Stink bugs stink! They look strange and gross, they give off an offensive smell, and they can ruin fruit and vegetable gardens. What’s worse is that when you find one in your house and kill it, they release their foul smell and then multiply. It’s as if their whole family gets alerted by the stink, shows up to pay respects to the dearly departed, and then sets up camp in your living room–how rude!
So what is there to do? Let’s first get educated about the insect and then look at some solutions to making your house stink bug free.
First and foremost, it wasn’t always like this. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is a non-native invasive species. The name “marmorated” means having a veined or streaked appearance like marble. Its origin lies in East Asia, specifically China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. Somehow, and no one can say for sure how, they chartered a passageway from their homeland to the United States around 2001. First spotted in Allentown, Pennsylvania, they spread down South to Maryland, West Virginia, and New Jersey. Today they can be found up and down the East Coast and even as far as the Midwest.
So what is there to do about these invaders? There are a few commercial options available. I always advise against using pesticides because they can have nasty, unintended effects on the surrounding environment. Plus, crops can grow a resistance to the pesticide rendering them useless. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed a pheromone to attract stink bugs.
One product on the market that utilizes this pheromone is called Rescue Stink Bug Trap. The bag contains the pheromone which attracts the stink bugs, trapping them in the bag and essentially dehydrating them until they die (lovely, right?). Be aware that this may have unintended effects because it draws stink bugs to the bag, thus drawing more of them to your property. Don’t put it too close to your house or close to any fruit or vegetable crops.
There are a number of natural home-made solutions to the stink bug problem. The following ingredients can combine with water in a spray bottle used to spray directly on the bugs, killing them: rubbing alcohol, hot peppers, hairspray, and soap. The good thing about these methods is that once they die they do not release the bad smell that attracts all the other stink bugs. The next ingredients can be combined with water and sprayed on plants to act as a natural stink bug repellent: garlic powder, mint, neem oil. These
My personal favorite D.I.Y. tip is using a vacuum to suck up the stink bugs. This work better with a vacuum that has a long extended tube. Once they’re in the vacuum container you can empty them into a bucket of soapy water where they will meet a soapy, watery grave.
You can also take preventative measures to ensure the insects won’t enter your home. Seal any tiny entrance-ways with caulk including door frames, air vents, water spigots, and windows. The sealant should be a good quality silicone-latex caulk. You can even go as far as replacing damaged screens on windows and doors. These precautions should also consequentially help lower your utility bills by better sealing in hot or cold air, thus reducing wasted electricity.
I hope these tips work. Good luck and happy hunting!