Despite What You Might Have Heard, Experts Say Polar Vortex Didn’t Wipe Out 95 Percent of Stink Bugs


Looking for a silver lining that may come of this winter’s cold snap? Despite what you may have heard, don’t expect the recent polar vortex to have eradicated pesky stink bugs. A 2014 experiment from Virginia Tech showed that extreme cold weather, similar to the kind that swept the nation in January 2019, may have killed 95 percent of the stink bugs that hadn’t found adequate shelter that winter, leading to hope that we could expect a dearth of the insects later this year.

The only problem? A lot of these bugs do sneakily find their way to shelter, and may even be hiding out in cracks and crevices of doors and windows around your home, which means they’ll be back when temperatures rise again.

“I’d love to be able to reassure everybody and say that 95 percent of all of our stink bugs are going to be gone, but that’s just not going to be the case,” Chad Gore of Ehrlich Pest Control told Pittsburgh’s KDKA radio. “We’re still going to see them.”

stink bug photo
Flickr | fotopamas

The best way to keep stink bugs away is to seal the areas where they can come in and hide, such as those around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes as well as behind chimneys and underneath wood fascia and other openings, with a high-quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk.

If it’s too late, and you already have an infestation on your hands, you can use a vacuum cleaner to rid your home of live or dead stink bugs. You can also enlist the help of a professional exterminator. Prevention is the best medicine, so if you’ve had problems in the past, call them up to treat for the bugs in late summer or fall before they tend to show up.

exterminator spray photo
Flickr | Praxis Eco Pest Control

Other insects that you probably don’t want in your home, such as cockroaches and bed bugs, are also unlikely to have been affected by the freezing temperatures. The good news is that some invasive species, such as the emerald ash borer and southern pine, probably can’t make it through the brutal weather.

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About the Author
Kate Streit
Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kate's work.

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