Stink bugs are a relatively new problem for American homeowners. The pungent brown shield bug is native to Asia and was accidentally introduced to the Eastern United States in 1998. Since then, the stink bug has established itself as part of the American ecosystem, invading homes and damaging fruit crops.
While stink bugs aren’t harmful to humans, they are a nuisance. Drawn to warm interiors during colder months, stink bugs love to congregate in the warmest parts of your house: the upper floors, near ceilings, or next to lightbulbs. They get stuck in light fixtures, emit an unpleasant odor when threatened, and attract other pests like spiders and rodents. If you have a stink bug problem, here’s how to prevent infestation and remove these pests from your home.
How to Prevent Stink Bug Infestation
Like many other pests, stink bugs are attracted to warmth, light, moisture, and food. General prevention best practices will go a long way in keeping stink bugs out of your home. As a bonus, following these tips will also deter other unwelcome visitors like spiders, rodents, and ants!
- Seal any cracks or gaps in doors, windows, and walls.
- Install screens on windows and doors.
- Replace damaged screens.
- Keep your house clean and free of clutter.
- Store food in airtight containers.
- Dispose of garbage and compost regularly.
- Trim trees and bushes near your home.
Stink bugs love the smell of plants and fruit. If you have a stink bug problem, it’s a good idea to replace your fruit bowls with an air-tight container or store fruits and veggies in the fridge. Likewise, small gaps and cracks may seem like a normal part of owning a home, but they’re the prime culprit for allowing pests to enter your house. A quick caulk job and simple weatherstripping installation can make a big impact when it comes to stink bug prevention.
How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs
You may be tempted to squish these annoying, smelly invaders but we don’t recommend it. Crushing stink bugs releases their odor (which can linger for a long time) which will attract other stink bugs. Plus, stink bugs actually help protect local plants against other destructive insects because they eat caterpillars, beetles, and other types of stink bugs.
Some people recommend rubbing dryer sheets on your window screens and doorways to repel stink bugs. While there may be anecdotal evidence to support this strategy, there’s no scientific proof that this is effective. Instead, try these established techniques to remove stink bugs effectively.
If you’re eager to remove the stink bugs from your home ASAP, vacuuming up and disposing of the bugs is a highly effective way to remove them. Another great option is to place a bucket of soapy water underneath a light and wait for the bugs to drop in.
If you want to avoid killing the stink bugs, there are plenty of proven ways to get them out of your house and back outside where they belong. If you’re dealing with a small infestation, try placing a container over the bug, sliding a piece of paper underneath, and releasing it outside. You can also use a bug catcher or trap, which allows you to catch and release stink bugs without harming them.
If your infestation is on the larger side, install a clean bag or canister on your vacuum cleaner and gently vacuum them up. Then, take the bag or canister outside a safe distance from your home and release them.
Other Stink Bug Considerations
You may notice that infestations are worse in some years than others. That’s because stink bug populations vary from year to year depending on temperature, rainfall, and natural predators. Luckily, even if you’re suffering through a strong stink bug year, they don’t live very long—only a few weeks to a couple of months—and they aren’t harmful to humans.
Stink bugs aren’t dangerous, but they can impact quality of life and there are plenty of cases in which the infestation is too large for DIY strategies alone. For example, one man in Maryland decided to count all the stink bugs he found in his home over a six-month period. The total came to 26,205 stink bugs! If you’re dealing with an extreme case, we recommend hiring a professional who can eliminate the pest and prevent them from returning.
Contact Bug Man Exterminating
Stink bugs can be a nuisance in your home and affect your quality of life. If you need help eliminating these unpleasant pests, call us! Bug Man Exterminating has been the Roanoke region’s trusted source for pest control since 1994. We specialize in green pest control solutions and all our experts are extensively trained and fully certified. Don’t suffer from stink bugs, contact us today.