How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs
Summary: 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.
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 œstink 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 pump sprayer. 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.
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 œCome 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
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