Stink bugs are nuisances that will invade homes looking for shelter. Learn how to get rid of stink bugs by using the right products at the right time.
Read more about these products here.
Have small, shield-shaped bugs flown into your house and emitted a gross
odor? These insects are called stink bugs because they possess a gland that releases an odor as a means of self-defense. There's nothing like a good dose of “stink” to protect yourself from being eaten by a bird or lizard.
Exterior insecticide treatments applied to the west and south-facing sides of homes will provide some relief if used properly. The most popular professional product for stink bug control is
Talstar Pro. Mix one (1) ounce of the concentrate to one gallon of water. Apply with a
Be sure to close down the nozzle so the material comes out in a fine, fan spray. You do not need to apply it to the point that it is running down the sides of the house. That's too much product. Treat the sides and pay special attention to window and door frames.
A more expensive product, but one that lasts longer in sun and rain and provides even more effective control, is
Suspend Polyzone. This is the latest and greatest and it is said to last up to 90 days in outdoor conditions.
Insecticides break down in direct sunlight, so a reapplication of the pesticide may be necessary every seven to ten days. Retreating exterior surfaces on a regular basis, especially during peak stink bug migration seasons, will make these prevention measures more effective.
Remember to always read the product label. If you are uncomfortable applying pesticides or lack the proper equipment you might consider having a licensed pest control operator apply the materials. When applied per label this product will not harm children or pets.
Exclusion is the key to avoiding stink bug invasions. Sealing your house by closing doors and windows will help keep them out of your home. If there are cracks in your siding, windows, doors, utility pipes, behind chimneys, or other openings, good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk will help stop stink bug entry. I really like the exclusion product
Xcluder. It is easy and inexpensive to use. It does a great job of stuffing cracks and crevices and it won't break down when exposed to rain or snow.
For stink bugs that have amassed on walls and ceilings you can just vacuum them up. If they are in the attic you can use foggers or "bombs", as they are popularly known. But, pesticide "bombs" work best on exposed insects, rather than insects hiding deep in cracks. Readily available aerosol-type pyrethrum foggers like
PT 565 Plus XLO will knock them down, but the treatment will not prevent more stink bugs from emerging shortly afterwards. You would do a lot better simply doing a thorough inspection and using a vacuum to collect the bugs.
Nuvan ProStrips are great for controlling stink bugs in enclosed attic spaces, slowly releasing a vapor over a four week period that keeps on killing them.
Replace ripped window and door screens and install screens on attic vents. Inspect entries to crawl spaces to make sure they are properly sealed.
Although stink bugs are primarily pests of crop fields, they can be found in meadows, fields, yards, or gardens and especially those with low shrubs. They are known to infest up to 70 different ornamental plants. Stink bugs are most active from spring through fall, but they usually become house invaders at the beginning of fall when temperatures start to drop. They sometimes hibernate on the outside of some south-facing buildings for warmth, but usually over winter in protected areas under dead weeds, stones, in the bark of trees or in your house.
The stink bug's eggs are yellow, yellow-red, white, or pale green in color and can be found on the underside of leaves in clumps of 20 to 30 eggs. Eggs are only found outdoors on plants because stink bugs do not reproduce indoors. Thank goodness for small favors. Crop plants are the primary source of food for stink bugs. They typically feed on fruit crops, but they enjoy honeydew, tomatoes, beans, corn, squash, peppers, cabbage, and any type of fruit, using their beaks to pierce and suck plant juice. This activity can cause major damage to gardens. If you discover stink bugs on your plants you can scoop them up using a pill bottle or other small container. This is time consuming, but the containers help you avoid the smell they emit.
Here's the part I know you will hate hearing. You just spent a ton of money installing outdoor lighting to make your home look warm and inviting. Or, you added lighting as a security measure. Well, these the stink bug is attracted to light. So, now your house is a beacon that shouts “Come to me all ye bugs looking for a home.” They are drawn to lights coming from your windows, too. I can't ask you to shutter your windows at night, but closing the shades will help.
You may want to consider placing
sticky glue board traps along window sills. The glue traps won't trap all the stink bugs, but it may help.
When stink bugs get into your home they often hide in dark attic spaces. Placing an insect light trap in these spaces will attract and capture some of the bugs. It won't eliminate them totally, but anything that helps in the stink bug fight needs to be mentioned.
If your home becomes infested, be wary before sucking stink bugs into the vacuum cleaner. Squashing them or vacuuming them will usually make the smell worse. Wear gloves if you need to handle stink bugs because their unique beaks are fully capable of biting humans. Although stink bug bites are not harmful, you will feel something similar to a sharp pinprick if you are bitten. Not fun!
Once your home has been invaded by stink bugs it is very likely you will see the bugs during the winter months. As outside temperatures drop, stink bugs move away from cold exterior walls and towards warmer interior walls. Often, they emerge inside your living spaces. If that happens you should consider treating the attic rafters. You'll need a good flashlight and an extension mirror to locate all stink bug hiding places.
Okay! You are armed with just enough information to do battle. Go out and fight a good fight!
By David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
photo credit: <a href="stevendepolohttp://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/4353070212/">stevendepolo</a> via <a href="photopinhttp://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="cchttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
photo credit: <a href="adamentmeathttp://www.flickr.com/photos/adamentmeat/5003171724/">adamentmeat</a> via <a href="photopinhttp://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="cchttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
03 Sep 2013, 13:23
I live in DE and have seen a few stink bugs over the past few days, mainly
on our garage, and a couple of dead ones on our deck. Has anyone else seen
them yet? I know they're not "due" until around the 3rd week of September
but we usually see a few around - like an advance guard! - before the big
invasion hits. We spray our house with Suspend Polyzone and it's done a
pretty good job so far. And I have the Bugzooka ready this year! And the
Dawn w/water in the spray bottle - which really does work! I HATE THESE
03 Sep 2013, 16:28
They've started here too. I live in Frederick County Maryland and I saw a
couple hit my window last night. I just got finished spraying with Talstar
and saw maybe 75 on the outside of the house but also saw them flying at
the house from the trees. I think our only hope this year is an early
21 Sep 2013, 16:32
Don`t flush them in the toilet! They will clog the neck and cost you
hundreds in plumbing bills!
21 Sep 2013, 16:38
I have used lavender scented dryer sheets on window screens and actually
sprayed levender on out side of house. It seems to do the trick as they are
repelled by lavender and lemon!
27 Sep 2013, 08:50
The invasion has started here in Lebanon County, PA. I have been spraying a
mixture of vinegar and garlic ( i heard it repells them) but it does not
work. I do kill them with a mixture of dish soap and water, but I need
something that will keep them off my porch. I am really, really, really
terrified of these things and I have been battling them for 6 yrs now. It
only gets worse and never gets better no matter what I try.
If you guys use window a/c's please use duct tape all around the sides of
the unit, underneath and where the opening is between both the windows,
this is guaranteed to keep them from getting indoors through your units.
Any tips on ways that I can repell this bug, that really does work, please
let me know. I will try anything.
Ask the Exterminator
27 Sep 2013, 10:15
Like it says in the article, Talstar or Suspend PolyZone do a pretty fair
job of killing stink bugs once they land on a treated surface.
27 Sep 2013, 16:00
Well here we go again...seeing tons of them today in Pittsburgh. It was
pretty okay his year - for some reason numbers were way down August and
most of this month. It's almost like they pick a day every year to really
make their presence known. Last year it was October 2 (worst day
ever)..It's pretty sad that I actually remember that day. Sprayed Talstar
who house last Sunday, stink bugs landing on windows after about ten
minutes begin to rub legs together - Talstar working, yay. Hope this
invasion is short lived.
01 Oct 2013, 02:26
They arrived later this year than most years. We usually see a few flying
around in late August to mid September. This year, we saw our first one on
September 26, rather late for central PA. We are seeing a lot fewer this
year. We did spray the house twice now and that helps greatly. So some
land on the windows but then they slow down and eventually die. Only one
has made it indoors but that could be through the garage door when we came
home today. As we are doing a much better job with exclusion and sealing up
windows and getting out the AC earlier. We are due for a hot day tomorrow,
unseasonably warm for October 1st so we will miss the AC but it will be
worth it for a couple of hot days as it is October now...and it is better
to have the house sealed as they will be out and about tomorrow with temps
in the 80s and sunny..ugh.
01 Oct 2013, 02:40
The bugzooka is great for the ones that manage to get indoors. It enables
one to capture the bug without getting that close up to it and not touching
We use it all of the time and because I am so scared of bugs and have a
real bug phobia, that calms me down considerably. They are easy to use and
quite inexpensive. You can get them at Amazon or many other retailers. Also
using a power washer with insecticide has worked wonders for us because we
do not have a large ladder and we have a 3 story townhouse where the ground
floor is the garage..that helps a lot to spray the house and also each
year, we improve on how we seal off the house and how we are more careful
about shutting the blinds and keeping the lights off.
I am absolutely crazy when it comes to turning off lights and only turning
on lights when absolutely necessary..but wow it helps and cuts down on the
electric bill too..so that is great. The biggest thing is I do not want
them anywhere in my bedroom so I only turn on a light in the bedroom for a
short time and as little as possible, that works great.
02 Oct 2013, 17:40
Has anyone tried Suspend Polyzone? From what I hear works really well -
thinking about switching up next year. Went outside this morning, about 50
dead / dying stinkbugs on back porch. Seeing a good bit but numbers are
down this fall - compared to last.
04 Oct 2013, 10:03
Draft Décor offers two products that will keep stink bugs from coming in
your flue and getting into your fireplace vents. Magnetic Vent Covers and
our Flue-zee help by closing off entrances for stick bugs.
www.christywalkercreations.com As an added bonus you will be stopping
drafts from your fireplace and saving money!!
04 Oct 2013, 10:06
Draft Décor offers two products that will stop stink bugs from coming in
your flue and getting into your fireplace vents. As an added bonus you
will be stopping winter drafts!
07 Oct 2013, 17:40
Ive been trying to get rid of the stinky bugs at home some i use moth balls
in it or insect killer but it keeps coming back.
12 Oct 2013, 21:26
Has anybody else seen fewer this year than previous years? I'm in central
Maryland and three years ago around this time was the worst. I found about
ten a day inside. The next year was better, the next year better still, and
now this year I've only found two inside in the past two weeks.
Maybe they're moving west, or are getting killed off? Somebody above said
Pittsburgh was bad. All I can say is have hope, it will get better.
12 Oct 2013, 23:46
Has anyone found them in their car?! I constantly do and am afraid of
driving. Cant figure out how they get in when the car is in the garage and
all windows shut. Any ideas?
13 Oct 2013, 00:02
John, we are in Central PA and seeing a lot fewer this year. None have made
their way inside yet. But then again, we took out our window ACs early and
taped the windows shut with waterproof tape. Plus my husband sprayed the
house concentrating on windows and doors with insecticide and it really
But we never one until September 29th and then very few overall in our
region. And the weather has been unseasonably warm too..even hot for early
October. However friends in WV and VA said they really got a lot for about
a week but overall fewer than last year too..but considerably more than we
got in PA
14 Oct 2013, 23:29
@Angela, they're attracted to warmth, so after you park the car in your
garage, put down a window. That equalizes the temperature and they'll have
no reason to go in there.
14 Oct 2013, 23:38
I would not advise keeping the windows open! John how could you
15 Oct 2013, 00:55
Car window, bugphobiagirl! Car in a garage. They'll head toward the garage
door into the house instead.
15 Oct 2013, 08:04
Thanks for the tip John. What you say makes perfect sense but I will have
to think about it since it may work or backfire on me bigtime! I am
wondering if the problem is a weatherstriping defect of my GMC envoy. You
would think the government would be concerned about farmers losing their
crops over these nasty -imported-bugs instead of playing these baby tantrum
games :-) Do you think Obamacare will incude stink bug phobia therapy?
Sorry, I couldn't resist that!
24 Dec 2013, 11:37
It's Dec.24th, and we are still killing stink bugs in our house! They ase
24 Dec 2013, 11:46
Since the temperatures turned colder, the stinkbugs that did manage to get
inside are making themselves known. With all the christmas lights on, we
have seen and killed about a dozen in the last month. Just yesterday, one
came in on the bottom of a grocery bag, it must have gotten into the trunk
of the car.
12 Jan 2014, 01:00
The weather here in Pittsburgh is not helping the infestation. Below zero
for a few days now back up in the 50's. So,through all of these temp ups
and downs the stink bugs have been invading full force! At any given moment
there are at least 50 in any given room; on the walls/ceilings, in drawers,
in closets and in the lights. I've actually went from room to room with the
shop vac I bought especially for this purpose and when I get back to the
room I started in they are everywhere again!!! I'm about to pack up and
move!! We are so overrun with them nothing I've done can control them! So
Ask the Exterminator
12 Jan 2014, 09:19
Understand that they are not invading from the outside. They are already
over-wintering in attic spaces. Set off aerosol bombs in the attic to cut
down stink bug populations.
12 Jan 2014, 16:05
Yes, the weather has been crazy in Pittsburgh, feel so sorry for
FedUp-agree with ATE, stink bugs have been there, warmer weather has
brought them out. Knock on wood I have only seen one in house since October
of last year. How many more years until DOA decides to release parasitic
wasps? Enough already - stink bugs are truly a drag😩
29 Jan 2014, 22:43
I live in northeastern Indiana & we are being invaded by these creepy
bugs!!! They our in are home during cold weather & out sunning in warm
weather ! I had one in my bed & it got me on the face before I could catch
it...it hurt & left a big sore! I hate these things & have been using alot
of insectides to kill them ! This site has been a great help to me & I want
to says " Thanks so much ! ", Happy Stink Bug Killing Everyone !
06 Mar 2014, 11:22
Last couple winters I've had these gross stink bugs. We live in eastern CT
and started looking for ways to prevent these bugs from getting in the
house but I think I to have to learn to live with them. I have a fireplace
with glass doors and I think they are getting in either through the chimney
or the vents in the attic. The house is over 60 years old with original
windows so we have drafts, etc. I try to caulk windows after the a/c's are
removed but they still get in. All of a sudden I will be sitting on the
first floor and one will dive bomb my reading light next to my chair.
Scares the heck out of me but it doesn't survive long. Gross but what can
we do. I'm not big on chemicals with pets.
10 Mar 2014, 08:12
Yuck. I'm in Fairfield County, CT and I've found dozens of these this
I have a big garden with over 150 Japanese Maples. I hope these stinkers
stick to fruit plants and skip the ornamentals. These things are gross. And
I had no idea that they bite but now I understand why my 3 yr old has a big
big bite on his thigh.
24 Mar 2014, 11:25
Talstar P absolutely works. I start spraying late august and continue thru
october, spraying the attic and outside perimeter about once per month.
While we sweep them up dead by the dozens in the attic, we no longer find
any alive in the house... not one.
12 May 2014, 21:43
I am having a breakdown because of stink bugs! I can't stand them
anymore.......I HATE STINK BUGS ALSO.
17 May 2014, 08:47
I have found the method of setting a lamp over a pan of soapy water
moderately successful. The configuration is set up in the attic. For
stink bugs found around the house, I just grab them with my hand and either
wash them down the drain or (outside) throw them at a hard surface. At
least half emit an odor, but I'm so accustomed to them now and so driven to
kill any I see that I don't mind all that much anymore. To comment on a
statement in the article, I have never been bitten by a stink bug and have
handled by hand some number that is now certainly in the thousands.
24 May 2014, 18:35
Hey, have a problem with some kind of bugs. Look like stink bugs, are in
the attic like stink bugs, but don't smell. Are they stinkbugs? Live in CT.
and haven't ever had this problem.