The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive species that was first discovered here in the United States around Allentown, Pennsylvania back in 2001. Homeowners likely know them as a nuisance pest that releases a foul odor when agitated or killed. These bugs usually enter structures in the fall to look for a place to overwinter.
If you've noticed these pests around the home, you're likely wondering what you can do to get rid of stink bugs for good. Thankfully, there are pest control methods that can help you take back your house.
Here's what you need to know about these bugs and how you can remove them from your property.
Why Do Stink Bugs Come Indoors?
Stink bugs arrived in the United States after being unknowingly transported in shipping containers from China. They're known as crop pests, feeding on vegetables, fruits, and field crops. After attacking a plant, fruits may become pitted and scarred and develop a mealy texture.
Additionally, stink bugs feed on the leaves of a plant, which makes it more susceptible to disease. As a result, these bugs can make the crops unusable.
The stink bug problem has been causing farmers headaches for decades. For instance, Oregon's hazelnut industry is worth around $132 million, but recently, it became one of the hardest-hit crops during a recent surge of brown marmorated stink bugs.
So, why do these pests make their way inside your home? In early fall, they look for a place to use as a wintering site. Seasonal changes, such as a drop in temperature, act as their cue to find a place to hunker down.
At this point, they're often noticeable outside buildings on walls, windows, doors, and entry points.
Unfortunately, once they're inside a building, they can go anywhere. They may hide under beds, behind the baseboards, along window trim, etc. Once spring rolls around and temperatures rise, these bugs try to get back outside to eat and mate.
A warm spell in the middle of winter can also trigger them into thinking it's spring, resulting in a house full of these unwanted pests. To the dismay of many homeowners, seeing one or two around the home likely means there is an army of them hidden somewhere, waiting to emerge.
How to Remove Stink Bugs
If you spot a stink bug, it's best to eliminate it. However, crushing these bugs only releases the foul odor that they use as a defense mechanism against predators. So, it may not be the best way to kill them, and it won't address the issue of the hidden pests hiding throughout the home.
First, we'll go over different ways to kill the stink bugs already in your home. Then we'll talk about prevention methods so you can keep your house bug-free.
Use a Vacuum
Another common instinct is to reach for the vacuum cleaner to remove these bugs. While this might suck them up and remove them, it can cause your vacuum to stink for a while. If you have a bag, remove it and toss it into the trash.
If you have a bagless vacuum, you might want to think twice about using it. It may not be enough to kill the bug, but it will certainly agitate them, causing them to release that trademark stink. As you likely guessed, it can cause the vacuum to smell for a while afterward.
However, there are special tools on the market designed for sucking up pests like spiders, ants, and stink bugs. This might be a better option if you don't want to use your household vacuum.
Remove Them With a Plastic Bag
A slower but efficient way to remove a stink bug without killing it is to nudge it into a container or plastic bag and toss it outside. In the winter, these bugs will freeze.
Toss the bag or container used to contain them afterward.
This doesn't kill the pest, but it does remove it from your house. However, they will likely attempt to reenter your home, so this isn't the best solution.
Use Soapy Water
Combine dish soap and hot water in a container such as a jar or pan and place it below a stink bug. You can also add vinegar for additional effectiveness.
When agitated or threatened, this bug's first instinct is to drop straight down. If you have a container full of soapy water, it will land right inside.
Stink bugs breathe through pores on their outer shells, so when those exterior pores are clogged, they suffocate. It only takes around 30 seconds to kill them, and you don't have to worry about the stinky residue.
You can also use a nightlight and place the container full of soapy water under it at night. Stink bugs will gravitate toward the light, and when they fall, they'll land in the soapy water and drown.
Other Holistic Options
Some people use water and garlic to deter stink bugs. To try this method, mix two cups of water and four teaspoons of garlic powder. You can also add garlic cloves.
Spray the mixture along entry sites, such as along windows and doors. Garlic emits an odor that many types of bugs dislike.
For a better-smelling house, you might want to consider using an essential oil that has the same repellant effect. Mint is a commonly used oil for this purpose. Simply mix a few drops of mint essential oil and water in a spray bottle and spray the mixture around the house where the bugs might enter.
Some people also use dryer sheets as the scent is unpleasant to many types of bugs, including stink bugs. You can rub a dryer sheet on window screens and entry points.
Keep in mind that these solutions may not always work for you or provide the results you want. These are temporary solutions at best.
Spread Diatomaceous Earth
We mentioned earlier that stink bugs breathe through the pores on their exoskeleton. Damaging that exterior surface will cause them to eventually die out.
Diatomaceous earth is often seen as a safe way to kill pests as it destroys the protective exoskeleton, causing dehydration.
Diatomaceous earth is an eco-friendly alternative to some other forms of pest control. The US Food & Drug Administration lists it as generally safe, although some forms can be harmful to the lungs.
If you want to try it, spread the product along entry points such as doorways, windowsills, etc.
The downside to this method is that it doesn't work immediately, and it can get quite messy.
Seal Entry Points
We've covered a few stink bug solutions for the pests that are already in the house. Now, we'll discuss steps you can take to prevent them from bothering you in the future.
First, go around the property and take note of all the entry points. Check the siding, the areas around pipes, under the fascia, etc. You can also find them along chimneys, cracks, windowsills, doorways, and so on.
Seal holes and cracks with silicone and close gaps with weather stripping. Caulk along your windows and anywhere they might crawl inside, such as joints and cracks in the brickwork. Inspect the rubber seal on your garage door and replace it if necessary. This can be tricky so be sure to do your research.
The harder it is for them to get inside, the safer your house will be from these intruders.
Reduce Moisture and Ventilate
While you're at it, look for any leaky pipes or sources of moisture buildup. Stink bugs are attracted to these spots.
Be sure to ventilate the inside of your home, especially in basements, attics, and garages. Using a dehumidifier can help keep moisture levels low.
Replace Damaged Screens
Holes in your screens, such as window and door screens, provide an access point for these bugs to get inside. Be sure to patch or replace any screening with holes in it.
You can apply a fine mesh to air vents to prevent access. A screen over the chimney can also keep them from crawling inside.
Store Food in Airtight Containers
It might be gross to think about, but stink bugs look for food inside the house as well. You want to cut down on the food they have access to deter them and keep your family healthy.
Store food in airtight containers when possible. Remove crumbs and spills by wiping down surfaces after cooking or preparing food. Sweep and mop the floors to catch any crumbs that might have landed on the ground.
Take out the trash regularly, and avoid leaving any food out on the counters.
Landscape Your Yard
Stink bugs will hide in your shrubs and wood piles as well.
Keep tree branches and bushes trimmed. Not only does this reduce the number of stink bugs that might cluster around your house, but it also improves your home's curb appeal.
You also want to store firewood properly. Avoid piling logs directly on the ground. Keep your firewood elevated to reduce the number of pests, such as stink bugs, spiders, cockroaches, beetles, etc., that live there.
Elevating the wood pile also prevents rotting and allows it to dry faster.
Check Your Belongings
Stink bugs can hide in boxes, pots, and holiday decorations. You can unknowingly bring them inside your home if you don't check these items first.
If you store decorations or boxes in your garage or an outdoor storage unit, always double-check the items for hiding bugs.
What About Long-Term Pest Control?
Most of the pest control methods we've covered so far are for prevention or short-term pest solutions. Using pesticides outside the perimeter of your building is the most efficient way to deal with stink bugs. It also lasts the longest, with a product lasting up to 60 days.
Pesticides work by deterring and killing stink bugs before they enter the home.
The biggest benefit of Remedy DIY pest control is that each solution is custom-tailored for your home based on the size of your house and the pests you see. It's not an off-the-shelf product that may not suit your needs. We also only send professional-grade products.
How often you'll need to reapply the treatment depends on where you live and the climate. Therefore, we offer custom plans designed to suit your needs best. All you need to do is tell us your zip code and describe your house's square footage as well as the pest problem you have.
We offer a few different frequency options. You can pay month-to-month or select either a six-month or twelve-month plan.
If you're looking for the most dependable DIY solution, Remedy should be your go-to option. It's convenient, affordable, and you don't have to worry about strangers in or around your property.
Signs of an Infestation
Homeowners may wonder if finding one or two stink bugs inside the home indicates a bigger problem. It might be gross, but is it an infestation?
Finding large numbers of these pests, either alive or dead, is a sign you have a problem. If you have a garden or grow crops on your property, damage to those crops can also indicate an infestation. They may also eat your indoor houseplants.
You may also notice long, dark trails of feces along the paths they travel. Stinkbug stains are brown or dark yellow.
If you notice signs of an infestation, you should start pest control immediately.
Stink Bug Solutions
Having stink bugs around the home isn't only unsanitary, but they can also damage your garden crops and plants. Plus, they can't simply be squished, as they release a foul stink. Instead, try these pest solutions to keep them out of your house for good.
Are you interested in a DIY pest control plan? Here at Remedy, we offer plans starting at $27.50 designed to fit your needs and budget. Contact us if you have any questions, or select a plan to get started today.