Stink Bugs: The Very Definition of a Pest
Have you ever been sitting on your couch in your living room and looked up and saw a grayish-brown bug crawling on your wall or ceiling? Did you ask yourself, what the heck is that and where did it come from?
That bug is called a Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (Stink Bugs, for short) and it probably came from inside your walls. Gross, right?
The good news is that Stink Bugs are harmless pests that are only a nuisance in their presence. While they can also emit a foul odor when they are threatened or crushed, they are not dangerous or destructive. Truly, the only risk they pose is to agriculture. Stink Bugs are known to feed on over 100 different varieties of plants and crops and can cause severe damage.
“Where did Stink Bugs come from?”
Stink Bugs are an invasive species native to China, Japan, Korea and other Asian countries. About 20 years ago, a few of these little travelers hitched a ride on a container and went on an adventure to Pennsylvania. By 2010, Stink Bugs were a common crop pest on the East Coast. Now, they are found all over North America and have even made it to Europe and South America.
“Why are they in my house?”, you ask.
As anyone in Wisconsin knows, the winters here are very cold. And just as you and I do not enjoy being cold, neither do bugs. Many cannot survive the winter, but Stink Bugs can, given the right spot to overwinter. So, when the weather starts to cool down, Stink Bugs look for a warm place to hang out. Your house becomes their target.
Stink Bugs are attracted to the warmth of the sun on the sides of your home on those late summer evenings. After they flock to the sides of your house, they sneak into cracks, seams, and tiny holes in your siding, doors, and windows. They end up in the exterior wall voids of your house and they hunker down over the winter. During the winter they just hang out. They don’t breed or really feed on much. They do not destroy wood like other insects (I’m looking at you, Carpenter Ants). They just hibernate.
“But, why are they in my living room?”
The inside of your house is warm, so these overwintering bugs will sometimes sneak out into your homse during the winter. They feel the heat and assume it is spring again and find themselves on your walls, next to your TV, much to your dismay. These surprise visits happen throughout the winter and then increase in the spring as the pests try to leave your home and go back to their spring and summer homes in the plants and fields outside.
Check out our Stink Bug page to learn more.
Best Advice for Stink Bug Control
Once the temperatures start to drop and people begin preparing for the winter months, consider pest proofing your home, both inside and out. Our friends at Pest World came up with this handy list to prevent Stink Bugs and other pests from becoming unwelcome houseguests this fall and the following spring. For those wondering how to get rid of stink bugs, here are 10 simple steps that homeowners can take to keep this smelly pest at bay:
Seal off entry points
For proper stink bug control, spend some time inspecting the outside of your home for easy access points. Pay close attention to areas including around siding and utility pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath the wood fascia or other openings. Seal any cracks and holes that are found using a good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk.
Replace and repair
Stink bugs can enter the home through the smallest openings, so it’s important to repair or replace damaged screens on windows or doors. Don’t forget to check for torn weather-stripping and loose mortar. You can also install door sweeps if necessary.
Turn off the lights
Stink bugs are attracted to lights, so it’s recommended to keep outdoor lighting to a minimum. During the evenings, turn off porch lights and pull down window blinds to prevent light from spilling outside.
Reduce moisture sites
Eliminating all moisture build up around your home can go a long way to help prevent many pest infestations. Check for leaking pipes and clogged drains.
Eliminate food sources
Another method for how to get rid of stink bugs is to remove their access of food. Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles. Also, make sure you wipe down counters and sweep floors to eliminate crumbs and residue from spills.
Properly ventilate basements, attics, garages and crawl spaces to eliminate harborage points. Consider using a dehumidifier in these areas. Also, make sure to install screens over your chimney and attic vents.
Check your belongings
Inspect items such as boxes containing holiday decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors. Stink bugs can travel on these items and make themselves cozy once inside the home.
Keep branches and shrubbery well trimmed. In addition, make sure to store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground
Think before squishing
When many people find a stink bug, their first instinct is to squish them. However, when disturbed or crushed, stink bugs have a tendency to release a bad-smelling, bad-tasting odor from pores on the sides of their bodies. This is how the pest earned its name.
Use a vacuum
How do you get rid of stink bugs once they have already entered your home? Use a vacuum cleaner for their removal. Dispose of the vacuum bag immediately to prevent odor from permeating the area, as dead stink bugs leave a residue inside the bag that can stink up your home.
What To Do If You Have a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Infestation
If you are experiencing a Stink Bug infestation in your home, there is very little you can do aside from physically remove them by vacuuming them up or sweeping them outside. If you want to reduce the infestation for next spring, The Bug Man and Queen Bee can help! We offer a reduction treatment that is applied in the fall and will reduce the amount of Stink Bugs that overwinter in your home.
To learn more about our Stink Bug Reduction Service or to get an estimate for your home, give us a call! You will receive an estimate over the phone and our friendly office staff will put you on the schedule. On the day of your appointment our experts will treat your entire home with extra focus on the sunny sides that they are most attracted to, greatly reducing the number of Stink Bugs overwintering in your home. As a locally owned, family business, we take great pride in meeting, and exceeding, our customers’ expectations. Call or email today for your free estimate!