KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It's that time of year again when a certain smelly pest starts to invade our homes looking for a warm place to spend the winter.
"It's marble-colored and you see white stripes on the antenna," said Dr. Karen Vail, University of Tennessee professor and extension urban entomologist. "Knox County is experiencing the brown marmorated stink bug invasion.
This type of stink bug came from Asia several years ago and its Tennessee population has grown each spring.
The best way to control stink bugs in your home is to keep them out in the first place.
"Seal up entry points, all the cracks and crevices around the windows and doors," said Vail. "And the soffit in the attic, get screening."
If the pests have already made it inside, homeowners can buy a trap, make one themselves or just suck them up with a vacuum.
"I like to stick a stocking over the end of the tube and then put your attachment on. If you suck anything up, it will get stuck in the stocking and you just tie that off," Vail said.
Dead stink bugs can be a problem too.
"You'll have carpet beetle larvae coming in, maybe mice coming in to feed on the bugs," Vail said.
Whatever you do, remember, never stomp or swat a stink bug.
"If you crush it, it's going to release a smell. That's how they protect themselves from predators," Vail said.
Following in the stink bug's footsteps is the kudzu bug. It started in Georgia and spread to Tennessee in 2012. The kudzu bug attacks bean crops and, like the stink bug, tries to spend the winter inside of homes.