How Can I Control Stink Bugs in Winter?

It’s that time of year again when the temperature drops and overwintering pests are on the look-out for a warm place to pass the winter. Unfortunately, that could mean you hosting some pungent unwanted house guests.

The brown marmorated stink bug maybe a little insect, but once they find their way inside, they can become a big nuisance. But what exactly are these little pests?

Here’s a little info on stink bugs and how you can keep them under control this winter.

how to get rid of stinkbugs

What Are Stink Bugs?

The brown marmorated stink bug is a small insect typically found in gardens, fields, or around homes. An invasive species, these pests are native to Asia but were brought here mistakenly in the mid-1990s.

They are identified by the piercing, sucking mouthparts, and though this sounds scary, they do not bite. Straight antennae with little light brown bands, and dark bands on their wings. They are shield-shaped, and as their name suggests, brown in color.

On average, stink bugs are about 12-14mm long, and they are known to be pretty good flyers. While the sound of them buzzing around your head may be worrisome, they will not sting you.

Before they hit maturity, their earlier form is known as a nymph. Unlike the brown color of the adult, the immature nymphs are yellow and red with red eyes. As they mature, the yellow tapers off to white. The defining feature of this insect is the scent they release when deterring predators. While they may seem non-threatening, they can cause some pretty big problems for such little bugs.

Why Are They A Problem?

While one or two stink bugs may not be a problem, when left unchecked, stink bugs can lay between 20-30 eggs. As an overwinter bug, they seek shelter for the winter, those eggs could be laid in your home. While they are generally more of a nuisance, the smell is a major factor.

When they aren’t cluttering up a home, stink bugs can do major damage to crops. These insects feed on plants, and they will attack just about anything. If you have a large infestation, you can bet there will be damage to your inside plants and your outside garden.

Luckily, it’s very easy to tell if you have an infestation. Often, you will spot living or dead bugs in your home. Also, they like to turn up on warm or sunny spots in your home, like a window.

How Do You Get Rid Of Them?

As stated previously, stink bugs are more of a nuisance than harmful. They won’t sting or bite you. They aren’t poisonous nor venomous, and they won’t harm or cause structural damage to your home. However, that doesn’t mean you want to let them fly wild in your house. If you have discovered a stink bug invasion on your property, here are a few tips to get them under control.

1. Seal All Possible Entryways.

The best way to stop an invasion is preventive treatment. Keep those little pests from getting inside. Check all your vents and openings in your home and seal them off with netting. Check the foundation of your home and seal any cracks. If there are any holes or easy access areas, you can close them up with caulking.

2. Perform Yearly Maintenance.

Winterize your home and perform yearly maintenance. Stink bugs can easily sneak through small openings, so be sure to monitor your home’s entryways – windows and doors. Check the screens on your windows and doors and make repairs where necessary.

stink bug eggs

3. Keep Garden Trim.

Stink bugs feed off fruit, vegetation, and crops. They also love to hide away in deep overgrowth and wooded areas. To keep them away from your home, keep your grass cut and your yard weeded. Try to reduce the amount of overgrowth on your property. Additionally, if you have logs or lumber laying around your yard, make sure you keep it away from your house.

4. Vacuum!

If you do find some of these pests inside, an easy way to get rid of them is by vacuuming them up. Suck them up and dispose of the bag outside. You can also dump the back into a bucket of soapy water if you want to be sure they don’t come back. The best part about this method? No odor!

5. Encourage Natural Enemies.

If stink bugs are a problem in your yard, rather than your home, a good way to deter them is by welcoming their natural enemies. You can encourage birds or other natural predators to visit your property.

6. Place Traps.

Another easy way to dispose of stink bugs is to set traps. Leave out decoy plants, like sunflowers or okra; stink bugs are drawn to these plants and you can easily remove the plant once they’ve found their way too it. You can also catch them using wet towels. Stink bugs are drawn to moisture. Once you’ve got them, you can easily toss the towels or dunk them in hot soapy water.

7. Turn of Outside Lights.

Like a lot of other insects, stink bugs are drawn to the warmth and light of a porch light. If you want to keep these pests away, consider changing the type of bulb, or keeping the light off when not in use.

stink bugs don't bite but have a smell

8. Reduce Moisture.

Stink bugs love areas with plenty of moisture. If you have leaky pipes, clogged rain gutters, or a damp basement, these pests may flock to you. Tend to the pipes, vent out any dark, damp areas in your home, and consider using a dehumidifier during the winter months.

9. Your Own Worst Enemy.

Believe it or not, you may be the one bringing in the stink bugs. Stink bugs can hide away on anything from outdoor decorations to grocery bags. They are light, so it’s hard to notice one is there until they’ve made their way inside. Double-check anything you bring into the house, including yourself, if you want these pests to stay outside.

Concluding Thoughts.

Stink bugs may not be threatening, but they can still be a major problem, especially if you have a large infestation on your hands. If your stink bug issue more than you can handle, consider consulting one of our pest control professionals. Remember, prevention is your best weapon against overwintering pests. Protect your home and keep stink bugs out for good.