January 31, 2013 5:33 AM   Subscribe

This is perhaps the most innocuous, inoffensive house insect I have ever encountered. What is it?

We always seem to have one or two in the house. They seem to like to sit around on the walls near the ceiling. They don't scuttle, they don't get in the way, they don't bother anyone. If you pick one up it will sit on your hand until you gently nudge it off onto some other surface. You never seem to see it move, yet it'll show up in different places every time you see it. It feels like an acquaintance you don't really know but whose presence is always welcome due to some intangible quality.
posted by rocketpup to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
Best answer: Looks like a Shield Bug
posted by missmagenta at 5:36 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think that's a stink bug. My old house had an infestation. They just kind of chill, but don't crush them.
posted by quadrilaterals at 5:37 AM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

Yup. Stinkbug - along with ladybugs, they look for a warm place to ride out the winter, and then head back out come springtime. They're a garden pest, but squish them outside only - they give off a reek when you kill them.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:40 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yes, the brown marmorated stink bug. Thanks metafilter! I'm glad I never had the inclination to crush one. I had no idea they emitted any smell whatsoever.
posted by rocketpup at 5:44 AM on January 31, 2013

Don't squish it as it will cease being innocuous and inoffensive.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 6:23 AM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]

They can be a huge pain in the ass. Wait til one dive bombs you while you're innocently sitting on your sofa.
posted by amro at 6:32 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wait till you (or a neighbor) accidentally drive over a bunch of them, more like it.

Stink bugs are cute, but it's really, really unpleasant if they get squished - and they squish easily.

(Though I'd rather have them than cicadas, I think. Stink bugs don't keep you up all night.)
posted by SMPA at 6:37 AM on January 31, 2013

Be aware, when a stink bug dives at you out of the overhead lamp, it sounds like a frickin B-52.
posted by Devoidoid at 6:44 AM on January 31, 2013

Clearly, your live-and-let-live nature has served you well here. Should you decide you no longer want them around your house, do not, under any circumstances use a vacuum cleaner under the misguided notion that this will eliminate the bug without causing a stink (ha). Instead, this maneuver is a recipe for spreading eau d'stink bug viciously efficiently all through your abode...

ask me how I know...
posted by msbubbaclees at 6:54 AM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]

So true, msbubbaclees, so true. That is a seriously good piece of advice - do not vacuum them up.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:02 AM on January 31, 2013

Best elimination tactic - after two years of stink bug infiltration - is to gently capture the bug in a tissue and drop it in the toilet. They can't swim so no need to flush right away but you may want to especially if you forget you've done this and later on, either surprise yourself (Or god forbid!) another person . . . in the middle of the night . . . a very windy night . . . which made the dead bug look like it was moving . . . in the very dim light from the hallway.

If you have young children in the house, flushing right away is recommended or you may instill trauma of magnificent dimensions. Not a good scenario during potty training.
posted by jaimystery at 8:56 AM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

I used to have a live-and-let-live attitude about these guys as well, but the few on the screen door in summer 2011 became a horrible infestation in summer 2012. They absolutely destroyed my garden! Have you ever seen a pumpkin completely covered with stink bugs of all sizes chomping away and turning everything to mush? Not cute. Not cute at all.
posted by Wylie Kyoto at 9:43 AM on January 31, 2013

I was just saying to someone the other day how I'll take these little guys forever over the giant Texas cockroaches I grew up with. They tend to stay near the ceiling and lights, they don't bite, and, as you mentioned, they keep themselves to themselves. They will startle you at least once, though, with the loud buzzing noise they make when they fly. And I agree with the tissue paper and toilet disposal suggestion. They don't jump or fly away when you try to catch them, so it's super easy.
posted by MsMolly at 10:13 AM on January 31, 2013

Soapy water kills them. So you can spray them with it, or drop them into a bowl or pan of it. Works very well.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:56 PM on January 31, 2013

Yeah, the stink bug situation in NoVA is absolute bastardry. The suckers are clumsy as hell, constantly dropping into your hair or smacking you in the face... and woe unto you if you fail to notice one on the chair you're about to sit on or the bed pillow you're planning on sleeping with. They will stink when startled, not just when crushed.

I hate these little jerkasses.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:57 PM on January 31, 2013

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