• Stink bugs swarm several NH towns, look to spend the winter


    (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – Stink bugs are infesting Portsmouth, N.H. , as well as more than half a dozen other New Hampshire towns. They are a good size bug, and they certainly get their name for a reason.

    Stink bugs could be coming through your home vents and windows in the coming weeks looking for a nice warm spot to spend the winter.

    John and Cindy Clark from Rye, N.H. told FOX 25's Heather Hegedus that they've been coping with cohabitating with the stink bugs for the past couple of years, but this year they have seen more of these bizarre bugs than ever.

    What exactly makes them so pungent?

    The bug contains stink glands that give off a protective secretion when threatened by prey.

    "It's almost like an ammonia smell…a little bit of an ammonia smell. It's an irritating smell you just don't want around," John Clark said.

    The brown marmorated stink bug made its way to the United States from Asia in the late 90s, and then to Portsmouth only two years ago.

    Dr. Alan Eaton from the University of NH Cooperative Extension says one theory is they came with cargo shipments, possibly with cars manufactured in Japan and elsewhere.

    "Couple of us have been looking at where we found them in Portsmouth and noticed that there's major car dealers right smack where they appeared. There's also a major rail line right smack where they appeared," Dr. Eaton said.

    The bugs have been sighted in eight towns in New Hampshire so far and are expected to explode over the next 10 years.

    In fact, if what's already happening in the Mid-Atlantic region is any indication, they could wipe out millions of dollars of crops a year.

    "We had a farmer in Hillsborough County who bought a bunch of tarps down in Delaware last fall, and then brought them back up to New Hampshire, opened them up and there were thousands of these critters," Dr. Eaton said.

    Believe it or not, the stink bugs are not the only foul smelling insect to look out for. The western conifer seed bug is a little narrower and longer than the stink bug, but the two are commonly confused for one another.

    Dr. Eaton says the seed bugs are already prevalent throughout Massachusetts and all over New England.

    The good news is that although stink bugs may smell, they do not bite.

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