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Stink bugs are back; here's how to keep the pests out of your home

The dreaded stink bugs soon will be making an all-out assault to get into our homes.

>> Watch the news report here

The cooler weather and the stink bugs go hand in hand.

The brown marmorated stink bug was first released into the United States in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1996, according to Penn State University. The bug apparently traveled from northeast Asia in a shipping container that was delivered either to the port of Philadelphia or Elizabeth, New Jersey, and then trucked to Allentown.

This insect has now spread to 44 states and has very large populations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, Ohio, and North and South Carolina, according to stopbmsb.org. It has also spread to California and Oregon allegedly via a car driven by a person traveling from Pennsylvania to California in 2005.

According to researchers at Penn State University, this type stink bug emerges in mid- to late spring. As temperatures cool, they begin to swarm near windows, doors and other cracks of buildings seeking refuge from the coming winter. Once inside, the stink bugs enter a physiologically inactive, diapause state or state of suspended development. They emerge from this hibernation over a broad range of time, which explains why we see active adult stink bugs throughout the winter and early spring. A mass emergence from diapause occurs as daily temperatures and length of daylight increase, especially in mid- to late May.

>> Read more trending news

The ability of these stink bugs to survive is quite remarkable. While there is some mortality among the hibernating bugs in the winter, a significant percentage of them make it through to spring and then mate. Colder temperatures in northern states typically reduce the bugs survival rate, but that appears to be changing.

Increasing temperatures linked to climate change are likely a cause for such an increase in stink bug populations, especially in middle and northern latitudes. While excessive heat may drive stink bugs out of hotter, Southern states, the warm but moderate temperatures at higher latitudinal locations have increased the survival of stink bugs with significantly larger spring and summer populations. 

The good news is, other than being incredibly annoying and having a pungent smell, stink bugs are pretty harmless to humans and animals. They cannot bite or sting nor seem to carry any known diseases. To get rid of them, it is recommended to flush them or vacuum them, then throw out the vacuum bag to avoid the bugs' odor.

But using vacuum bags and water to get rid of these bugs could become costly, so it is best to prevent invasions by making sure you seal up your home now. Replace old screens and make sure doors and windows close tightly. Also caulk any gaps, cracks or holes in your homes exterior, especially on the south and west sides. These bugs can squeeze themselves quite a bit, so they can fit through even small cracks.

Unfortunately, these insects are quite destructive to agriculture. This species feeds on over one hundred different types of plants including several of great economic importance to humans. Fruit trees (especially apple and pear), soybeans and peanuts are significantly damaged by these insects. The bugs have also been found feeding on blackberry, sweet and field corn and have been known to cause damage to tomatoes, lima beans and green peppers.

There is no way to kill them by spraying, at least not once they are on the plant, because they must be hit directly. The bugs can fly off the leaves and they aren’t harmed by eating the chemicals on the leaves or on the fruit. However, researches at Penn State did find that while there are very few controlling natural predators, it appears other local predators such as spiders and some birds may be becoming more immune against the bug’s protective secretions and increasingly aware of the growing stink bug feast around them.

– Eric Elwell is WHIO's chief meteorologist. Contact him at eric.elwell@coxinc.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Hot dog vendor gets $87K from donors after police confiscated his money

A hot dog vendor who went viral after a police officer confiscated his money is one step closer to achieving his dream, thanks to thousands of strangers.

>> Video showing campus police officer seizing cash from man's wallet causes outrage

A video of Juan “Beto” Macias went viral earlier this month after he received a citation for selling food outside a Golden Bears football game in Berkeley, California, KTVU reports. A UC Berkeley police officer also confiscated $60 from his wallet, which prompted strangers to set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help Macias.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Strangers donate $350,000 to 89-year-old man selling ice cream to make ends meet 

Supporters presented Macias with a check for $87,921 Saturday, donated by more than 5,000 strangers around the country. The East Bay Express reports that he plans to use the money for a food truck, legal fees and other living expenses.

>> Read more trending news

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

KTVU reports that three other vendors were also given warnings for the same offense, but none received citations. The University of California Police Department has opened an investigation into the incident, according to KSWB.

>> Watch the video here

The best US cities to avoid effects of climate change, according to report

Weeks after parts of Texas, Florida, Georgia, many of the Atlantic islands and other regions were ravaged by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, in the wake of Hurricanes Jose and Katia and in the midst of Hurricane Maria, climate change has gained steam again in continued conversations about global warming and humans’ interactions with the earth.

>> Read more trending news 

Included in those discussions are worries that parts of Florida are in danger as sea levels rise.

A new report by Business Insider lists 13 American cities that are “the best U.S. cities to live in to escape the worst effects of climate change.”

“The bottom line is, it’s going to be bad everywhere," Bruce Riordan, the director of the Climate Readiness Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, told Business Insider.

But “there are places that might at least temper the effects of climate change,” according to Vivek Shandas, an urban-planning professor at Portland State University.

Shandas and a group of researchers looked at a variety of factors, including policy and politics, community organization and infrastructure, to determine the cities safest from the dangerous effects of climate change over the next 50 years.

According to the report, the Pacific Northwest is the best U.S. region to live to escape the negative effects of climate change, according to Shandas, who said that “their infrastructure tends to be newer and more resilient to major shocks” like heat and rising water.

Austin, Texas, about 160 miles from Houston, which was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, is also among the top 13 cities -- in part because of durable infrastructure as well as plans to combat carbon dioxide levels and offset emissions.

“We often write off the South as somewhere that’s going get hammered by heat waves and hurricanes, but there are some really interesting places like Austin,” Shandas told Business Insider.

Here’s the full list in no particular order: 

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Austin, Texas
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Francisco, California
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Salt Lake City, Utah

Read more at Business Insider.

People with this face shape are more likely to cheat, study suggests

Can you predict a person’s sexual drive and likelihood to cheat just by looking at them? You might. Those with wider dimensions are more likely to cheat, according to a new report.

>> On AJC.com: Are men or women in relationships more likely to lose interest in sex?

Researchers from universities in Canada recently conducted two experiments, which were published in Archives of Sexual Behavior, to determine the link between physiological features and sexual conduct and other behaviors.

In the first examination, they assessed 145 heterosexual men in undergraduate school by measuring their faces and FWHR, the width of the face divided by the height of the upper face.

>> Read more trending news

They then asked participants to participate in a survey that focused on their sexual behaviors, attitudes and personality traits.

In the second study, they analyzed 314 college men and women, taking the same measurements and adding a few more variables to the questionnaire, such as sexual orientation, chances of infidelity and sociosexual orientation, which evaluates an individual’s perception of casual sex. 

>> On AJC.com: ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater'? New infidelity study says yes

After analyzing the results, scientists found that folks with a high FWHR, or square and wide face, reported having a greater sex drive, compared to the others.

Furthermore, those with a larger FWHR were more likely to be comfortable with casual sex and consider being unfaithful to their partner. This was especially true among men. 

“The present research was the first to link the human FWHR to sex drive,” the study read. “Results provide novel insight into FWHR as a morphological predictor of men’s sociosexuality and infidelity intentions.”

>> On AJC.com: 7 things people think are terrible for their relationship that actually aren’t

While scientists noted that their research only included young adults, the authors believe their findings “extend the field’s understanding of FWHR as a morphological index of psychology and behavior.”

BYU is allowing Coca-Cola, caffeinated soda on campus and everyone is freaking out

On Thursday morning, Brigham Young University announced the university will offer caffeinated soft drinks – including Coca-Cola – on campus and fans couldn’t contain their excitement.

The BYU Twitter account posted the news along with a Q&A with BYU director of dining services Dean Wright on the decision to bring caffeinated soft drinks on the Provo, Utah, campus for the first time since the mid-1950s.

>> Read more trending news

BYU is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints and requires students to adhere to a strict honor code in line with the church’s beliefs. The honor code enforces a mandated dress code, personal grooming standards as well as abstinence from premarital sex, drugs and alcohol.

BYU is the largest religious university and third-largest private university in the United States.

>> Click here or scroll down for more

Laughing gas through labor? More hospitals offering nitrous oxide for moms-to-be

Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas, has just added to a handful of its labor and delivery rooms something you might think of as only being used at the dentist’s office: nitrous oxide aka laughing gas.

Why? Moms in labor in Europe have been using laughing gas for decades, and it’s recently gaining favor in the U.S., especially in California. Natural birthing centers like Austin Area Birthing Center and Natural Beginning Birth Center in Texas have been offering nitrous oxide to their patients, as well. The hospitals are starting to catch up.

Laughing gas doesn’t have some of the side effects (the loopiness and loss of control) that narcotics like Demerol or other pain medications have, and it doesn’t affect the baby’s heart rate. The only thing that could happen is nausea or vomiting for the mom, but that’s rare.

It’s also short-acting. A mom can put the laughing gas mask to her face just before a contraction starts or during a contraction and then remove the mask after it’s passed. She will only feel the effects of the gas when she’s breathing it in.

>> Read more trending news

She can’t overdose either, because she’s the one holding the mask to her face. If she got too much, she wouldn’t be able to continue to hold the mask to her face because she would be asleep.

If you’ve had laughing gas in the dentist office and didn’t like how you felt, this is a different formula. It’s a 50 percent nitrogen, 50 percent oxygen for moms in labor. For people in the dentist office, it’s a 70 percent nitrogen 30 percent oxygen formula.

It actually doesn’t stop the mom from feeling the labor pain. She just doesn’t care about the pain, says Dr. Sally Grogono, an obstetrician at Seton Medical Center.

“I think it’s amazing,” says Grogono, who helped encourage Seton to add the nitrous oxide hookups in the rooms.

“A lot of our natural labor moms just need something little to take the edge off,” she says.

Sometimes women can stall out in labor because they are tensing because of the pain. This would help them not do that.

“Childbirth is very anxiety producing for all the patients,” Grogono says. Because they control when and how often they are getting the gas, they have more control over the pain.

They usually only use it at the height of labor but don’t need it during the pushing stage.

The only women who should not use it are people with multiple sclerosis or a severe B-12 deficiency.

Since Seton began offering it two weeks ago, Grogono has heard good reports from the labor and delivery nurses. She’s now educating her patients that it’s an option for them. They would just have to request that they be put in a room that has it.

“It’s not going to work for everybody, but it’s a great tool for our patients,” Grogono says.

Baby whose mom gave up cancer treatment also dies

The baby girl born to a mother who gave up cancer treatment to save her has died, the family announced in a Facebook post.

Life Lynn DeKlyen was born on Sept. 6 at 24 weeks in Ann Arbor, Michigan, weighing just 1 pound, 7 ounces. Her family said in a Facebook post they are shattered over the loss.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Mom who gave up cancer treatment to save unborn baby dies after giving birth 

Life Lynn’s mother, Carrie, was diagnosed with glioblastoma in April but decided to forgo treatment to save her baby. Shortly after delivering Life via cesarean section, doctors took Carrie off life support. Carrie died a few days later. She and her husband, Nick DeKlyen, had six children.

>> Read more trending news

“Carrie is now rocking her baby girl,” the family wrote in a post on the Cure 4 Carrie page announcing Life Lynn’s passing. “I have no explanation of why this happened, but I do know Jesus loves us, and someday we will know why. The grief we feel is almost unbearable, please be praying for our family.”

The family said Life Lynn will be buried with her mother.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for medical expenses. If you would like to donate, click here.

Walmart tests ‘in-fridge’ home delivery service for customers who aren’t home

Walmart is testing a new grocery delivery service -- one where you don’t have to be home to receive your order.

>> Read more trending news 

The retail giant announced Friday it has partnered with smart lock startup August Home to create a program where a delivery person can enter a customer’s home and put away groceries.

Delivery drivers would be given a one-time passcode that provides access to the customer’s house if no one is there. Customers would receive an alert notification via the August Home app when a delivery person enters their home and would be able to watch the delivery person through the app. 

The service will be tested in Silicon Valley with a small number of August Home users.

“These tests are a natural evolution of what Walmart is all about -- an obsession in saving our customers not just money but also time,” Sloan Eddleston, Walmart’s vice president of eCommerce strategy & business operations, wrote in a blog post. “This may not be for everyone -- and certainly not right away -- but we want to offer customers the opportunity to participate in tests today and help us shape what commerce will look like in the future.” 

Would you use it?

Read more here.

RELATED: Walmart introduces new options to take on Amazon, but is it better than Prime?

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

It’s almost autumn. Can you tell in South Florida?

Editor’s Note: Like fall, this story comes around annually. Parts of it have run previously, but it captures that elusive feeling of Florida fall so well that we thought we’d share it again.

 

Every year, there’s one day in mid-September when Florida’s fall arrives.

 

Officially, that day is Friday, Sept. 22, but I noticed it early one morning last week.

 

Stepping outside at about 6:30, it felt, well, not cool but slightly less oppressive. There was a breeze and the low that morning had dropped to an almost glacial 77.

 

It felt like hope.

 

When I left work that evening, it was again tolerable. Pleasant, even. And that’s when I saw fall.

 

The sky was blue instead of wearing summer white.

 

The light suddenly looked different because the sun is tracking lower in the sky. A soft golden hue had replaced summer’s kleig-light glare.

 

It looks like fall because the sun has swung noticeably south of its solstice in the northern latitudes. For a moment, day and night are almost of equal length, before the nights greedily gain on the day.

 

That’s how you know it’s fall in South Florida. The light changes long before the temperature.

 

Rejoice. The rest is coming.

 

Soon.

 

We Floridians get defensive about fall in the face of Northern fall aggression.

 

There are no colorful leaves. No brisk wind blowing chimney smoke around. No need for flannel, or down or wool.

 

If you want a chill, be prepared to write FPL a bigger check. Tropical waves are still billowing up from the Gulf and the Cape Verde Islands are still birthing alarming low pressure systems. The weekly mowing hasn’t slowed.

 

By some standards, that’s faux fall.

 

In Florida, our plants and our weather are boisterously confrontational, but the seasonal changes are milquetoasts.

 

To see them, you must be attuned to nuance.

 

Like the light.

 

When it changes, that’s a Florida fall.

 

In the weeks to come, we’ll have more dry mornings, with a fresh breeze at dawn before the heat takes over. Quivers of high-flying birds have already begun winging overhead heading thousands of miles to the south, to Central America or the Southern Caribbean, some dropping down to our yards for a night or two.

 

That’s a Florida fall, too.

 

One night, we realize we can sit outside and not sweat through our clothes. Not long after that, we realized the pool is too cool for our thin tropical blood.

 

That too, is a Florida fall.

 

We search, usually in vain, for summer clothes in darker winter colors. And gaze longingly at boots. That’s the frustrating fashion version of a Florida fall.

 

But soon boots won’t feel quite so ridiculous.

 

The median end of the rainy season in South Florida is Oct. 17, according to the National Weather Service.

 

That’s the big seasonal switch that turns on a Florida fall.

 

Not yet, but soon.

 

In the next few weeks, a cold front will likely make its first stab at the peninsula. The first few don’t usually push far enough south to comfort us, but soon.

 

Weak early fall cold fronts seem to batter against the stubborn steamy heat until one with a little more oomph finally pushes past the Keys.

 

That’s a Florida fall.

 

Soon.

Armed jogger stopped sex assault on fellow runner, police say

Court paperwork filed Tuesday said an armed good Samaritan stopped an attack on a runner on a popular trail in Austin, Texas, last week.

>> Read more trending news 

Police have accused Richard Jordon McEachern, 22, of forcing a runner to the ground Friday and sexually assaulting her on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail on Friday around 5:46 a.m.

Police who responded to the incident found a woman on the trail with no shorts or shoes but being tended to by other runners. News of the attack had sparked fear and anger this week among Austin runners.

McEachern was found Monday and booked the next day into the Travis County Jail and charged with felony sexual assault, which is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

According to an arrest affidavit filed against McEachern, the woman told police she was headed east on the trail early Friday when she heard loud steps approaching behind her.

“The victim was grabbed behind by the suspect with both the suspect’s arms, (bear hug),” the affidavit said. “The victim said they fell to the ground and she was on her back and the suspect was on top of her.”

READ MORE: Runners on edge after second attack on popular Austin trails

The document said the woman reported that the attacker put his hand over her mouth and kept saying, “Shh, it’s me baby, it’s me” as she struggled to scream and use a whistle she carried to call for help.

As the assault continued, the man told the victim that he was a virgin, and this was his first time, according to the report.

Another jogger who was carrying a flashlight and a handgun heard the victim scream and ran over to help.

The affidavit said the jogger told police he shined his light in the direction of the screams and saw the victim on her back and the attacker on his left side on top of the victim.

The jogger pointed his gun at the suspect and demanded he get off the victim. The attacker stood up and was naked from the waist down, the affidavit said.

The woman got up and started walking to the jogger to get away from the attacker.

EARLIER COVERAGE: Suspect arrested after hike and bike trail sexual assault reported

The affidavit said she did not know the jogger had a gun because she’d been blinded by his flashlight.

The attacker took off with the woman’s shoes and shorts when she walked in front of the jogger’s line of fire, the affidavit said.

Investigators found video of a possible suspect later in the day. Then on Monday, they found McEachern sleeping just off the trail in the area of the attack. The affidavit said he was naked from the waist down.

Two people picked McEachern out of a photo lineup after he was taken into custody, police said.

Police have not said whether McEachern has been tied to any other attacks in the area, including another on a jogger at the Austin High School track on Aug. 22.

During that attack, a man with a similar description grabbed a jogger from behind and tried to cover her mouth, according to police.

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