Category Archives: What’s Bugging You

Stink Bugs

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.

Deterring Deer

Deer may be beautiful and elegant, but they aren’t always welcome in the garden. Even just a few visiting deer can tear up a landscape, eat an entire crop, destroy a carefully cultivated bed and cause other havoc, such as creating a traffic hazard, damaging bird feeders or leaving behind unwanted “gifts” on sidewalks and pathways. But how can you keep deer out of your yard and away from your garden and landscape?

Popular Deer Deterrent Techniques

People try all sorts of home-grown methods to keep deer from destroying their landscape and gardens. Some of the more common tactics include…

  • 8 ft. fencing, including wire or electric fences
  • Big, loud dogs on guard in the yard
  • Deer repellents such as commercial chemicals
  • Predator urine or other anti-deer scents
  • Motion detectors connected to lights or sprinklers

All of these methods work but are limited in their effectiveness. Fencing is costly and unsightly. Repellents and urine wash away. Sprinklers or lighted areas can be easily avoided. So what can you do to keep deer away permanently?

Deer are creatures of habit and they are easily scared. Anything you can do to mix up their habits or make them think there is danger nearby might be enough to make them go elsewhere in search of food. But deer aren’t foolish and if they realize the danger isn’t real, they will return. Therefore, you must rotate any scare tactics you try and reapply repellents frequently. This can be a lot of work to keep your garden safe, but you can make your garden do the work for you.

Plants Deer Won’t Like

While deer in large herds with insufficient food will eat almost any garden vegetation, particularly in harsh winters, you can opt for plants that aren’t popular with deer to minimize deer damage. At the same time, avoid planting favorite deer plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, yews, roses, Japanese maples, winged euonymous, hemlocks and arborvitae, as well as any edible garden produce.

So what can you plant in your landscape to discourage deer? There are many attractive plants deer will avoid, including…


  • Chinese Paper Birch
  • Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Dragon Lady Holly
  • Douglas Fir
  • Japanese Cedar
  • San Jose Holly
  • Serviceberry
  • Scotch Pine

Shrubs & Climbers

  • Barberry
  • Bearberry
  • Blueberry Elder
  • Boxwood
  • Caryopteris
  • Common Buckhorn
  • Creeping Wintergreen
  • European Privet
  • Japanese Andromeda
  • Japanese Plum Yew
  • Leucothoe
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Russian Olive

 Try using these less deer-friendly plants to create a dense border around your yard and garden area, and deer will be less inclined to work their way toward the tastier plants. When combined with other deterrent techniques, it is possible to have a stunning landscape without being stunned by deer damage.