As the temperatures begin to soar during the spring, stink bugs start to come out of their winter hibernation. Females ultimately start to lay eggs on the readily available plants. That is how these stink bugs begin to multiply. Both the adult stink bugs and their larvae then begin feeding on plant juices and also attack nearby vegetables and fruits, such as peppers, tomatoes, beans, corns, and so on. A few stink bugs present in the garden may not cause too much damage, but many of them quickly damage crops and plants.
The adult stink bugs often enter people’s houses to protect themselves from the cold weather, and when disturbed or squashed, these stink bugs emit a very unpleasant smell or odor from scent glands on their abdomen. Thus, it becomes indispensable for people to control stink bugs. In this article, we have highlighted the best ways to keep stink bugs away.
What Are Stink Bugs?
Stink bugs are enormous oval, or shield-shaped, insects and are often referred to as shield bugs. These bugs are members of the Hemiptera order and are correctly named as they have tiny glands situated on the thorax. These glands emit a foul-smelling liquid, and this ability is supposed to be a defense mechanism of the bugs against their predators. When a stink bug is in danger, it releases a foul odor. As adult bugs, some of the species of stink bugs are brightly colored while the more common ones are brownish or greenish.
What Attracts Stink Bugs to Your Home
Now, let us come to answering the main question. Why are stink bugs attracted to homes? Following are the reasons why stink bugs are attracted to your house:
- Bright Light and Heat
- The unique behavioral characteristic of stink bugs is that they are generally attracted to sources of heat and light, which is in contradiction to various other types of insects that avoid heat and light and prefer dark and cold places.
- Stink bugs actively look for light sources. Thus, even at night, you will see these bugs flying around and are generally attracted towards the windows of homes where the lights are turned on. Also, the stink bugs that are already indoors will look for sources of light in your house and get attracted to those light sources.
- Stink bugs actively look for sources of heat as these bugs detest the cold weather and look for places where they can keep warm. This is the reason why you will find these bugs mostly clinging to your window.
- Stink bugs are always looking to escape from the cold weather and find homes to be a good source of heat. Thus, one way that stink bugs can enter your home is when they are simply flying by your home and observe a window through which light is being emitted.
- These stink bugs are then attracted towards that window, and once they cling there, they can identify the heat signature of the source of light. They eventually find a way to enter the house through cracks or gaps near the window in this way. The stink bugs that are unable to find shelter from the cold, usually go into a hibernation state and wait out the cold, harsh winter months.
- During summer and spring seasons, as the temperatures increase, these bugs are typically found outdoors in gardens, orchards, and also on agricultural properties, such as farms.
- Outdoors are also the place where stink bugs can mate and then reproduce.
- They always lay their eggs on the underside of tree leaves, so these bugs cannot reproduce in your home until and unless you have live plants there.
- Under the Trees
- As stinkbugs lay eggs on the underside of tree leaves, the babies follow the linger near the tree in question as this tree is near your house.
- If there are a lot of trees near your house, then you have to be careful of stink bugs as your house is an easy target for them to attack once the winter season starts and these bugs start looking for warm places.
- Fruits And Vegetables
- Stink bugs need to feed on vegetables and fruits; thus, these bugs can easily be found in your home and also on cultivated farmland where fresh produce grows as this is where they can feed on fresh vegetables and fruits (unless they find sources of vegetables and fruits within your home to feed on).
- As these bugs feed on vegetables and fruits, one needs to be careful, especially if one maintains a vegetable/fruit garden at the back or front yard of your home.
- Also, if one has any open vegetables and fruits inside one’s house, then one should make sure that these eatables are covered always.
- The aroma that is emitted from the vegetables and fruits may also attract stink bugs that are present outside your house. Thus, if you cannot keep your windows closed, then do refrigerate all your eatables.
- As the residual scent of the stink bug odor lingers, the odds of other stink bugs detecting the scent and coming into your home only increases. These stink bugs can then multiply extremely quickly and increase the stink bug population either within or near your home.
Signs of Stink Bug Manifestation
Some of the signs that tell you that stink bugs have infested your home are:
- Findings of Live Stink Bugs: You will identify that stink bugs have attached and infested your home when you see them crawling around in your home. These bugs are brave enough to crawl all over you as you sit on the sofa, and they are often seen on the lamps in your home when you see them crawling around and these bugs are not afraid to climb all over you as you sit on the sofa. They are frequently seen on the curtains and lamps and in crockery drawers. You will also see them on vegetables and fruits that are open in the kitchen.
- Bug Trails: Stink bugs most often leave behind a trail of their waste or excreta as and when they crawl. This is a nasty substance, and you may find long dark trails of this matter all over your walls, kitchen countertops, and over your windows.
- A Horrible Smell: These insects are named stink bugs because they emit a horrible odor when they are in danger. People who have house pets most often get the odor when their cat or dog comes across a stink bug, and these insects also emit a foul smell if they are startled by your presence.
- Damage to House Plants: Stink bugs that inhabit the outdoors destroy and damage entire crops, and they are particularly attracted to vegetable plants and fruit trees. When these insects are attracted to your home during the winter, they start eating up the houseplants if you have any.
- Presence of Dead Stink Bugs: If you start coming across dead stink bugs, you should know that they have begun discovering a way inside your home. Some dead bugs are an indication that more bugs will be attacking your home.
Do Stink Bugs Sting?
The good news is that stink bugs do not bite. These bugs also do not harm pets or people, and they do not spread any disease either. However, some people may be allergic to the smell that stink bugs emit. Runny nose and dermatitis are examples of symptoms of such allergies.
When Do Stink Bugs Usually Come Out?
As March brings blooming flowers, higher temperatures, and the proper start to spring, it also marks the start of the season of stink bugs. Stink bugs generally keep to themselves while it is summer but start reappearing once the fall season begins. As soon as temperatures decrease, usually during late September, stink bugs become more prominent in the environment.
Remedies to Get Rid of Stink Bugs
Traditional pesticides are not effective for eradicating your house of stink bugs once they come inside. Following are some of the best ways to rid your home of these unwanted pests:
1. Use a Bagged Vacuum
The easiest and the most practical way of getting rid of stink bugs is using a vacuum cleaner, especially if it has a hand-held hose attachment. All you need to do is suck up the bugs, then remove the bag, seal it cautiously, and then dispose of the bag far away from your home.
However, while vacuuming, you must remember that stink bugs release a foul odor when disturbed. Thus, ensure to use a vacuum with a disposable bag, or else they will eliminate a lot of smell from the bagless vacuum. Also, though the vacuuming process might kill some of the stink bugs that are sucked up, others may survive, so you must ensure to dispose of the bag quickly.
2. Set Up Stink Bug Traps
Though these insects are not drawn to a chemical bait, stink bugs are easily attracted to UV light. You can also make a DIY light trap by filling a large pan with foamy water and placing it under a nightlight or lamp.
3. Kill Them Carefully
You can squish the stink bugs by hand if you chance upon them. However, you need to do that carefully. Use a toilet paper or paper towel and flush the whole thing quickly afterward.
Combine equal parts of water and liquid detergent in a spray bottle and spray it on any stink bugs you come across (or any spots where you suspect they may be hiding).
Shred cigarettes or butts into some warm and let the mixture soak overnight. Strain out the debris and add two tablespoons of dish detergent to the liquid, and then you can spray this solution which kills stink bugs promptly.
A common bug zapper works wonders to attract and kill stink bugs.
7. Eliminate Food and Water Resources
Like all living things, these bugs require food and water to live and reproduce. To eliminate stink bugs, you need to block these resources entirely.
8. Use Insecticides
Using insecticides is the quickest and most efficient way to eliminate stink bugs. However, while choosing the right product, do remember that these insecticides can harm helpful insects too. Use insecticides with proper caution if you have children or pets and consume processed vegetables and fruits.
9. Garlic Spray
Combine four teaspoons of garlic powder or a few garlic cloves with two cups of water and spray on indoor windowsills from where stink bugs will most probably enter your house. This is an effective measure to deter stink bugs.
10. Essential Oils
You can get rid of stink bugs with essential oils. Strong-smelling essential oils, such as lemon, eucalyptus, mint, Indian lavender, and catnip, might have a repellent effect on stink bugs.
Once you have successfully gotten rid of the stink bug infestation, you must ensure not to let a new infestation occur. For this, you must seal any points of entry and pay a lot to attics, chimneys, pipes, and the trim around doors and windows. Do note that stink bugs are strongly attracted to light, so try to minimize the amount and number of outside lights you keep on, especially during the fall season when stink bugs start coming indoors.