Stink Bug Infestation: Signs, Control, And Prevention

Stink bugs are attracted to light and they can make their way indoors easily. Most Stink bug infestations happen in the winter when more bugs seek shelter to escape cold weather.

Stink bugs are known to guide themselves by the diminishing daylight times and drop in temperature as signals to get indoors.

This means Sink bugs mostly seek to make their way indoors in the fall or whenever the temperature drops considerably.

What are Stink Bugs?

Stink bugs are common insects that have been introduced to the US. They are either shield-shaped or oval in abdomen shape and they come in all types of colors.

Brown Marmorated stink bug

The Brown Marmorated stink bug is one of the most common stink bug species in the US. It was introduced to the country accidentally and it has been shown to invade homes.

Marmorated stink bugs are common invaders in New York homes, Maryland homes, and houses in many other states.

What Causes Stink Bug Infestation in The House?

Stink bugs are known to eat plants. They don’t seek out indoor environments as they cannot easily find plants and flowers to consume. But these bugs have no choice when the temperature drops.

Bugs of this genus are known to make their way in old buildings or buildings with plenty of cracks which allows them easy access but still offers shelter from the cold weather of the fall and winter.

In the absence of buildings Stink bugs look for shelter under loose tree bark or leaves on the ground.

While not harmful to people, Stink bugs are known to heavily invade a home if they find entry points.

Are Stink bugs dangerous?

Stink bugs are related to begging bugs but they don’t bite people. Generally not dangerous, Stink bugs might only be unpleasant when it comes to them releasing a foul smell.

This bad smell is released when these bugs are handled as a means of defense. Rare skin irritation has been reported after Stink bugs were handled.

Sign of Stink Bug Infestation in the House

When it comes to determining a home infestation you need to know what to look for. Stink bugs need to be seen inside the house. You might not find any eggs laid by these bugs as the last time they mate in the season is August. They make their way inside the house in the fall.

Seeing live Stink bugs

Seeing multiple Stink bugs in the house is a sign of an infestation. You might want to check all areas of the house as these insects can fly into a room with an open window where you forgot the light on at night.

While many bugs will fly out if you leave the window open, Stink bug infestations involve these insects making their way into multiple areas of the house where it would be more difficult to get them out.

Stink bug on window

Seeing dead Stink bugs

Seeing dead Stink bugs in the house is a warning sign, just as seeing a live one is. Dead bugs are warning signs that many more can already be in the house. You can inspect all areas of the house including the basement and the attic to check for more signs of Stink bugs.

How to Get Rid of a Stink Bug Infestation?

Getting rid of Stink bugs is not complicated. Unlike other pests such as roaches or rodents, Stink bugs don’t need any insecticides to clear.

Use a powerful vacuum cleaner

Vacuum cleaners can be used to suck up these bugs in a bag. This bag needs to be sealed and discarded afterward as Stink bugs don’t die when vacuumed.

A powerful vacuum cleaner might be needed to suck the insects in as soon as possible before they escape.

This method is so efficient that even professional pest control companies invest in powerful vacuum cleaners to eliminate the problem without the use of insecticide which requires vacating an infested home.

Remove Stink bugs by hand

Some Stink bugs can be picked by hand. This is one of the easiest methods of throwing them out of the house. However, they will fly back in given the chance.

It’s best to have an empty plastic bottle to enclose the bugs once collected.  Since Stink bugs release a bad odor when handled it’s best to remove them only when wearing protective gloves or work gloves.

Use soap and water to drive the bugs away or kill them

Soap and water have been used as a sprayer directly on Stink bugs with some degree of success. A spray with equal parts liquid soap and water can be used directly on Stink bugs to kill them or slow them down until you can remove them by hand.

Consider an electric bug zapper

Electric zappers can also be used to eliminate Stink bugs and many other types of bugs in the house.

These bug zappers can be placed outdoors on the patio so that you do not need to worry about the zipping sound indoors.

It can also be placed in areas of the house with the heaviest infestation, which is likely the attic as it normally has a few locations that aren’t properly sealed.

Electric bug zippers also kill other types of pests such as flies and flying ants which might also seek shelter in the fall.

Call an exterminator if these measures fail

If all else fails it might be time to call an exterminator. Most companies that deal with pests will use a combination of methods to get the bugs out. They rarely consider insecticides and pesticides as these methods are troublesome.

Insecticides kill Stink bugs that might not be vacuumed completely from the house. This means dead Stink bugs remain inside the house attracting other pests such as spiders.

How to Prevent Stink Bug Infestation

Preventing Stink bug infestations is a process that involves multiple measures.

 From sealing cracks to always closing the window at night, there are a few measures you can consider for the ultimate home protection.

Seal cracks larger than 1/8” around windows

Stink bugs can crawl through window cracks

Stink bugs have been shown to crawl through openings as small as 1/8 inches. You need to seal all holes, cracks, and small openings around the house to keep them out.

The heaviest Stink bug infestations are found in the attic. It’s just below the roof that cracks go unnoticed. These places need to be sealed with a good silicone-based gel.

Seal cracks around doors

Cracks around doors are very common. Doors that constantly open and shut are known to create small cracks. They also bend which means there’s space around doors that bugs can see as the easiest entry point in a house.

All cracks around doors can be dealt with by either using a good sealant or by replacing bad doors that allow pests in.

Check for gaps between pipes and walls

Gaps around piping are very common. These are often places that are hard to see as they can be in the basement or elsewhere around the house.

These gaps also need to be filled as they can be used by a wide range of pests such as Stink bugs with an invasive behavior or cockroaches.

Add bug screen or replace old bug screens

Bug screens are some of the cheapest and most efficient solutions against Stink bugs. These are easily installed and they can be used as a good method of filtering out all types of flies and bugs.

Bug screens need to be installed on all windows as these are some of the largest entry points of a house.

Old bug screens also need to be checked for holes. Bug screens that have openings larger than 1/8 inches lose their efficiency as Stink bugs can make it through them.

Don’t turn on exterior lights at night

Exterior lights (except yellow light) are known to attract Stink bugs. Lights on the patio, lights on the lawn, or lights around windows or the garage attract all types of nocturnal Stink bugs.

It’s best to leave these lights off at night starting with September as this is the beginning of the fall and the period these bugs are known for starting to move indoors.

Trim shrubs around the house

Shrubs and vegetation around the house are known hiding places for various bugs such as Stink bugs. These areas always need to be trimmed and properly maintained so that they don’t nest any type of pest.

Vacuum clean the home frequently

Frequent vacuuming removes dirt and bugs inside the house. Vacuuming the home at least once per week is going to keep the place clean and bug-free.

Dry flower leaves and types of organic matter that attract bugs need to be vacuumed for the best results.

Place ultraviolet light further from the house to attract Stink bugs

Stink bugs are attracted to ultraviolet lights. This can be used to attract them further out from the house so that they don’t move inside.

These lights can be installed in the backyard as far as possible from the house. Stink bugs might not be interested in the light if your home has multiple other lights turned on at night.

It’s best to combine the method of placing ultraviolet light further from the house with other methods mentioned above.

Refrain from using insecticides

Insecticides aren’t recommended against Stink bugs. These are powerful chemicals that don’t offer the best results as they can kill bugs that might not be seen inside the house.

Dead Stink bugs have a specific scent that might attract other Stink bugs, roaches, or spiders inside the house.

FAQ

Why do I have a Stink bugs invasion?

A home that has multiple cracks and openings in walls or around windows or doors is going to attract many Stink bugs.
These bugs seek overwintering locations that aren’t outside. They cannot enter a home that’s in good shape and maintained properly so that there are no cracks for bugs to fly through.

How do you find a Stink bug nest?

Stink bugs don’t have a nest inside the house. The reproductive cycle for Stink bugs in the US ends at the end of the summer.
Even when they lay eggs, Stink bugs prefer to lay them under leaves or in thick outdoor vegetation which is their natural habitat.

What keeps stink bugs away?

A home that’s properly sealed without cracks and holes keeps Stink bugs away. A clean home is also recommended as a place that doesn’t invite any types of bugs.

How long do stink bugs live inside?

Stink bugs can survive the winter indoors. They live up to 8 months inside the house which means they will be ready to fly out in the spring.

What is considered a stink bug infestation?

A Stink bug infestation refers to a situation where tens or hundreds of Stink bugs are found inside the house. Old homes with multiple holes and cracks are known to house up to a few thousand Stink bugs during the winter months.

Do stink bugs lay eggs in your house?

Stink bugs don’t lay eggs inside the house. They are known to lay eggs under leaves, in shrubs, or in tall grass where the eggs hatch and where the newly-emerged bugs have access to food.

Brown marmorated stink bug eggs

Summary

Stink bug infestations can be problematic when it comes to a home you live in. Most infestations are common in old or abandoned homes which are known for having multiple cracks and openings.

These types of bugs aren’t dangerous to people as they don’t bite and they aren’t interested in leftover food either. Stink bugs are only known to invade homes to seek shelter and a warmer dryer environment during the winter.

Still, these bugs can be eliminated easier using a vacuum cleaner when you first notice them inside the house. They can be killed instantly by placing a bug zapper on the patio. Stink bugs can also be kept away from the house by sealing all cracks and by keeping windows shut at night as these insects are attracted to light.

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