Getting Rid Of Stink Bugs – How To Kill Stink Bugs
Stink bugs are commonly found throughout the United States in gardens and occasionally the home. They get their name from a natural defense mechanism, which releases a sticky odor to deter predators. Since stink bugs often take up residence in areas flourishing with vegetation, stink bug control is sometimes necessary. Keep reading to learn more about the steps you can take for getting rid of stink bugs.
How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs
Once temperatures rise in spring, stink bugs begin to emerge from their winter hibernation. Females eventually begin laying their eggs on whatever plants are readily available. Both the larvae and adult stink bugs will then feed on plant juices but may also attack nearby fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans, etc. Noticeable damage may appear as pin pricks surrounded by a yellow or green color. While a few stink bugs in the garden may not cause too much harm, many of them will quickly damage plants and crops.
While getting rid of stinkbugs can be difficult, there are some natural methods of removal, or at least deterrents, that can be employed before having to resort to chemicals.
Keep the garden and surrounding areas clean and free of debris. One of the first things you should do when getting rid of stink bugs is remove any nearby weeds or overgrowth, as they commonly use these for cover. Also, remove any hiding places like old boards, logs, etc.
Close off or seal any potential entryways. If stink bugs are a problem in the home, there are steps you can take to prevent their entry. Make sure that all doors and windows are shut or covered with screens. Many people have found success with rubbing their window screens with dryer sheets too — the more aromatic, the better — to repel these pests. Since they’re attracted to light, pulling shades or blinds closed may help at night. Fill any cracks or openings with caulking. In addition, the use of insect repellent around entryways may help deter these pests.
Use natural repellents in the garden. Since these pests feed and lay eggs on garden plants, you may also want to try spraying them with a kaolin clay (mineral clay) solution as a method for stink bug control. This prevents the bugs from both laying eggs (as they won’t attach) and feeding on plants. It’s also safe for plants, including edible ones, and washes off easily. Additionally, you can try using pheremone sprays in areas outside your home’s perimeter to attract and lead stinkbugs away. Of course, this would only be a short-term solution. In the home, cedar sprays may help repel these pests.
Encourage beneficials to the garden. Stinkbugs actually have many natural enemies. You can limit their numbers by attracting these beneficial creatures to the area. Some of the most common enemies of stinkbugs include:
- Minute pirate bugs
- Praying mantis
- Parasitic flies
Consider planting trap plants. The use of decoy plants in and around the garden is a great way to lure stinkbugs away from your most prized garden plants. They will flock to the trap plants, which can then be removed (bugs and all), placed in a garbage bag and left for a few days to ‘bake’ in the sun before disposing of them entirely. Plants that stinkbugs are especially fond of include:
- Sweet corn
Incorporate traps in and around the home. Just as with decoy plants, traps can be used to bait stinkbugs for removal. There are pheremone traps available that these pests will naturally be attracted to. Once inside the trap, they cannot get out and will eventually die. Place traps in trees/shrubs or other sturdy plants near the home or garden in early spring. Be sure to place them so both the top and bottom parts of the trap are in contact with the plant. This allows to stinkbug easy access into the trap but no escape once inside. Likewise, you can hang the traps from stakes every 20 to 30 feet (6-10 m.) around the perimeter of your garden.
Another method of removal people have found successful is taking damp towels and placing them over lawn chairs or porch railing overnight. By morning the towels are covered with stinkbugs and can then be dumped into a bucket of soapy water. In the home, use sticky traps (similar to those for roaches). These work well for getting rid of stinkbugs but keep in mind that they will need replacement often.
How to Kill Stink Bugs with Pesticides
There’s no getting around it. Sometimes after everything you’ve tried has failed, your only option for removal is with the use of pesticides. That being said, stink bug elimination is difficult since they are resistant to most common pesticides. Their waxy-like coating makes it hard for poisons to penetrate. However, there are a few options you can try.
Look for organic pesticide methods of stinkbug control first. These include:
- Neem oil
- Insecticidal soap
Some people have also had luck with using homemade nicotine solutions for stink bug elimination. This is done by shredding about half a pack of cigarettes and dissolving them in warm water. After running this through a filter, add a little detergent to the liquid and pour it into a spray bottle. The poison can be sprayed on bugs to kill them.
Cypermethrin sprays can sometimes be effective and are easily degraded in soil as well as on plants. Large infestations, however, may require the help of a licensed pest controller specializing in the use of strong pesticides.
Learn how to make a stinkbug trap:
How to Prevent Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs From Taking Over Your House
These pesky insects start coming indoors in fall and stick around through winter, often in very large numbers. You probably won't be able to completely keep them out, but you can take steps now to make it harder for them to get inside.
Usually, you'll spot brown marmorated stink bugs crawling around your house in the spring or fall. These unwelcome guests sneak indoors in fall looking for a cozy spot to hibernate for the winter, then awaken in spring when the weather starts to warm up again. The main threat they pose when they invade your space is to your sense of smell, but they're also just plain icky to have around, especially considering they’ve been known to gather in huge groups in houses like a scene out of a horror movie. In fall, they'll be trying to make their way inside, and while it's tricky to completely shut them out, there are still a few things you should know about these pesky insects and how to control them.
How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs Naturally
Last Updated: January 15, 2021 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Scott McCombe. Scott McCombe is the CEO of Summit Environmental Solutions (SES), a family-owned local pest solutions, animal control, and home insulation company based in Northern Virginia. Founded in 1991, SES has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has been awarded "Best of the Best 2017," “Top Rated Professional,” and “Elite Service Award" by HomeAdvisor.
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Stink bugs are pesky 6-legged critters with straight antennae and shield-like bodies. Although they usually keep their wings folded up, they can be found fluttering around in warm weather. While they won’t cause structural damage to your home, they can destroy gardens, orchards, and farms. Luckily, there are plenty of natural methods you can use to catch and destroy stink bugs. Try luring them with water or natural pesticides, but be careful not to crush a stink bug as it will release a terrible stench. As a preventative method, take care to bug-proof your home by sealing up small holes and eliminating weeds so they don’t have any hiding spots or entry points.
How to get rid of stink bugs
Regardless of whether you use natural methods or an insecticide to get rid of the smelly creepy crawlies, you will need to quickly remove the carcasses as they will expel the entirety of their stink glands shortly after death.
We recommend against using an interior pesticide to combat stink bugs as they tend not to be as effective as natural methods, see below for more information on natural stink bug control methods.
- Soapy spray. Mix 1000ml of hot water with 180ml of liquid dish soap inside a clean spray bottle, apply this mixture to areas where stink bugs gather to keep them away or spray them directly. Stink bugs will die shortly after being sprayed as the soap disintegrates their protective shell and dehydrates them.
- Put them outside. If killing isn’t your style, consider starting a stink bug catch and release system. If the weather is cold enough the bugs will simply freeze and if it is milder there is a good chance they will be eaten by predators. When capturing the little critters, use a plastic bag in order to avoid touching them directly.
- Nicotine spray. Some people have had success at killing stink bugs by using a nicotine-based spray. To make this yourself, shred half a packet of cigarettes and soak them in warm water, after approximately one hour strain the mixture to remove the tobacco and add a few drops of liquid dish soap. Spray this mixture directly onto the pungent insects and wait for them to die.
- Empty water bottle. Take an empty water bottle and position it below the offending stink bug, using the bottle cap flick the bug into the bottle. Repeat this for every stink bug in sight and screw the cap on tightly. If it is cold enough simply put the bottle outside overnight, if not wrap the bottle in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer overnight. Dispose of the bottle the next day.
- Bucket of warm soapy water. Fill a bucket with warm water and mix in a few drops of liquid dish soap, place the bucket below any stink bugs you find and flick them into the water. The soap will make it impossible for the bugs to escape and they will drown shortly afterwards.
- Vacuum. Do not use this method if you own a bagless vacuum. This is the simplest method of getting rid of stink bugs, all you need to do is vacuum the bugs up and dispose of the hoover bag straight away. If you forget to throw the bag away you will very quickly notice a foul smell creeping throughout your home every time you use the vacuum cleaner.
- Diatomaceous Earth. This is an insect’s worst nightmare, diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring compound made up of silica, aluminium, and iron oxide. It shreds the protective outer shell of insects leading to death by dehydration. Spread the diatomaceous earth powder around entry points such as doors and windows, and anywhere else the bugs seem to congregate.
How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs
Getting Rid of Stink Bug Problems
No. Stink bugs do not bite or otherwise harm humans.
Stink bugs can also cause damage to fruit trees and vegetable plants but the treatment for this issue depends on the type of fruit tree or vegetable plant you have. If you have this problem, please call us for specific directions: 1-866-581-7378
When & Where to Treat
You will need a couple of tools and products to be able to perform your own stink bug control program.
- Hand pump or back pack sprayer
- Liquid concentrate insecticide
- Hand duster
- Dust insecticide
There are many brands of stink bug products on the market which can make choosing just the right one for your needs a little daunting. We have put together a stink bug control kit and an overwintering kit to make picking the right insecticides easier.
We recommend applying the liquid insecticide every 30 days around the exterior perimeter of your structure. Be sure children and pets are out of the areas during the application. They can return as soon as the areas have dried, usually about an hour. Mix the concentrated liquid insecticide as recommended on the product label. Using a hand pump sprayer or a backpack sprayer, apply the solution to the following areas:
- 1 foot up the foundation of the structure and 1 foot out on to the ground
- around areas where cables, pipes and wires enter into the structure
- around door frames and window frames
- around vents and soffits
- any other area on the structure
After the liquid insecticide has dried it is time to apply the dust insecticide. We recommend using a dust insecticide every 6 months directly in cracks and crevices around the exterior of your structure. You may be wondering why we recommend using two different insecticides around your home or business. We make this recommendation because the liquid insecticide will be exposed to UV rays or applied to porous surfaces both of which can reduce the effectiveness of the application. Dust applications are long lasting and work well as added protection against persistent invading insects. Add insecticide dust to the hand duster and apply to the cracks and crevices in the following areas:
- around window and door frames
- around areas where cables, pipes and wires enter in to the structure
- around eaves and soffits
- any crack, crevice or gap where pests can enter
After stink bugs have made their way inside they are hard to control. That is because they like to stay tucked away inside mostly inaccessible areas. If some stink bugs come out of hiding the best way to eliminate them is to vacuum them up and then empty the bag or canister outside. You can also choose to spot treat with a pyrethrin aerosol if you find an area that is inaccessible to a vacuum. You must spray the stink bugs directly in order for the product to be effective.
NOTE: In most instances where homes or other structures have had stink bug invasions in the past it can take more than one season to gain complete control. Typically about 80% control will be attained the first season.
How To Get Rid of Stink Bugs
If you’re worried about an invasion in your house, be sure to take proactive procedures. Seal all cracks in your windows and entrances. There might likewise be cracks in the flooring, baseboards and ceiling lights through which insects can get in. It’s also recommended to change or fix any harmed window screens.
Do not utilize pesticide products inside due to the fact that they consist of damaging chemicals. A stink bug problem in your house or garden can be managed without making use of pesticides. By utilizing items created specifically to trap and kill stink bugs, you can eliminate your pest problem in your house and backyard.
If they continue to be a menace, after your initial treatment measures it’s time to call in the professionals.
Contact Houseman Pest today so we can get rid of your stink bugs for good.
Did you get rid of your stink bug problem?Stink bugs are disgusting, but with patience and a plan, you can get rid of them.
With these various DIY techniques and a bundle of patience and persistence, you’ll be able to rid your home, attic, or yard of stink bugs eventually.
Be patient! Define your path to success and follow it on your journey to rid these pests!
If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
If you’ve dealt with stink bugs before, you can also share your tips and tricks to getting rid of these pests in the comments section to help someone out!
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).