If you’ve yet to meet your fair share of stink bugs this year, consider yourself lucky – for now. Although stink bug season is officially from March through September, they become a bigger problem once the weather cools.
Brown marmorated stink bugs infest both the interior of Southern Maryland homes and the garden. In the garden, they feed on fruit and vegetable crops, causing spots and decay.
They prefer to overwinter indoors, in homes. While they aren’t considered harmful to humans or to your home, they create lots of noise and, if bothered, quite a stink.
And once they’re inside your home, controlling them is a challenge.
Let’s look at some ways to send stink bugs packing.
Death by drowning
Drowning is the least smelly way to get rid of stink bugs in your home, but it is also the most labor intensive. Stink bugs can’t swim, so this is also an effective way of killing them.
Fill a bucket three-fourths of the way with water. Some homeowners add three to four drops of liquid dishwashing soap to the water, although it isn’t necessary.
Use a broom or other item with a long handle to knock the stink bugs off the wall and into the bucket. Bugs on the floor may be quickly scooped up with a small dustpan, a spatula, or other tool and dropped into the water.
Use your vacuum
Entomologists at Virginia Tech suggest using your vacuum to suck the bugs off the walls, floors, drapes and furniture. The problem with this method is that the stink bugs release their scent, smelling up your vacuum and your home.
The scientists suggest replacing the vacuum bag after each use. Once the new bag is in place, sprinkle some perfumed talc, like room or pet deodorizer, onto the floor and vacuum it up to rid the machine of stink bug odor.
If you are the victim of repeated sting bug invasions, invest in an inexpensive shop vac and reserve its use for stink bug removal.
While stink bugs don’t hurt people and are considered non-destructive in the home, they may go after your houseplants. An insecticidal soap spray will help discourage stink bugs from feeding on them.
These organic insecticides are available at nurseries and gardening centers, or you can make your own:
Combine 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons of liquid soap (not dishwashing liquid), and 2 cups of water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray the plants with it. The oil has a tendency to separate, so shake the bottle periodically as you spray.
Dishwashing liquid is detergent and may harm your plants. Look for a liquid soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap.
How to prevent a stink bug infestation
Stick the end of a screwdriver into the opening between the bottom of your door and the floor. If it fits easily, so will a stink bug.
Like many pests, stink bugs have the ability to squish their bodies down to fit into tight spaces. To prevent their entry into the home, seal all openings to the outdoors.
Virginia Tech entomologists suggest caulking cracks — around doors and windows, baseboards, and any other area where the bugs may gain entry.
Cover roof vents with window screening. Replace screens that have holes, and seal openings around ceiling fixtures and exhaust fans.
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