Residents of Massachusetts have taken to Facebook in order to express their annoyance with the hoards of nuisance insects that, apparently, emit a foul odor that permeates houses. This foul odor becomes even more potent after the insects are squished. It is not surprising that most of these residents have been calling the insects “stink bugs,” as massive numbers of smelly brown marmorated stink bugs have been invading homes in the state for several consecutive years now. However, the brown marmorated stink bug is not the only foul smelling non-native insect that has established a foothold within residential areas of Massachusetts. The insect species causing all the trouble is commonly known as the western conifer seed bug, and just like stink bugs, these insects invade homes in large swarms where they emit a foul odor.

Last fall, numerous Massachusetts residents were bombarded with western conifer seed bugs within their homes. These insects appeared in large number seemingly out of nowhere within homes in the state. These abrupt invasions occur due to the seed bug’s need to locate warm indoor conditions before the emergence of winter. These insects overwinter within warm indoor locations as adults, which can lead to a population explosion of seed bugs during the summer season. Stink bugs do the same during the fall season in Massachusetts, and considering that seed bugs also emit a smelly odor, stink bugs and seed bugs are often confused with one another. Both of these insects are closely related, but they belong to seperate families. According to Kaitlyn O’Donnell, an entomologist with Norfolk County Mosquito Control, ladybugs and boxelder bugs also invade homes during the fall season to escape the upcoming winter cold. While western conifer seed bugs are unpleasant to look at, they are not harmful to humans. Unfortunately, these bugs are very good at slipping through tiny crevices in order to access warm homes. One resident claims that the bugs regularly squeeze through tiny holes on her window screens. Another resident, who has been dealing with several seed bugs within her home daily for a month, says that they prefer to congregate beneath her floorboards. The seed bugs are even infesting office buildings and schools in the state, where some teachers have taken to placing peppermint-laced cotton balls on classroom window sills in an effort to repel the insects.

Have you ever found a mass of seed bugs within any indoor structure?