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You are probably already familiar with the horrible-smelling insect the stink bug. They are basically akin to a foul-smelling toilet waiting for you to step on them so that odor can explode out of them and make you want to throw up. However, there are other insects out there that look similar to stink bugs and also emit a strange odor when feeling threatened or if stepped on. Residents of Massachusetts have been perplexed this year at the seemingly massive number of what they believe are stink bugs invading their homes. They have been taking to Facebook by the droves and posting their confusion over these bugs on a number of local community discussion pages. Fear not dear citizens, it is not the dreaded stink bug crawling into your homes by the droves, but a much less sinister bug.

The first clue that these critters are not in fact stink bugs is the odor they emit. Rather than the fresh dumpster scent emitted by stink bugs, this insect’s odor has been described as akin to pine sap by some and apples or ripe bananas by others. That already makes them much less horrifying to deal with. Nope, these little bugs are actually known as western conifer seed bugs, or Leptoglossus occidentalis. Why are these bugs suddenly appearing in every building in town? Well, that would be because our homes and other warm buildings are where they all head for winter, and where they begin popping up and leaving in the spring. People often confuse the two bugs, as they are closely related, but from different families. Thankfully, while these seed bugs look alarming and like something out of a nightmare, they are harmless. They don’t bite people or animals, and they won’t chew on the wood in your home. Seed bugs actually feed on the seeds and cones from conifer trees, hence their name. They don’t spread disease, and are really only considered a minor nuisance. They will, however, crawl into your house through any hole or crack they can find, so if you would rather they didn’t stay in your home, it would be a good idea to seal up any openings. Otherwise, if you see one, you can just suck it up with your vacuum and go on your merry way. Don’t squish them, because, like stink bugs, their odor only increases when they are crushed.

Have you seen these seed bugs in your home and thought they were stink bugs?