Monday, January 9, 2012

Q&A With Servall Pest Control!

Servall Pest Control bringing you an informative question and answer session from


I have a situation where a large 1-story office building is experiencing Brown Marmorated Stink bugs coming down from the suspended ceiling. This is a building with central HVAC system. Workers leave in the late afternoon. Any suggestions for treatment? Here in Maine these guys are pretty new. Thanks.


You are not alone in your concern with these invaders. The BMSB entered North America somewhere prior to 1996 and in the next 10 years just exploded across the U.S., now found in California and other western states. But, it is the Northeast that still seems to be the epicenter, and the problem seemed to increase dramatically in the past couple of years. Initially it seemed that the BMSB was only a nuisance pest, found occasionally in agriculture but a bigger problem with its over-wintering habits in structures. Recently it has been tagged as a serious agricultural pest and its numbers entering structures for the winter are increasing. There currently is not specific strategy in place for dealing with this insect, much less eliminating it. The BMSB is native to Asia but seems to be here in the U.S. to stay.

Ideally the best long term strategy for our industry is going to be exclusion, and this is probably the path you need to propose to this customer. If the bugs cannot get inside they will not become a nuisance problem. It certainly is overwhelming to consider insect-proofing an entire large commercial complex, but if this cannot be done then you are resigned to constant applications of insecticides to minimize the problem, both inside and outside. But, if the pest proofing can be taken one bite at a time over this next 10 months you should be able to have a decent impact on the problems inside this building come this fall. Every gap and hole you close permanently is one less opening stink bugs can enter, and this effort also now keeps out other insects, rodents, birds, bats, etc. Our homes and other buildings are generally pretty porous, and offer lots of entry opportunities to pests.

In the fall your effort can also begin, where you anticipate the BMSB to be, with applications of residual products on the outside surfaces of the building. With your customer's cooperation you may be alerted to the first bugs to show up on the outside walls, and at this time apply a contact residual insecticide that can kill a great many of them before they enter. On the inside the use of UV light traps may be very effective, and in a drop ceiling that should be wide open to the sides this could capture a great many of the bugs. If there are large numbers the glue pads will need to be changed frequently as the bugs cover the surface, but placing several of the traps at strategic distances from each other in the drop ceiling could greatly reduce the population, particularly at night when the traps could be the primary source of light.

An advantage to capturing the bugs on glue traps is that they then can be eliminated from the building. Insecticide applications inside can probably kill great numbers of them, but the dead bodies then become an attraction to scavengers such as carpet beetles, and one problem may lead to another. The use of inorganic dusts in the drop ceiling may kill the bugs as well as future carpet beetles, but dusts in drop ceilings are just too likely to sift down onto the office areas where employees are going to be concerned. If the bugs also are within wall voids the inorganic dusts may be a more appropriate option.

And, of course, a vacuum is a quick way to remove any exposed insects, but the concern with vacuuming large numbers of stink bugs is that they release a rather unpleasant smell when disturbed, and in a short time that vacuum may be an unwelcome device to have around. Placing some other deodorizer or masking odor within the vacuum may be helpful, or changing the bag regularly as well.

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