Facts About Stink Bugs and How to Get Rid of Them
What Are Stink Bugs?
Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are aptly named for the offensive aroma they emit when they are threatened or squashed. Stink Bugs are believed to have been introduced into the United States from Asia in the 1990s. They are particularly prevalent in the Mid-Atlantic States and New England and have been reported to be seen in as many as 38 states.
They have thin bodies shaped like triangular shields and measure approximately 1/2 inch in length. Stink Bugs feed on various plant species and especially favor fruits and vegetables. They are an outdoor nuisance causing considerable crop damage during growing seasons. As soon as temperatures drop, and their feeding sources die off, Stink Bugs seek warmer places to hibernate throughout the winter. They gravitate toward heated buildings and homes. They can slip inside through the smallest of cracks and openings.
Stink Bugs are not considered a health threat to humans. They are considered a major annoyance in large numbers and are difficult to get rid of. Because of their smell it is not advisable to crush them. There are some effective ways to keep stink bugs from getting into your home and to control them once they do get inside.
How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs
A professional exterminator can be your first line of defense. Licensed exterminators are trained to identify areas of the house exterior where Stink Bugs can get inside. They will do a perimeter check and use designated products to seal up cracks, gaps, and holes. There are also a few regulated commercial chemical pesticides that can be sprayed around the base of your home. These should only be handled by a trained exterminator and kept away from children and pets.
Sealing gaps around doors and windows, both outside and inside the home, is something you can do with a silicone sealant that can be purchased in any hardware store.
Remove window air-conditioning units. AC units are notorious entry points for Stink Bugs and other insects. It is advisable to remove and store AC units as soon as temperatures drop. Close the windows and seal any gaps.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a powdered silica rock product that is very effective in reducing insect populations. DE works by breaking down the protective layers of the exoskeletons of bugs resulting in them drying up. Look for food grade DE online or in garden supply stores for use inside your home. Food grade DE is not harmful to humans and pets if ingested. Be careful not to inhale it. Wearing a surgical style mask, you can sprinkle a thin layer on window sills, baseboards, attics, and basements to help control the bugs once inside.
Essential Oils have been an effective natural way to deter Stink Bugs. Take a spray bottle filled with water and add a few drops of oil. Spray this on curtains and around doors and windows. This will have to be repeated as the smell dissipates. Below are some of the oils that are known to have insecticidal properties.
Common dish soap is toxic to many insects, including Stink Bugs. Fill a spray bottle with approximately 4 parts water to 1 part soap and spray directly on insects when you see them. Stink Bugs are not fast moving insects. The downside to this method is that you will have to be on the lookout for the bugs and have your bottle nearby. Also, this will leave a soapy residue on surfaces that you will have to clean up. Although effective, this might seem like more work than you have the patience for.
Periodic Vacuuming of your home is a fairly good way to quickly dispose of Stink Bugs. Thoroughly vacuum carpets, upholstery, curtains, window sills, and baseboards. Suck up any bugs you see. While this won’t kill the bugs, it is a means of getting rid of them. You will need to change out your vacuum bag after sucking up the bugs, otherwise they will begin to stink and it will be very unpleasant for you and your vacuum. Tightly seal up the hole in the bag with packing tape and be sure to throw it away outside of the house. You will likely need to do this often at the start of the cool season to get a good handle on the problem.
More DIY preventive measures on the exterior can be taken before temperatures begin to drop. Here are some practices to follow that will help in reducing the number of Stink Bugs entering your home.
- Trim foliage that is close to or touching the house exterior.
- Clear gardens close to the house of weeds.
- Stack firewood piles a good 10 to 20 feet away from the house.
- Hang a wet towel outside just before the sun sets to attract Stink Bugs. Dunk this in soapy water in the morning to kill them.
- Patch holes in porch screens.
Stink Bugs have a negative impact on our agricultural practices resulting in damage to crops. Organic and sustainable farms and gardeners have to rely on companion planting to attract natural Stink Bug predators. This method may not be practical for many homeowners and renters. These bugs are less destructive to us and our homes but no less of a nuisance. With proper planning and some preventive maintenance Stink Bugs can be deterred from entering your living space. The ones that do make their way inside can be dealt with by using the methods discussed here. Consulting with a professional exterminator is recommended to tell you how to get rid of Stink Bugs if you experience a significant problem in and around your home every winter.
This non-toxic spray kills larvae, eggs, and adult insects by breaking down their exoskeleton. It is safe to spray around the home and works only on the insects. Feel good about spraying indoors around pets, plants and children.
All Natural Non Toxic Insect Killer Spray by Killer Green