Temperatures are dropping and stink bugs are seeking a warm habitat for the winter. Your home is the perfect location, but if you’d rather not invite these pests to your garden or inside your house, there are steps you can take to make them less welcome.
About Stink Bugs
Stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) emerge in the early spring and mate from April to May. They lay their eggs on the underside of leaves in masses of 20-30 and they produce just one generation per year. Adult stink bugs can cause serious crop damage to vegetables and fruits as well as to ornamental plants. In the fall and up until the first frost, stink bugs begin moving inside to overwinter.
The best way to control stink bugs is to address the situation before they enter the home. If you can eliminate the bugs before they become established, you can save a good deal of money, time and trouble.
Before Stink Bugs Make Themselves at Home
In late summer and early fall, you can take steps to keep stink bugs out of your home. Hard freezes and the deep cold of winter will help keep the bug population smaller, so they will be easier to control in the spring if you have not allowed them to comfortably overwinter indoors.
- Seal all cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, chimneys, dryer vents, air conditioning units, and any other possible entrance point.
- Repair or replace all damaged window and door screens, as well as all weather stripping in doorways and windows.
- In the fall, spray a synthetic pyrethroid on all exterior home surfaces to prevent stink bugs from entering through any missed openings. Sunlight breaks down insecticides, therefore, weekly applications are necessary until winter’s cold sets in.
If stink bugs do enter the home, don’t worry, this insect is only considered a nuisance insect to humans as they do not bite, sting or create structural damage. When threatened, however, they do emit a defensive odor that is very unpleasant and can permeate a room quickly. Fortunately, stink bugs will not procreate over the winter, so even if they are found in the house, they can be easy to control and an infestation is not inevitable.
After Stink Bugs Move In
It can be frustrating to see a stink bug in the house, especially if you have taken steps to try and keep them out. Fortunately, it is easy to remove them.
- When a stink bug is spotted, gently pick it up using a tissue, being careful not to squish the insect (which would release its noxious odor). Flush down the toilet to dispose without smelly results.
- Attempt to locate the stink bug’s entrance area, usually found around window and door trim, cracks behind baseboards, exhaust fans, ceiling lights and fans. Thoroughly seal that opening with caulk so no other bugs can enter.
Using strong insecticides inside the home is not recommended because of the risk of contamination and harm to pets, children, houseplants and food. Since these bugs do not breed in winter, however, hand-picking any intruders will quickly clear out the unwanted guests, and next fall you can continue to stink-bug-proof your home with ease.