Stink bugs feel like nature’s revenge for every insect you’ve ever squished. They get their name from the foul stench they release when they’re threatened or disturbed. It’s a smell that’s tough to describe. Notes of dirty socks, rotting fruit and paper-mill pulp. In short, it stinks — and worse, it lingers. If you have a big stinkbug problem, we obviously recommend that you call us for an appointment, but if you think you’d like to take care of the issue yourself, we’ll give you some tips on how to get rid of stinkbugs in your home.
Why Stink Bugs Come Indoors
Seasonal cues trigger stink bugs’ search for winter quarters; the shortening days and falling temperatures sending them scampering for cover. Their preference is sharing your home over the winter, piling into cracks and crevices by the thousands. Researchers once found 4,000 in a bread box size container — and 30,000 inside an outhouse-size building.
What They Do Inside
Once stink bugs hide indoors, they stage a slow-mo home invasion all winter long. They love to explore, lumbering along any surface — countertop, couch, toaster or bed. They like warm places, which means they’re happy to jump into your shower or morning coffee. When they fly, they bump and blunder into things, sounding like helicopters with serious mechanical issues.
The reason for a stink bug’s disoriented behavior indoors is diapause, a sort of insect hibernation. This zombie-like state allows them to move all around your home to find their favorite spot. They typically appear when a winter warm spell fools them into thinking it’s spring. Instead of finding their way outdoors, they emerge in your living spaces — and then chaos ensues. Inside, stink bugs tend to congregate on upper floors and in tight spaces. That’s why they often tuck into drapery folds and walk along the tops of walls. It’s why they mass in attics and crawl spaces above garages.
The good news is that stink bugs don’t eat, bite or reproduce indoors. When spring arrives, they’ll head outside to kick off a new season of munching and mating. The bad news is that they won’t leave until Spring and if you spot a few in your house NOW, there’s likely an army of them in your home.
What To Do
If you decide not to call us and want to deal with the stinkbugs on your own, it’s best to deal with them one by one. Here are some natural, holistic ways to deal with them.
Use Essential Oil Mix – 10 drops of mint essential oil with 16 ounces of water and spray at interior entry zones like windows and doors.
Garlic Spray – Combine two cups water and four teaspoons of garlic powder or a handful of garlic cloves and spray on indoor windowsills where stink bugs are likely to enter your home.
Vacuum the Critters – For bad infestations, some homeowners buy a small shop vac dedicated for stink bug use. You can also use a vacuum you already have, but proceed with caution with this tip. This method only works for vacuum cleaners with bags. And you’ll need to throw the bug-filled bags away immediately to prevent a stink bomb from developing.
Soapy Water – A stink bug’s natural reaction to any perceived threat is to drop straight down. Fill a wide mouth jar with soapy water (add some vinegar for extra killing power), move it into position beneath a stink bug, and most often it will drop right into the suds and drown. Combine equal parts hot water and dish soap in a spray bottle and spray on windowsill entry points.
Safeguard Your House – Prevention is key in combatting these critters. Caulk all cracks and crevices where bugs can enter. Place fine mesh over air vents to keep bugs from trying that sneaky alternative entryway.
Dryer Sheets Dryer sheet odor offends stink bugs, so rubbing dryer sheets on window screens or at home entry points can be a great way to keep bugs at bay.
Sticky Pad – Cover a dry sweep mophead with a sticky lint remover sheet, and use it as a long-handled stink bug catcher. It’s perfect for grabbing any high-climbing bugs.
Night Light – Before bed, fill a wide pan with soapy water and place it in the room with the most stink bugs. Place a small light so it hangs over the dish. Overnight the stink bugs will flock to the light, fall into the suds and drown.
Avoid Chemical Insecticides – It’s tempting to douse the stinkers with an all-purpose insecticide, but few actually work to kill these bugs (they often raise from the dead a few days later). Also, if you do manage to kill them, their bodies may attract other insects to feed on them.
We hope you’ve found our tips on how to get rid of stinkbugs helpful. CONTACT Holistic Pest Solutions if you need a free consultation for any pest problem or treatment any pests; or give us a call at 434 842 1700. Whether you’re in Charlottesville, Palmyra, Keswick, Ivy, Crozet, Earlysville, Greene, Madison, Waynesboro, or Staunton, Holistic Pest Solutions has the perfect plan and we’re mindful of our clients AND our Earth.
*Our Environmental Commitment: Holistic Pest Solutions is committed to the preservation of our environment. Our goal is to nurture the soils and plant life of lawns and landscapes. Utilizing holistic pest control practices that cause the least amount of impact on the environment.