With approximately 91,000 types of insects identified in the United States, bugs run the gamut from “look how pretty” to “that’s so gross” to “kill it with fire.” This particular bug is considered invasive in Idaho, but it’s one that you shouldn’t squish if you come across it. 

We’re talking about the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Not only is this bug NOT native to Idaho, it’s not native to the United States. According to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, this stink bug, also known as BMSM, comes from Asian countries like China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. No one’s entirely sure how the bugs ended up in the United States, but they likely hopped a ride on a shipping container like some of the other invasive bugs we’ve told you about. 

Theeeey're Back!
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Penn State University says that the unwelcome guests were first detected in Allentown, PA in 1998. 25 years later, the EPA reveals BMSB has been found in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Idaho is on that list, but luckily we haven’t seen them in numbers quite as high as our neighbors in Washington and Oregon. 

Why Are Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs Dangerous?

It depends on your definition of dangerous. They’re not going to sting you and cause an allergic reaction like the common bees and wasps you’ll find around Idaho. They don’t spread diseases that kill hundreds of thousands of people a year like mosquitoes do. But they could be devastating to anyone who grows apples, apricots, peaches and grapes. Those are all crops that thrive in Idaho. These little stinkers plunge part of their mouth piece into a fruit and suck the good stuff out. The result is bruised, discolored and otherwise unmarketable fruit. 

Brown Marmorated shield bug on apple fruit on tree. Halyomorpha halys
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For humans, these guys are just pests. Like we mentioned, they’re not going to hurt you. They’re slow. They’re dumb. They’ll fly into your TV screen. (Trust us. We have family in Ohio where they’re more prolific. We’ve seen it happen more times than we can count.) They won’t damage the structure of your home either. 

How Common are They in Idaho?

BMSB have been spotted in Idaho. The first time was in Nampa in 2012. According to multiple reports, a couple that just moved to Canyon County from Maryland saw several of the insects fly out of a box that they were unpacking. ISDA says there were more spotted in a garage in Ada County two years later. 

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The good news is that the bugs never really established a population here the way they did in Washington or Oregon. The ISDA explains that they’d like to keep it that way and that’s why they ask Idahoans to keep an eye out for them, take any you find to your local extension office and even kill them.

If They Want Us to Kill Them, Why Not Squish Them?

The name of the bug should make that obvious. The EPA explains that they have glands on their tummies that secrete a nauseating smell when they’re shaken up or squished. That’s why they recommend killing them by dumping them into a container of soapy water or sucking them up with your vacuum. If you use the second method, it’s possible that your vacuum might smell like stink bug odor for a little while. You should empty that bag out as soon as possible. 

Brown Marmorated shield bug group
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Fall is the most common time of the year for stink bugs to get into your home. Even though we don’t have a HUGE population here, you can still take steps to prevent them from entering your home by filling cracks with caulk and making sure your weather stripping is in good condition.

By the way, there was a study published in 2022 that predicted that the population of BMSB in the United States could explode by 70% between now and 2080. That study specifically mentioned the Treasure Valley as a place where they could thrive. It was based on climate change scenarios. 

KEEP READING: If You See Any of These 7 Bugs in Idaho, Kill Them Immediately

According to the USDA, Idaho could potentially be a good home for these invasive insects. If their populations get out of control, it could mean devastation for some agricultural industries.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

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