interiors will often overwinter under piles of ground-level debris, such as leaves, mulch, firewood piles as well as in dead trees.

What Attracts Stink Bugs to Overwintering Sites?

Upon finding a preferred site, stink bugs release pheromones that attract other stink bugs to the site. These pheromones are different from the pungent chemical stink bugs release in defense against predators or presumed threats.

Why Do I See Stink Bugs Inside?

Many home and business owners with infestations often report stink bugs in winter flying around inside.

This situation may occur when a warm snap in winter weather is long enough to trick these bugs into activity and resume their normal outdoor activities.

Generally, stink bugs that are near heat sources are most likely to be fooled by the temporary, spring-like conditions.

Questions about Stink Bugs in Winter

One popular question about stink bugs is "Do they reproduce inside my home during winter?" Thankfully, the answers to this question is NO.

They do not reproduce until they exit their home in the spring and begin their normal outdoor activities.

Another question often asked is do they feed on clothes, furniture, or stored food products? Again, the answer is NO.

Their natural sources of food are outdoor plants, fruit, and agricultural crops. While stink bugs in winter can become a nuisance, they do not cause structural or other serious damage to the home.

Prevent Stink Bugs in the Winter

To help prevent stink bugs and other pests from entering your home:

  • Seal cracks, gaps and holes in siding, fascia boards, window moldings, door moldings, screens and other crevices/openings stink bugs may use to enter your home.

  • Look for places where the sun shines on the house in the afternoon. These locations are popular spots for stink bugs.

  • Stink bugs in winter often use ventilation openings such as roof and gable vents. These are often unscreened and provide free access into the home’s attic space.

If you need assistance managing stink bugs in winter, contact Orkin for an inspection.

Resources

Stink Bugs Home Protection

When is Stink Bug Season? | Stink Bug Control

Pest Control

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs | Remove Stink Bugs

Why Do Stink Bugs Stink?

Where did Joro Spiders Come From | Joro Spider Infestation

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Where Do Stink Bugs Come From?

What Does a Stink Bug Look Like?

What are Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs?

What Eats Stink Bugs?

Stink Bug Larvae Developmental Stages

How To Tell Stink Bugs & Kissing Bugs Apart

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