Seeking warmth for the winter, they’re crawling into homes, offices and hotels, and hitching rides in trucks, buses, even your handbag. Unlike the bedbug, the stinkbug, thankfully, doesn’t bite. To humans, they’re actually harmless; they don’t spread disease or destroy your property. (More on Time.com: Why You Need to Worry About NDM-1: Not a ‘Superbug,’ But Still a Threat)
On the other hand, they smell when you squish or antagonize them. Really bad, sort of like a skunk.
They are also doing irreparable damage to fruit and vegetable crops in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other states. The pests feast on all kinds of produce — from peaches and apples to soybeans and corn — leaving behind dry brown pock marks that make products unsellable. Even dairy farmers are concerned that stinkbugs will get into their cows’ feed, and stink up the milk supply.
Problem is, there’s no known natural predator of the brown marmorated stinkbug in the U.S. The ectoparasite is native to Asia, where, according to the New York Times: “a parasitic wasp helps control stinkbug populations by attacking their eggs. Unleashing those wasps here, however, is at least several years away because they would first need to be quarantined and studied.” (More on Time.com: Itchy Bites: the Least of the Bedbug Epidemic’s Threats)