We interrupt our Spring Cleaning Extravaganza series to bring you an important announcement: Stink Bug Season has arrived and those pesky critters will be around to annoy us and gross us out through September. And stink bugs? Well, they stink. In more ways than one. I don’t know about you, but I am seriously weirded out by the brown marmorated stink bugs. They look so…prehistoric, are so…ugly, and they can be so…stinky. Removal of these unwanted visitors is assigned to another person in my household who does not have the same aversion as me. But what to do if you live alone or everyone at your place is equally reluctant to deal with these creatures? We’ve done a bit of homework to help you sort it all out. You’re welcome.
SEARCH AND DESTROY
Indoors the creatures tend to congregate on upper floors and in tight spaces. That’s why they often tuck into drapery folds and walk along the tops of walls. Typically they will gather on warm, west-facing walls and enter buildings via cracks and crevices. Once they find an ideal spot, they release pheromones, chemical signals that beckon more stink bugs to join the party.
So what do you do when you’re just trying to have a nice evening binge-watching Netflix when you spot a stink bug (besides, if you’re like me, scream your fool head off??)? Sadly, chemical pesticides and insecticides are not the answer. Horrifyingly, few actually work to kill these bugs and they often raise from the dead a few days later. And if you do manage to kill them, their bodies may attract other insects to feed on them. So put down your phone, Virginia. Your landlord or local pest control company is not going to be the best solution. Especially since most apartment communities offer visits from pest control companies on a periodic basis, and scheduling pest control is seldom immediate, you’ll want to get rid of these pests now.
Instead, try one of these techniques for fast and easy results. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to insects, I’m all about fast removal.
Fill a spray bottle with a 50-50 concentration of white vinegar and water. Then, add a small squirt of dishwashing liquid and get to work! This mixture is highly effective and safe, though it takes more time to kill the bugs than typical insecticides (requiring 30-45 minutes.)
Here’s a great method that allows you to kill two birds with one stone. Make your home smell great and banish stink bugs at the same time. If you are following along with our Spring Cleaning Extravaganza, you may already have essential oils on hand. Simply mix 10 drops of mint essential oil with 16 ounces of water and spray at interior entry zones like windows and doors.
How about another way to kill two birds with one stone? Get rid of vampires (LOL) and stink bugs in one swell foop! [Good grief, it’s fell swoop. My father used to say swell foop (along with a myriad of other malapropisms we referred to lovingly as “Scoopisms”.] Combine two cups water and four teaspoons of garlic powder or a handful of garlic cloves and spray on indoor windowsills where these creepy crawlies are likely to enter your home.
Grab a paper towel along with your designated stink bug killer (DSBK). If you don’t have a DSBK, you’ll have to brave this on your own thus becoming my personal hero. Ever so gently pluck the bug (do not squish) from wherever it has landed and flush the bug down the toilet. Do not flush the paper towel or you will have a toilet back up to deal with as well as stink bugs and a human can only take so much. See below section on the importance of not squishing.
You can also use your vacuum if you have a wand attachment, but proceed with caution. This method only works for vacuum cleaners with bags. And you’ll need to throw the bag away immediately to prevent a stink bomb from developing. Maybe use this one only in a dire emergency. (But isn’t any visible insect a dire emergency?!?)
A stink bug’s natural reaction to any perceived threat is to drop straight down. Clearly, they are not too bright. Fill a wide mouth jar with soapy water (add some vinegar for extra killing power), place it underneath the pest, and most often it will drop right into the suds and drown.
Lint Roller Sheet
Cover a dry sweep mop head with a lint remover sheet (which again you may already have if you’re following along with the Dusting Edition of our Spring Cleaning Extravaganza). Use it as a long-handled stink bug catcher. It’s perfect for grabbing any high-climbing bugs. But be careful not to squish. See below.
Should I Squish A Stink Bug?
Squishing them is not an ideal solution. In fact, it’s the worst. Whether threatened or not, stepping on or swatting a stink bug is likely to release their stinky spray, resulting in a pungent odor that will fill the area where they were killed. Eww.
What Happens if a Stink Bug Releases Its Scent?
While seemingly innocuous, killing a stink bug can have lingering effects. Not only does the chemical produced by stink bugs smell, but it also releases pheromones that attract other stink bugs. With numerous stink bugs roaming through your home, it’s only a matter of time until you’re stuck with a smelly infestation!
Combine equal parts hot water and dish soap in a spray bottle and spray on windowsill entry points. Not advisable, however if your windowsills and window frames are wood.
Stink bugs dislike dryer sheet odor, so rub dryer sheets on window screens and windowsills as a preventative measure. If you see holes in your screens and you are a renter, alert your management office for assistance patching or replacing the screen.
Drown By Night
Before bed, fill a wide pan with soapy water and place it in the room with the most stink bugs. Place a small light so it hangs over the dish. Obviously, you do not want the light/lamp to touch the water. Overnight the stink bugs will flock to the light, fall into the suds and drown.
Block Points of Entry
If you see cracked seals around utility entry points, doors and windows, joints where two different materials meet, like wood and concrete block or wood siding and brick, caulk the cracks as needed. Check weather stripping and sweeps on doors and look for gaps. If you are a renter, alert your management office and request assistance. Homeowners, don your tool belts or call your local handyman.
Wishing you days and months of stink-free and bug-free enjoyment of your home – unless of course, you wish to train them so you can make a million dollars on American’s Got Talent, or keep them as pets (pet fees may apply LOL).
RESOURCES: The Pest Rangers, Terminix, Orkin