How To Get Rid of Stink Bugs
There are over 200 species of stink bugs in North America alone. Many of these stink bug species are native to North America and have plagued farmers for centuries. However, until recently, stink bugs were only a problem for commercial farmers and home gardeners. The most recent stink bug addition to the North American landscape is the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys. The BMSB is native to Asia and was introduced in the mid 1990’s to Allentown, Pennsylvania area. The brown marmorated stink bug quickly established itself in this mid-Atlantic region of the United States and is of great concern to farmers, biologists, and entomologists.
The brown marmorated stink bug is also a concern for the common man in this area of intense population concentrations. They haveshare an appetite for valuable commercial crops in our food supply like with other stink bugs, but the brown marmorated stink bug needs a warm, safe, dry place to spend the winter. They enter homes in the fall in droves and when disturbed or crushed emit a foul stench. The brown marmorated stink bug is the only species of stink bug in North America which attempts to overwinter in homes and businesses.
Crucial to controlling the BMST is understanding its life cycle, behaviors, and practicing thorough Integrative Pest Management Techniques, or IPM. Throughout this guide, we will discuss stink bug behavior and how to get rid of them both in the house and outside the house.
All About Stink Bugs
For the homeowner, stink bug concern is mostly limited to the brown marmorated stink bug. Although there are over 200 species of stink bugs in North America, this particular species enters homes by the thousands. One study conducted in 2012, collected 26,205 live adult brown marmorated stink bugs from a single home in Maryland during a 181-day period. Populations of this pest have both increased in number and expanded in geographic range since then. The BMSB has easily adapted to this mid-Atlantic area and has had a significantly negative impact on the agriculture output of this area.
As part of the effort to minimize the spread of the brown marmorated stink bug, the University of Georgia keeps a map of collections and activity of this pest. At this time, the brown marmorated stink bug has been collected in 47 states, but many of these states only host an occasional BMSB. The brown marmorated stink bug most severely effects the states along the east coast and the west coast. Their range is creeping south and towards the Midwest and it is believed they will continue to plague farmers and homeowners in the years to come.
For purposes of this discussion, we will limit the conversation to the brown marmorated stink bug unless otherwise identified. The other species are in fact devastating to farmers, but their control mechanisms in the fields are quite different than what the homeowner has available to themwould do to protect their home.
Identifying Stink Bugs
Stink bugs of all species are sometimes referred to as shield bugs or soldier bugs, because they are shaped like a shield carried into battle by a knight of medieval times. Stink bugs of many species have this similar shape, but their size and coloring varies. Some stink bugs are blue some are striped, others have a mottled brownish or grey appearance, still others are spotted with red or orange markings. The majority of stink bug species are camouflaged commensurate with their environment, but a few are aggressively bright. Stink bug species range from small, less than 0.25” to the giant strong-nosed stink bug which comes in at about 1” in length. The primary defensive mechanisms that all stink bugs possess is, of course, stink. When threatened or crushed, they release a foul-smelling chemical. This stench may be bearable in the instance of a single stink bug, but hundreds or thousands of stinking insects is a bit much for the senses.
Specifically though, we are interested in the appearance of the brown marmorated stink bug. This invasive creature is one of the larger stink bugs; adult BMSB are approximately ¾” in length. They are mottled brownish in color, appearing to camouflage well amongst tree bark and leaves. BMSB have light colored bands on their antennae and darker colored bands on the overlapping part of their wings. Some describe their coloring as patches of metallic, blueish and copper accents on the head and pronotum. The word marmorated comes from the Latin word marmoratus, meaning to be overlaid with marble, which is an appropriate description of the pattern on the BMSB.
Like all insects, BMSBs have 6 legs and 2 antennae. They showcase the characteristic shield shape of many other stink bug species, with a smooth rather than sharp shoulder. Some people describe the brown marmorated stink bug as triangular in shape. Their bodies are nearly as wide as they are long with their legs extending outward making them appear even larger. Because many species of stink bugs look similar, specifically look for the dark bands along the perimeter of the stink bug’s wings. The presence of these bands will tell you that you are dealing with a stink bug with a propensity for trespass.
All stink bugs have a scent gland on their abdomen underneath their body. When these insects are threatened or crushed, this scent gland releases a foul odor.
Stink Bug Habitat
Most species of stink bugs consume plants, therefore they are most often found amongst agricultural crops and home gardens. The brown marmorated stink bug is most commonly found foraging on foliage and fruit of plants. The BMSB has a broad palette, meaning it eats as many as hundreds of different commercially grown crops. However, it does seem to have a preference for apple, pear, peach, grape, blueberry, soybean, tomato, and corn. BMSB usually attack the fruits on these plants, but may also eat the leaves. Maple and ash trees are also commonly attacked by stink bugs.
Currently, BMSB are concentrated in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States with pockets of establishment on the west coast of the United States. Native to Asia, this stink bug has also been introduced to Europe, Eurasia, and South America. The brown marmorated stink bug is indeed a global concern. In the United States, the BMSB has been collected from 47 states. Because of their need to overwinter in a protected environment, they often “hitch-hike” a ride in cars, campers, cargo containers, and other packages. Despite an occasional collection, the brown marmorated stink bug has not established a reproducing population in every state where it has been found. While this is good news for now, scientists believe it is only a matter of time before the geographic range of the brown marmorated stink bug expands into the majority of the United States.
Efforts to limit the spread of the brown marmorated stink bug are imperative to supporting our farmers and protecting our food supply. World-wide, many ports require shipping containers be heated and or fumigated to kill any stink bugs that may have hitched a ride. Education efforts for farmers and home gardeners have ramped up in an effort to identify and eradicate stink bug infestations early. There are not many pesticides that are effective against this devasting pest, therefore, the Environmental Protection Agency is investing in research for control methods and products.
Great efforts are expended in tracking the expansion of the brown marmorated stink bug. If you live in an areas where the brown marmorated stink bug is not yet established, and you have found a specimen, please tell someone. Your counties local extension office can positively identify the specimen and report the collection to the proper authorities. Your extension agent can also give you guidance on the next advisable steps.
Life Cycle of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Stink bugs differ from a lot of insects in the insect world in that they do not mature through complete metamorphosis, which is egg, larva, pupa, to adult. Stink bugs skip the pupal phase (which is the cocoon for the butterfly) and instead the larva gradually change and grow to adulthood by various instar phases. This incomplete metamorphosis is also called hemimetabolism.
Stink bugs lay their eggs in the summer from May to August. Depending upon weather and climate it may take between 40 – 60 days for a stink bug to mature from an egg to an adult. The female BMSB lays clutches of approximately 28 eggs on the underside of leaves. These eggs are barrel shaped and translucent with a light green or light blue tinge. They are about 1 mm in diameter and as the stink bug inside is developing, they become visible from the outside. Adult stink bugs can generate multiple egg clutches during her lifetime. Stink bugs in some areas generate one generation per year, but in more mild climates, 2 or 3 generations of BMSB are possible.
When the eggs hatch, the immature stink bugs, which are red and black in color and about 2.4 mm in length, emerge. This larval phase is defined by 5 instar periods of growth and change. These immature stink bugs look similar to adult stink bugs, but they molt 5 times during their larval phase. Initially, the nymphs encircle the egg clutch, but after their first molt they disperse and begin feeding on the plants in their immediate surroundings. After each successive molt they look more and more like the adult. For example, after molting their coloring changes, they begin to develop wings, and they develop the characteristic mottled appearance and coloring of the adult stink bugs.
As fall approaches, stink bugs that have successfully survived to become adults get the urge to seek shelter. Stink bugs typically begin their march indoors in October and hide in warm, safe, protected cracks and crevices. It is during this time they raise the ire of homeowners and business owners. The shorter days and cooler temperatures trigger the brown marmorated stink bug to enter a diapause. During diapause, stink bug development pauses and their metabolic processes dramatically slow down. During this period of dormancy, stink bugs do not eat or reproduce. Many homeowners do not even realize they are offering winter harborage to hoards of stink bugs until the stink bugs become active again in the spring. With increased temperatures and daylength of spring, stink bugs emerge from their resting places from inside your home. In their attempt to escape the confines of your home, they can cause much angst and worry. The stink bugs that successfully escape their winter hiding spot, mate, lay eggs, and continue the cycle again for the following season.
Harm Caused by Stink Bugs
Stink bugs cause a range of irritation to many different segments of our society and economy. Depending upon your role, stink bugs affect you differently. In areas with established stink bug populations, many crops are devasted and homes regularly invaded. To some people, stink bugs are a common and minor inconvenience, to others they are devastating to the family farm and their livelihoods. Stink bugs do not pose a direct threat to people, but they are a direct threat to the agriculture industry which feeds the world. At this point, most entomologists agree that eradicating stink bugs from our continent is unlikely, the question is how we can best mitigate and reduce the harm they cause.
Stink Bugs Effect on Human Health
The good news about stink bugs is they do not bite humans. Their mouthparts are designed for sucking plants and are not arranged in a way that can pierce human skin. However, in the fall when they enter homes in droves, other health concerns emerge. Allergic reactions to insects are well documented in the research with dust mites and cockroach infested homes. In these instances, humans are allergic to roach feces, shedding body parts and exoskeletons, and roach saliva. A severe dust mite or roach allergy may trigger asthma attacks or a more mild allergic reaction such as runny nose and sneezing.
Although fewer studies have been conducted regarding allergic reactions to stink bugs, it is suggested that high numbers of stink bugs in the home may cause allergic reactions such as a running or stuffy nose. Just as dust mite and roach particles can be inhaled through the air, the stink bug’s body parts and/or defensive odor may be an aeroallergen for some sensitive individuals causing a winter allergy attack. Dr. Faud Ishmael, an allergist at Penn State Hershey Medical Center is currently studying the link between allergic reactions and the invasion of stink bugs. He said, “We expect stinkbugs are also a significant allergen, given their increasing prevalence in many areas… About half the patients I’ve asked say they have nasal allergy and asthma symptoms when around the bugs.” More formal studies with regards to stink bug allergies are currently in the works, but currently the anecdotal evidence points to a stink bug allergy. Experts are working on extracting distinctive proteins from stink bugs to create an accurate sensitivity screen and possible allergy shot.
Another possible effect of stink bugs on human health is a dermatological one. If the BMSB is crushed against the skin, some people not only experience the noxious odor, but their skin swells in reaction to the bug liquids. Medical journals record instances of a burning sensation after swatting at and crushing a stink bug against the skin. These instances sometimes progress into red swollen legions similar to those caused by blister beetles. The stink bug skin issues were resolved within a few days, sometimes with the use of a corticosteroid other times with no medication at all. Scientists and doctors believe this type of dermatological reaction to stink bugs is exceedingly rare, but as their populations explode and more people are exposed to stink bugs, it may become more commonplace.
Economic Damage from Stink Bugs
The majority of the damage from brown marmorated stink bugs occurs in the areas where they are most highly concentrated such as the mid-Atlantic states and the west coast. Stink bugs feast upon many different kinds of plants and fruit, but have a particular affinity for fruit trees such as peaches, pears, apricots, apples, and grapes. Stink bugs can devastate sweet corn, field corn, and soybean crops, and in the western United States they attack almond and hazelnut trees. Brown marmorated stink bugs attack vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, peppers, and lima beans.
Although they sometimes target the leaves, stink bugs often attack the fruit on these plantings making them unfit for sale. The total economic loss resulting from stink bugs is difficult to calculate, but it is a tremendous number. Stink bugs are not readily apparent in many orchards or in the fields. For example, they feed through the husk of corn sucking the juice from the kernel. To complicate matters, traditional pesticides are not thoroughly effective against stink bugs. This causes farmers to expend extra funds for large amounts of pesticide when a stink bug infestation threatens. Sadly, small organic farms are affected by the stink bug’s emergence as organic farmers use limited pesticides. As the brown marmorated stink bug expands its reach and populations become larger, we can expect crop losses to increase.
Damage to Your Home from Stink Bugs
Stink bugs do not necessarily damage your home like termites or even Asian lady bugs can, but their overwhelming presence and their sheer numbers are vexing to say the least. Stink bugs do not bite, reproduce, eat your home, or transmit diseases, but when disturbed or crushed they leave behind their characteristic odor. Their mere presence is highly disturbing to the entomologically phobic among us. Knowing they are hiding in crevices, bookcases, cupboards, or your basement induces anxiety and a preoccupation with their presence.
The odor associated with stink bugs can permeate your home and leave you feeling occupied and violated. Stink bugs enter by the thousands and are a most unwelcome sight. When people try to sweep, vacuum, or otherwise evict them, they often ends up crushing these stinky insects. Even after the canister or bag is changed on your vacuum, the smell will often remain… a pungent reminder of your stink bug battle. Adding insult to injury, stink bug fecal matter may stain their hiding places within your home. In truth, for homeowners, stink bugs are a serious nuisance, which require diligence and proactive measures to prevent.
Why do Stink Bugs Stink?
Stink bugs are not equipped with biting jaws and teeth, or stingers with which to inject poison into their predator. Think of stink bugs as the skunks of the insect world. Rather than sharp teeth and stingers to defend themselves, stink bugs rely on the natural instinct of most animals to avoid eating something that smells disgusting. It is actually pretty effective, because adult stink bugs have few reliable predators.
Human associations with scent is a personal and unique experience. A particular scent can transplant you to a happy memory or leave you crying at the remembrance that scent conjures up. As expected, stink bugs are described by people in many different ways. Some people suggest when touched or crushed, the stink bug smells like cilantro… sounds delicious if you like guacamole. Others describe stink bug stench as reminiscent of burning tires and others still simply a skunk. However your brain processes and makes sense of stink bug smell, the odor is most likely unwelcome on your curtains, carpets, and flowing from cracks and crevices throughout your home.
Stink bugs are equipped with a special glad on the underside of their abdomen. These glands are filled with a mix of chemicals that combine to produce their unique odiferous offering. When the stink bug feels threatened, it releases this chemical from the gland onto a rough part of its exoskeleton called the evapatorium. The shape and texture of the evapatorium ensures that the liquid chemical quickly evaporates and spreads through the air. The rapid “aerosolization” of the stink bug stench ensures its natural predator, maybe a bird or a bat, quickly drops it and seeks sustenance elsewhere. Stink bugs can leave this aromatic disaster on curtains, carpets, bath rugs, your clothing, and even your hands.
When you take the plunge and bravely pick up a stink bug to toss him outside into the elements, you risk getting sprayed with its noxious potion. Always use a napkin or paper towel as a shield, but often the stink soaks through. Simple washing of hands with soap and water may not extract the odor from your palms. To get the stink bug smell off your clothing, simply launder your clothes. To get the stink bug smell off your hands, more creative methods may be in order. Many people claim that washing your hands with baking soda, which is great for removing odors from everything from your refrigerator to your gym bag and stinky tennis shoes, will do the trick. Allow the baking soda paste to sit on your hands for a minute or two before you rinse it off. If you are out of baking soda, most toothpaste formulations contain baking soda. Some claim that washing your hands with toothpaste will remove the stink bug smell from your hands smelling minty fresh.
Predatory Stink Bugs in Florida
While the brown marmorated stink bug has been found in Florida, as of yet, they have been unable to establish a breeding population. Experts believe that most of the BMSBs that are collected from Florida have hitchhiked in on moving trucks, campers, and other transient conveyances. However, that does not mean that Florida does not have an interesting array of other species of stinkbugs.
Most species of stink bugs are herbivores; they eat gardens and agricultural crops for their nutritional needs. However, a few species of stink bugs are predators, they eat pest insects and other stinkbugs. The Florida predatory stinkbug, Euthyrhynchus floridanus, is considered a beneficial stink bug because it eats many species of bugs, beetles, and caterpillars that damage plants. This stink bug demonstrates the characteristic shield shaped body with dark blue metallic coloring. The Florida predatory stink bug has bright orange/red spots on its back making it a colorful addition to the garden.
Florida predatory stink bugs often aggregate together and hunt with a pack like mentality. Their ability to work cooperatively allows them to take down other insects that are much larger than them individually. When they attack prey, the Florida predatory stink bug uses its mouthparts to pierce the insect and inject a poison which slowly immobilizes the meal. Unfortunately for the immature stink bugs, when food is scarce, the adult Florida predatory stinkbug may turn on the nursery and feed on the little ones. These predatory stinkbugs can notcannot be relied upon to extinguish all insect pests from a home garden or farm, but they play an important role in reducing insect pests in the garden.
Pest Control for Stink Bugs
Pest control for stink bugs requires a multi-level approach. Stink bugs are considered an occasional or fall invader of homes and businesses. Both homeowners and farmers battle these stinky pests but in different ways. The homeowner goal when battling stink bugs is to keep them from coming indoors. This is accomplished by proactively doing most of the pest control work on the outside.
Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a thoughtful and results driven approach to pest control. IPM practices use less pesticide indoors and achieve greater results than the “old” way of spraying the baseboards every month. Nextgen Pest Solutions practices IPM based pest control and uses all of the scientifically backed tools available in the industry. A central tenant of Integrated Pest Management is the importance of sealing and securing your home to keep pests outside. Specifically targeted insecticide use enhances the exclusion progress and further prevents stink bugs from entering your home.
Stink Bugs Pest Control in the House
Optimal stink bug pest control in your home begins long before the legion of stink bugs march into your home in the fall. If you live in an area where stink bugs have become well established, you have probably fought this battle before. If stink bugs made it into your home last year, they will probably make inside again this year unless you proactively put roadblocks in their path. In all honesty, sealing your home from pests is a financial and potentially time-consuming investment, but it will pay dividends in keeping out not only stink bugs but roaches, rodents, and all other species of unwelcome wildlife. Start in the spring and steadily work away at sealing your home until fall. You will have naturally and organically prevented a major pest infestation.
To seal your home against the brown marmorated stink bug, begin with a thorough inspection. Stink bugs can slide under doors, through broken window screens, or any crack or crevice which ultimately leads into your home. Take stock of the available stink bug entry holes and fix the largest most obvious ones first. Use a high-quality silicone caulk and apply it to all entry holes around your home. Pay close attention to the following areas:
- Install door sweeps under doors and seal cracks around the door with caulk.
• Repair or replace damaged window screens and seal any cracks around the window.
- Inspect the area where utilities enter the house. Seal any and all holes surrounding cable lines, telephone lines, and internet providers. There are often many old unused lines and holes which allow critters easy access to your home.
- Secure crawlspace and basement entries.
- Inspect the area under the fascia and siding on your home. Seal any holes located.
- Consider replacing outdoor porch lights with yellow light bulbs. These bulbs are less attractive to stink bugs than white light bulbs and may help to deter them away from your home.
After proper exclusion, stink bugs should not be entering your home by the thousands. If an occasional stink bug manages to slip through your barriers, it is recommended to remove them with a vacuum cleaner or a broom. Be sure to empty the canister or vacuum bag after sucking up stink bugs, because their stink will remain in your vacuum. When stink bugs are located indoors, they are either preparing to enter their dormant state, hibernating through the winter, or trying to escape your home to get outside in the spring. The most expedient control method is to physically remove them at the moment you see them.
It is not generally recommended to spray pesticide indoors for stink bugs, but some stink bug situations may warrant an indoor pesticide application. As a preventative measure, indoor stink bug applications would be far to broad and expose your family to a lot of pesticide. In addition, if thousands of stink bugs die in your attic or a wall void, carpet beetles may find the mass grave and make pests of themselves in other areas of your home. Once inside, stink bugs are best removed physically rather than with pesticides.
Stink Bugs Pest Control Outside
Effective pest control treatments for stink bugs can be made to the outside of your home. When completely sealing your home is impossible, a pesticide application in the fall can help to eliminate stink bugs before they come indoors. By treating your home before the stink bugs march to find safe haven, they will encounter your pest control treatment and die outside your home. The outdoor pest control treatment should focus on areas where stink bugs may be able to gain access to your home such as cable lines, around eaves and soffits, cracks near the foundation, around doors and windows ect. Stink bugs can fit through very small holes or cracks, each of these locations should be treated in accordance with the label on the product you have chosen.
Your pest management professional will know the best product and formulation to apply, but you should know that many insecticides break down quickly in direct sunlight. Therefore, you may have to re-treat every 30 days in order to ensure the formula reaches the stink bugs when they come knocking. By proactively sealing your home as much as possible, and applying a high-quality pesticide outdoors, you can prevent the deluge of stink bugs inside your home in the fall.
Stink Bug Pest Control in the Garden
Stink bugs can be a menace in the garden. They enjoy the same fruits and vegetables that we do. Stink bugs damage tomatoes, peppers, corn, and beans. In many cases they attack the fruit directly making it unfit for human consumption. While natural predators can take care of a minor stink bug problem in the garden, an escalating stink bug population may require your intervention.
If and when you find a harmful stink bug on your plants, go ahead and squish it immediately using an implement of some sort. You’ll be bowled over with the rank odor, but that is one less stink bug to attack your prize tomatoes. When squishing these pests as you find them is not enough, you will have to consider using pesticides. Stink bugs have a waxy covering over their shield like body, therefore are able to withstand many pesticides. Organic gardening products such as neem oil, insecticidal soap, and pyrethrins are a good place to start. Some people have good luck spreading diatomaceous earth throughout the garden. If this natural substance contacts them, it can cause death by a thousand cuts. Any time you think about using pesticides in your garden, consider the effects on pollinators and other beneficial insects. Especially with fruiting and flowering plants, carefully follow the label instructions on the product that you decide to use to fight stink bugs in your garden.
Stink Bugs Pest Control in an RV or Camper
The University of Georgia keeps a map of brown marmorated stink bug sightings. At the time of this writing, the brown marmorated stink bugs have been located in 47 states and 4 Canadian provinces. However, a sighting of the BMSB does not necessarily spell doom for that area. These critters are great hitchhikers and are quite sensitive to climate and day length.
Many people who live up north in the summer and travel down in the RV to warmer areas in the fall. As they pack up their camper in Pennsylvania they may unwittingly bring the brown marmorated stink bug to Florida, Arizona, or Texas. These stink bugs, who were cozily quasi-hibernating, when introduced to the balmy 85 degree weather of a Florida fall, wake up and begin crawling around. When these instances are reported to authorities tracking the spread of the brown marmorated stink bug, this counts as a sighting or collection in the new state.
Thankfully, many of displaced stink bugs have not been able to reproduce and establish themselves in their new environments. However, scientists are keeping a close eye on these instances. Given the high frequency of travel and the importance of agriculture to states like Florida and Texas, an established population of brown marmorated stink bugs could be devastating to these states. Farmers are intensely monitoring their fields and orchards for signs of the brown marmorated stink bug.
Motorhomes, campers, and RVs are a natural hibernation source for stink bugs. It is a rare RV that is completely sealed to prevent their intrusion. They are often vacant for long periods of time, and provide plenty of nooks and crannies where the stink bugs can rest through the winter uninterrupted. Brown marmorated stink bugs in a camper or recreational vehicle can be quite a stinky road show. Things are already tightly packed and cramped inside of a camper, with every crevice needed for human storage. Stink bugs packed away in the cabinets or slide crevices of a camper are likely to get squished. The already small space feels claustrophobic if you have to share it with stink bug stench.
If you have stink bugs in your camper, the most efficient method of control is to vacuum them up as you find them. Especially if you are in an area where stink bugs are not well established, please do not simply dump your vacuum container outside. If you can’t kill them, double bag the contents of your vacuum cleaner sealing the stink bugs inside. Make efforts to seal the camper or motor home. A well-sealed camper will have fewer insects in general; always a plus if you winter in a place like Florida with unnaturally large bugs.
Home Remedies for Stink Bugs
As stated above, insecticides are generally not recommended once stink bugs have gotten inside. Even in the midst of winter, a warm spell can trick them into crawling out from their hiding place thinking that spring has arrived. Even warming up the thermostat may trick these little stinkers out of hiding. But, when weighing your options with natural or home remedies consider any scientific studies on the issue. Many internet home remedies are not tested in a scientific manner and shown to be effective against stink bugs. Trusting your home to these methods may result in additional stink bugs seeking safe harbor within your home.
Stink bug natural remedies flaunted about the internet include rubbing aromatic dryer sheets about your home or near the stink bug entry hole. Essential oils such as peppermint are believed by some to deter stink bugs, but there are no scientific studies to support this. While natural home remedies are wonderful if they are proven to be effective, a fruitless home remedy just allows a stink bug infestation the time and space to escalate. Be cautious with the pungent home remedies you find on the internet; the “cure” may smell worse than the “disease” of stink bugs.
Stink Bug Traps
Traps are favored by individuals looking for natural and pesticide free resolutions to their pest problems. But, some insects are elusive and difficult to coax into a trap. A team of researchers from Virginia Tech College of Agricultural and Life Sciences compared commercially available stink bug traps to a simple trap made with items your may already have at home. When evaluated against other homemade or commercially available trap the clear winner was a turkey pan filled with soapy water and a bright light shining on it. This simple stink bug trap eliminated 14 times more stink bugs during the tested period than other traps. One home reported removing 144 stink bugs in a week using this simple, pesticide free trap, all natural trap. These traps are practical for home use and gives homeowners a sense of pride and accomplishment as they flush out the warmth seeking stink bugs.
Aside from the turkey pan trap discussed above, other simple traps are marketed against stink bugs. Most people are familiar with insect sticky traps often used to monitor for pests in the home. These are not particularly effective against stink bugs because they don’t tend to wander the house at night during their period of diapause. Stink bugs are good fliers and if/when they emerge will not be attracted to these glue card traps. Some people use an empty soda bottle with an LED light on the inside. Because stink bugs are attracted to the light, you will catch some stink bugs in this trap, but the Virginia Tech research shows that it is not as effective as the turkey pan trap.
Biological Control of Stink Bugs
Although not practical for home gardeners, a promising natural resolution to the stink bug problem may lie in biocontrol efforts. In Asia, the samurai wasp is known to heavily attack brown marmorated stink bug eggs. This stingerless wasp is credited with destroying 60-90% of brown marmorated stink bug eggs in Asia. Shortly after the BMSB was introduced to the United States, research began to halt its progression. One of the creative solutions explored was the possibility of using the samurai wasp as biocontrol and these wasps were imported and reared in a laboratory for testing. In 2015, during this time of quarantined testing, the samurai wasp was found in the wild in Maryland. There is no evidence to suggest a “lab leak” of the samurai wasp, but scientists are not sure how it ended up wild in the United States. It has now spread to surrounding states and is approved by the USDA for release in states where it is already found. Research shows the samurai wasp has a strong preference for BMSB eggs with no known threat to native species.
Prevent Stink Bugs with Nextgen Pest Solutions
As the geographic reach of stink bugs continue to expand, homes in the Atlanta area are more and more at risk for these stinky squatters. Here at Nextgen Pest Solutions our pest management professionals are experienced in locating potential stink bug entry holes and helping your to prevent stink bugs from invading. Despite their recent introduction, stink bugs are not going away… but they can be controlled. Contact us today to schedule your stink bug home treatment and prevent thousands of these noxious pests from invading your home this fall.