An invasive insect species considered a pest by homeowners has been found in the UK.

Scientists from London's Natural History Museum confirmed the presence of the Brown marmorated stink bug in "multiple areas" of the UK on Monday (March 1). 

The insect is considered non-harmful but unpleasant and highly invasive, with infestations often happening rapidly wherever the insects show up.

The stink bug gets its name from the ability to produce an unattractive distinctive almond like smell which the species uses as a defense chemical.

They are known to hibernate in buildings, and there have been previous reports in the US of tens of thousands of them entering a house in the winter, clustering around window frames.

Stink bugs can reduce the sell value of crops such as grapes, melons and cucumbers by piercing holes in the fruit, making them less aesthetically pleasing for buyers. This scent can affect the flavour of products such as wine if the bugs are found in the grapes used.

The London area and eastern areas of the UK are susceptible to the stink bug in the near future, if not already.

Since writing the study, a member of the public from Surrey contacted one of the Museum’s experts via a Facebook group and found that she had one in her home.

The scientists making Monday's announcement said that a combination of the rising temperatures of the climate crisis and the ease of opportunity to travel abroad is giving the species the ability to spread quickly across the globe.

The Natural History Museum’s Max Barclay made the prediction in 2014 following a trip to the US, where he noticed the similarity in climate.

"Stinkbugs breed very fast, have a long life, and the adults can fly," Barclay said.

"They aren’t harmful, just mildly unpleasant. They have the opportunity to invade as part of their biology, because they hibernate during the winter, if they hide in wooden pallets or shipping crates, they might hide in something which can subsequently be moved abroad.

"They’ll establish pretty quickly, we’ve seen this in a lot of invasive species before. You find one or two and then they are everywhere," he added.

The Natural History Museum are now hoping to recruit community 'citizen' scientists to help them trace the presence of the insect in the UK.

Members of the public are invited to reach out if they believe they have spotted a Brown marmorated stink bug in their local area.

Images can be posted on the Museum’s NHM UK biodiversity Facebook group where the Museum’s scientists can help with enquiries.