EDITOR'S NOTE: It's stink bug season again. Here's our story from last year about the nasty little bugs.
CHICAGO — As collections manager of insects for the Field Museum, part of Crystal Maier's job is studying beetles that come from decaying animals, dung or a bottom of a lake that's decomposing or rotting.
But none of those smells bother her as much as a stink bug's.
"I have a pretty high tolerance, but for some reason, a stink bug is really off-putting for me," she said.
Chicagoans all over the city are starting to find stink bugs, including a brown marmorated stink bug that was introduced from Asia, in their houses as the insects leave the cool outdoors for warm interiors.
The bugs, which can reach three-quarters of an inch in length, emit odors when they're squashed or are threatened. Maier said the odor smells like decaying almonds or rotting cherries.
"I can take quite a bit of stench, but it's one of the few smells that really gets to me," Maier said.
Keeping stink bugs out of your house requires sealing cracks, doors, windows and any other entry points, Maier said. If you see one in your house, there are likely many more, she added.
To get rid of them, you can use a small vacuum but make sure they're put in a bag immediately and thrown away. If you do have to kill them, make sure they're squashed on a surface that can be washed and not on something like a couch, Maier said.
"Otherwise, you will have the smell on you, Maier said.
Stink bugs have created a stink for farmers in Illinois because they destroy crops, especially fruits like cherries, peaches, apples and grapes, Maier said. Of course, the bugs would love a residence with fruit trees or other fruit-related gardens, she said.
"They're pretty common in a lot of parts of Chicago," Maier said. "We're not going to eradicate them anytime soon."
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