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How Do I Get Rid of All These Stinkbugs?

Updated on March 30, 2015
The brown, marmorated stink bug - This is your enemy!
The brown, marmorated stink bug - This is your enemy! | Source

Let me introduce you to someone, although you may have already seen him in your home; yes, this is Halyomorpha Halys or the ‘Brown Marmorated Stink Bug’, and it is the bane of many people’s lives throughout the US.

The Stink Bug isn’t a native of the US, and it’s believed that they were introduced here from China sometime in the last few years. Since then, they have spread everywhere and they have an uncanny knack for being able to get into houses, businesses and lots of other places where they aren’t wanted. The Stink Bug is a big problem, and we’ve collected lots of advice about how to keep them out of your house, and if they get in, what to do.

Here’s what we know

  • They are just under an inch long, shaped like a shield and have mottled brown coloring
  • Fortunately, Stink Bugs are pretty much harmless (unless you’re a farmer); they don’t bite or sting and don’t carry diseases
  • They eat fruit and vegetation; this can make them a significant agricultural pest on farms
  • When they feel threatened or are crushed, they release an unpleasant smell that acts as a deterrent (hence the name)
  • They are noisy; because they are not very good at flying, they often crash into things and can make quite startling sounds
  • They release chemicals when they find a good hiding place that attracts other Stink Bugs
  • They are at their worst / most numerous around September as they try to get into houses to hibernate until Spring
  • They are very wily and are extremely good at finding their way into people’s houses; they will normally come in via cracks around baseboards, windows, doors and the like

Prevention is better than cure

The most effective way to deal with Stink Bugs is to try to stop them getting into your house in the first place, there are several ways to do this:

  • They are very adept at getting into cracks and gaps around windows, doors, vents, pipes, siding, shingles, foundation cracks and the like; this means that you must seal up any potential gaps with a weatherproof sealant (e.g. silicone or equivalent)
  • Put insulation, weather stripping or draft barriers around your doors
  • If you have a chimney or vents, put a screen over them
  • Use hardening foam spray to block holes that you can’t easily get to
  • Check your attic for holes, cracks and other ways in and seal them up
  • Make sure that any insect screens are in good repair and replace any with tears or holes
  • Use clear tape to cover gaps around and inside windows, especially older windows that have rope pulley systems
  • Apparently, Stick Bugs don’t like lavender, so you might want to plant some around your property
  • Take out any air conditioning units in windows, Stink Bugs can crawl through these very easily
  • Clear away debris and vegetation (especially tomato plants and vegetable gardens) from directly around your property
  • Using essential oils (e.g. peppermint) could also deter Stink Bugs from coming in
  • If you have a pest control service, get them to spray around windows and doors; although pesticides aren’t very effective against Stink Bugs (one of the reasons they are such a problem), every little helps. Remember though that pesticides are poisons, and treat them accordingly
  • Generally, pesticides are not that efficient at controlling Stink Bugs, so don’t expect them to be a cure-all

Getting rid of Stink Bugs

Because of the smell they create when threatened or crushed, you have to be careful when getting rid of Stink Bugs, but the following methods all work:

  • Knock them into a pot that’s filled with a mix of water and dish soap – This will contain the smell
  • Pick them up with some tissue in your hand and flush them down the toilet
  • Hang a wet towel outside overnight; when you come back the next day, the towel will have attracted Stink Bugs that you can knock off into soapy water
  • If you suck the Stink Bugs up with a vacuum cleaner or Dustbuster; make sure that you empty it promptly afterwards – This method will probably result in your vacuum cleaner smelling of Stink Bugs; a BugZooka is a much better option
  • Traps can work but bear in mind that before they expire, they will probably release their smell
  • Although it is a more humane option, try to avoid just releasing them; the chances are that they will come back into your house or go into someone else’s
  • You can quickly and easily make an effective trap with just a dish, some detergent and a desk lamp that will effectively attract, kill and contain the smell of the Stink Bugs, here’s a step-by-step guide
  • Always wash your hands after handling Stink Bugs

Longer term solutions

Unfortunately, there isn’t any quick or easy way to get rid of Stink Bugs. Apparently, some of our local insect predators such as spiders and praying mantises are starting to develop the taste for Stink Bugs, but it will probably be a while until that makes a significant dent in the population.

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    • GiftsByDiana profile image

      Diana Burrell-Shipton 2 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

      Yes, they sure are little "stinkers" especially when they dive bomb your head while they fly around - LOL

    • Paul Maplesden profile image
      Author

      Paul Maplesden 2 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I don't think that they are good for anything - I am sure that if you could find something they are good for, you'd make a lot of people happy!

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      Boy oh boy do I hate stink bugs. They are a nuisance. We are bothered every year by a handful but nonetheless irritating. Thanks for this informative hub, Paul and the tips for dealing with the little critters.

    • Marina7 profile image

      Marina 2 years ago from Clarksville TN

      I did find some in the house and now I know they intentionally come in. Also, could you write what they are good for? Are they good for anything?

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