A couple of years ago, I noticed a new pest attacking my tomatoes. These shield-shaped, gray insects, about a half-inch long, would attach themselves to my ripening tomatoes and pierce the skins, which would cause a rapid decay of the fruit. I shrugged it off as yet another garden pest, and thought little else of it until I started seeing these things inside the house.
Over the next couple of years, we saw more and more of them. Essentially, they were mostly harmless bugs. They didn’t bite, didn’t bore into wood, or destroy much of anything except the occasional tomato. However, winter would come, and these bugs wouldn’t go away. They seemed to move into the house in larger numbers. Their main annoyance was the smell they emitted as you crushed them, a pungent, unpleasant, spicy odor.
We weren’t alone. Our neighbors began to report a similar infestation. At the time, we still didn’t know what to call them, but because of the smell, we called them stinkbugs. As it happens, that’s their name.