In the early spring, homeowners sometimes find big green or brown bugs crawling on the walls or flying around the windows in their homes. If they don’t recognize the bugs, homeowners might swat them or step on them. They quickly learn why these bugs are called “stink bugs”. Due to the unpleasant initial experience, most homeowners, upon seeing these bugs again, prefer to use a vacuum cleaner to remove these pests from their walls and windows. However, they sometimes discover that the smell can linger in the vacuum for some time. However, how to get rid of stink bugs, really?
Some species of stink bugs invade homes in the fall when the weather starts to turn cool. They cluster on the outside of the home for warmth. When they find holes or cracks, they move inside the home. They find hiding places in attics, crawl spaces, and inside of wall voids.
The bugs stay hidden through the winter. When springtime comes, the bugs start to move around. They seek a way out, but they often come out inside the living space of the home.
Homeowners can help prevent stink bug invasions by making a thorough inspection of the outside of the home. Doors and windows should be checked for cracks and torn screens. Weather stripping can help seal gaps under exterior doors. Attic and crawl space vents should be checked for torn or missing screens.
The most effective control for overwintering stink bugs is prevention. Once inside the wall voids, they are extremely difficult to control. They do not feed or reproduce while indoors but may reappear on a warm winter day or in the spring. Once a home experiences a stink bug invasion, they are likely to have a reoccurrence in the next fall.
How to get rid of stink bugs
1. Sticky traps
These are a common type of insect trap. Many people use them to control crawling pests like cockroaches. However, since stink bugs are good fliers, they may not come in contact with the trap and can quickly overwhelm the trap in large numbers.
Many homeowners use a vacuum cleaner to remove stink bugs from the walls and windows of their homes. The vacuum can be emptied outside. If the vacuum has a bag, it can be removed outdoors and be placed in the trash. After the vacuum is emptied, the odor of the bugs may remain for some time.
Many homeowners feel that the best solution is to prevent stink bugs from invading the home. A careful inspection outdoors will reveal cracks and other openings that insects can use as entryways.
Caulking is good for sealing cracks around doors and windows. Weather stripping helps seal gaps under exterior doors. Vents on crawl spaces and attics can be protected with screens. Torn window screens should also be repaired.
It has been used as an insect repellent for many years. People have built cedar closets in their homes. They have also used cedar hangers and put cedar blocks in dresser drawers to keep moths away from their clothes.
Some studies suggest that the cedar repels insects because of the smell of the cedar oil. However, other studies suggest that the cedar might only work in a confined area, like a closet.
3. Keeping Stink Bugs Out
To prevent stink bugs from entering your home, block all points of entry. The same principles used to keep boxelder bugs from entering a home apply to stink bugs. Physical barriers provide the most effective long-term solution.
You can also apply an insecticide as a perimeter treatment outside your home. This method can block would-be insect invaders from entering your home for several days to a week.
Try these methods – which have been used successfully by homeowners and entomologists – to keep stink bugs at bay:
– Rub screens with dryer sheets – the more pungent the better. Some homeowners have found this can reduce stink bugs entering a home by up to 80 percent.
– Hang a damp towel over a lawn chair or deck railing overnight. In the morning, stink bugs will blanket the towel.
– Dispatch bugs in a bucket of soapy water.
– Squish a few stink bugs outdoors. The odor warns other stink bugs to flee.
4. Indoor Tactics
When stink bugs appear indoors, your options vary based on how many bugs you’re facing. What can you do?
– Don’t touch them directly or squish them.
– Stink bugs move slowly enough that you can catch them and deposit them outdoors in wintry climates (where they’ll freeze) or flush them into oblivion.
– Grab them gently with a plastic bag to avoid touching them directly.
– Take an empty water bottle and use the lid to flick the bug into the bottle. Tighten the lid to contain the smell, and place the whole thing outdoors. In cold climates, the bug will freeze. Reuse the bottle for more bug-catching.
– Prepare a soapy solution for killing stink bugs. Choose a straight-sided 1/2- or 1-gallon container. Fill it one-fourth full of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent. When disturbed, stink bugs tend to drop downward. Knock them into the bucket from walls, draperies, screens, etc. Unable to escape, they will ultimately drown.
– Do not apply insecticides indoors to control stink bugs. While insecticidal dust may kill bugs in wall voids, the carcasses can stink and attract other pests, such as carpet beetles, which can damage other things in your home. Applying an interior pesticide along baseboards won’t kill stink bugs nor will it keep them from emerging around the baseboards.
Image Credit: Popular Science