Fall brings a time for thankfulness, good food and cooler weather. Cooler weather can be nice after a long hot summer, but that also means stink bugs may be coming into your house to take refuge from the cold. Stink bugs are easy to recognize as they are fairly large, measuring 11 to 17 mm and have a distinct five point shape that looks like a shield. Stink bugs are notorious for the smell they release, but they do not pose any health risks.
Stink bugs weren’t found in the United States until the late 1990s when they were brought here from Southeast Asia. Since then, they have become major agricultural pests for soybeans and corn and many other fruits and vegetables. Stink bugs will also feed on house plants, so this is where they may become a problem for you. Here are some ways to get stink bugs out of your house and keep them from coming back.
Get Them Out
Stink bugs are known for their smell when they are squished or feel threatened. The smell has been described as something similar to cilantro or skunks and can make anyone think twice about messing with the creature again. For the smell alone, many people will leave them be and let them take over their house, but there are a few ways to get them out without having to deal with the smell.
For just one or two, you can use a plastic bag to grab them and release them back outside, but you are running the risk of them coming back or eating your garden. To avoid having the stink bug come back in, or stink up your house, they can be flushed down the toilet and their smell will go down with them. Stink bugs are often found in groups, so to get a large number out of your house, you can use a vacuum. Once you suck them up with the vacuum, immediately take the bag out to an outside trash can to prevent the smell from spreading through your house. Removing stink bugs from your house can be the easy part, but keeping them from coming back may be a little harder.
Keep Them Out
Stink bugs begin coming into your house when fall begins and the weather starts getting cooler. While they may eat some of your plants, their primary goal is not to come in for food, but to stay warm. When winter comes, many times stink bugs will disappear. They hibernate in a way by going to a dark place in your house like the basement. They won’t eat or reproduce at this time because they are just waiting out the cold. When fall comes, it is the time to protect your house to keep them out. When spring hits, they will be looking for a way to get out. Knowing why they are coming in will help you better prepare in keeping them out.
Stink bugs don’t just come through the openings of doors and windows, but also through cracks or crevices on the exterior of your home. Stink bugs are large enough that they can be easily seen, so you don’t have to worry about them getting in through tiny places not visible to the eye. However, it is smart for you to check around your house, especially on places around your chimney,
siding and pipes for any cracks or holes stink bugs can fit into. You can fill these in using silicone or silicone-latex caulk to keep the stink bugs from crawling in. Every season, you should look at the screens of your doors and windows for any place that may need to be replaced or repaired to have them up to date. Like most bugs, stink bugs are attracted to lights, so keeping your outdoor lights around your house to a minimum will prevent stink bugs from being right by your house often. Overall, just keeping the outside of your house and yard clean will prevent multiple kinds of pests. Having your grass cut and picking up foliage and debris will take away many insects hiding places, forcing them to go somewhere other than your yard.
Keep in mind, you can also protect your house and nose beforehand by getting your house treated by a pest control professional. If you suspect an infestation as well, it is a smart idea to call a specialist to get the best advice on dealing with stink bugs. Stink bugs can be an annoying pest to deal with, but being proactive will help get them out and keep them out.