Stink bugs… The name says it all. And while these insects are not “dangerous” to humans, you don’t want anything to do with something that might stink up your house, right?
Unfortunately, the stink bug loves the sight of a warm home in wintertime, meaning that you need to know how to keep this pest permanently out in the cold.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to help make this a reality. With that in mind, let’s take a look at those processes and learn a little bit more about why this critter has become such a nuisance in our state.
An invasive species (stink bugs are originally from Asia but appeared in the United States in 1990s and have since spread like wildfire), you can easily identify this brown-gray insect by the triangular-shaped shield on its back. It is on this distinctively shaped body part in which the stink bug carries the scent glands which give it its name. The stink bug only releases its foul odor when disturbed or crushed.
In warmer areas, such as our state, they will go through 2-3 egg cycles in a year – which is why they can quickly become an infestation. Fully-grown the stink bug is about an inch long, and while they aren’t extraordinarily quick, they are good fliers, and they can also flatten themselves to ridiculously thin levels in order to squeeze through crevices – which means your first job in keeping stink bugs out is to:
Get rid of entry points
- Since these insects can squeeze themselves through even slight openings, you need to ensure that there are no cracks and crevices visible in your doors or windows. That means replacing any eroded weather stripping and ensuring a tight closure point by reapplying caulk or silicone to any gaps. This also means that you should repair or replace any broken screen doors or storm windows. It’s also a good idea to install screens over any chimney and/or attic vents.
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Eliminate excess moisture and food sources (food and drink)
- Beyond warmth and shelter, stink bugs look to winter in your home because of the availability of water and food. That means that you need to ensure that you do not have any standing water/leaks present in your home – especially in the basement, garage or attic. It is a good idea to keep these areas well ventilated – consider using a de-humidifier. Stink bugs have to have access to drinking water, and this is where they will most likely look. Also, avoid piling up wet rags or standing water in seldom used sinks.
- At the same time, you should also ensure that you seal up any easy food sources for insects. This means utilizing air-tight food containers, as well as covering up and sealing garbage receptacles. You should also keep your kitchen countertops and tables clean of crumbs and cooking oils. This act will also help you avoid insect infestation of numerous other types, including ants and roaches.
Keep your yard neat
- Having a messy yard attracts insects of all kinds, as it gives them plenty of places to hide and live – as well as more options for drink and food. Therefore, it is important to keep things trimmed and orderly. Mulch is also a big attraction for insects – because it locks in so much moisture – so try to keep mulch from touching your house if at all possible. And if you do keep a wood pile, make sure to maintain it at least 20 feet from your home, as these are also great invitations for insect infestation.
- Stink bugs – like so many other insects – are attracted to light. And turning on outdoor lights acts as a beacon for pests looking for an excuse to check out your home. Obviously, you can’t sit outside in darkness, but be smart about your usage. And DO NOT leave your outdoor lights on all night.
- Whether it is groceries, wood for the fireplace or the latest delivery from your favorite online retailer, be sure to give the package a good one-over in order to make sure there are no stink bugs hitching a ride.
- OK, this is may sound like a bit of a catch-22, as if you cannot squish them (for fear of releasing that awful smell), how are you supposed to rid yourself of stink bugs if not by vacuuming them up? Well, vacuuming them up is fine, but just know that sucking them up is likely to release that smell in your vacuum, so DO NOT use a bagless vacuum when sucking them up. And when you do suck them up, dispose of the bag immediately afterward. Here are some other methods of removing stink bugs while not releasing their smell:
- Wrap your hand in a plastic bag and pick them up to avoid touching them directly.
- Make a solution of water and liquid soap or detergent (a teaspoon or so of soap/detergent should do) and put it in a straight-sided 1/2 to 1-gallon container, filling it 25 percent full. Knock any visible bugs into the bucket from walls, ceilings or wherever you may see them. The solution prevents them from escaping and they will eventually drown.
Cut off those lights!
Be careful of what you bring into your home
Don’t squish them – and be careful when vacuuming
Of course, there are times when you just don’t want to deal with the problems – or may not have time to handle the problems yourself. If you find yourself in the midst of a stink bug infestation, or your efforts have not kept these little suckers at bay, perhaps it is time to call in a professional.
A pest control specialist will not only be able to easily kill off any invaders in your home but will also be able to diagnose just how the stink bugs are accessing your living space in order to help you avoid future infestations.
Zone Home Solutions’ pest control technicians have learned plenty about the stink bug since it started flourishing in north Georgia, and we have solved countless infestations over that time. We are always ready and available to help you put an end to this smelly invasion. Simply call us today at 770-904-5432 and let us put an end to your insect problems.