Indoor stink bug control
As seasonal temperatures become cooler, stink bugs begin to infest homes all around the world. Unlike many other insects, these pests do not bite, raid the kitchen or destroy clothing. They are merely seeking shelter for the winter. Although they are not harmful, they can become a huge problem for home owners. Stink bugs release a horrible odor when threatened or killed. This stench is very difficult to eliminate and can haunt home owners for weeks. It is important that you learn how to get rid of stink bugs to save yourself from this smelly mess. This is a project you can do quickly, naturally and without an exterminator. I will show you a couple of fantastic home remedies that will keep them away from your house for good.
Outdoor stink bug control
Getting rid of stink bugs outside of your house is just as important. Every year, these insects cause millions of dollars of damage in agricultural areas. They ruin fruits, vegetables and vegetation by piercing them with their mouth parts. They are also capable of transmitting plant diseases. A small infestation in your garden can kill every tomato, fruit and vegetable you are trying to grow. Stink bugs are not picky eaters either. They will feast on almost any plant that is in your yard.
Signs of a Stink Bug Infestation
Homeowners will begin to detect stink bugs in late September or early October when the temperatures begin to cool. They flock to the south facing side of homes searching for warmth. They usually remain hidden for the winter in our walls, attic or crawl spaces. They will emerge from time to time on warm winter days and creep into other areas of the house. Finally, when the temperatures begin to warm again, these pests invade our living areas searching for plants to eat. If it is too late to prevent an infestation, check out the steps below to learn how to get rid of stink bugs naturally.
Did you know?
According to National Geographic, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is native to Asia. They were not introduced to North American until the late 1990’s. They are now found in over 35 states across the country.
Stink Bugs in Your House
Harsh chemicals always come with unintended consequences. You DO NOT need to use harmful insecticides to get rid of stink bugs. Neem oil is a safe, natural and highly effective solution. It is very popular among organic gardeners. They use it as a front-line defense to repel stink bugs, aphids and other pests from gardens.Unfortunately, outside of that community, not many people have ever heard of it. This simple home remedy can also keep them away from your house!
What you will need:
· 100% natural (undiluted) neem oil
· Spray bottle
Warning: There are a products on the market that advertise “neem oil” on their labels. However, if you inspect the ingredients, you will find that 70-99% of the contents are something other than neem oil. There are 2 downsides to using these products. First, we don’t know what the other ingredients are because companies want to keep them a secret. Are they harmful to humans, pets or plants? I like to know what I am applying to my living spaces. Second, you are paying good money for a lot of water. You can buy 100% neem oil and mix your own solution. This will last you season after season and save you a lot of cash in the long run. In addition to getting rid of stink bugs, this home remedy is also very effective for other pest control problems. Here is the neem oil that I keep in stock at the Marshal household:
Using Neem Oil for Pest Control
- Mix 32 ounces of warm water with 2 tsp of neem oil into a spray bottle. You can proportionately increase or decrease the amounts depending on the size of the area to be treated.
- For outdoor control, spray plants and other vegetation where stink bugs tend to gather
- For indoor prevention and control, spray the following areas from the outside of your home:
- Window sills
- Crawl space access
- Any other areas that insects may be able to gain access into your house
*Tip: If there is a particular area that is attracting a lot of stink bugs, I like to apply a few swipes of neem oil concentrate with a cotton swab around the infested area.
How to Eliminate Stink Bugs that are Already Inside of your HomeYou are also going to need a game plan for the critters that invaded your home before you applied the neem oil. Stink bugs will remain hidden while the temperatures are cold. Their favorite areas include the inside of walls, attics and crawl spaces. They will occasionally invade your living spaces during warm winter days. However, you will see most of them in the fall as temperatures cool or in the spring when temperatures warm up.
I DO NOT recommend that you apply neem oil or any insecticides indoors to control stink bugs. While it is possible to repel and kill them, their carcasses will release a foul odor. This will attract other insects that may cause damage to your home.
Your best option is to leave them alone until they resurface in the spring. They do not eat or reproduce while they are in your house. They are simply waiting out the cold weather. You can take solace knowing that this is the last time they will ever have the pleasure of being in your home! I listed a few options below for getting rid of stink bugs while they are active in the spring and fall. You can also use these solutions if you can physically locate them in the winter months.
- Never touch a stink bug directly.
- Catch them without harming them. This is not difficult because they move slowly.
- Gently guide them into an empty container.
- Flush them down the toilet
Tip* I have heard that it is beneficial to squish a few stink bugs around the perimeter of your home (outside). It apparently helps to repel the rest of them from that area.
Using a vacuum cleaner:
Using a vacuum to suck them up is a preferred option for squeamish home owners. However, I DO NOT recommend that you use your household vacuum to get rid of stink bugs. If you would rather use a vacuum to remove them from your home, here are a few guidelines that you should follow:
- Many homeowners in heavily infested areas will keep a dedicated wet/dry vacuum cleaner just for getting rid of stink bugs. I listed a two affordable options below. We don’t need anything fancy here. You just want something that is portable and easy to empty.
- Never use your regular house hold vacuum to kill stink bugs. The vacuum will stink.
- Always empty the contents outdoors immediately after vacuuming bugs.
Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum (under $20 dollars)
Black & Decker Cordless Handheld Vacuum (under $30 dollars)
How to “Bug Proof” your HomeYou can also perform a few simple tasks to “bug-proof” your home. This will help you to beat the fall insect invasion and prevent stink bugs from spending the winter months in your house. It is also effective for preventing spiders, mice, boxelder bugs, flies and every other pest you can imagine.
Here is a do-it-yourself bug proof kit that I put together. It contains inexpensive items such as caulk, expanding foam, a screen repair patch kit and everything else you will need to complete the steps below.
Arm yourself with a flashlight and a mirror. Examine every square foot of the exterior of your home. The key areas to inspect include wall penetrations, doors and windows, the foundation, dryer vents, exhaust fans and roof vents. Take your time and try to find all vulnerable areas. Some insects only need a gap of 1/8 of an inch to infest your house. Here is a check list to help you with this task:
- Inspect all screens for damage. This includes windows, doors, roof and soffit vents and exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom. Use a screen repair patch kit to fix any damage.
- Use caulk or expanding foam to seal areas where items penetrate your home’s exterior such as pipes, vents and utility wires.
- Examine dryer vents. Check the seal between the vent and wall. Also inspect the damper to make sure it is not stuck open. Also check that the seal between the vent and the wall is tight.
- Use caulk to seal openings along siding seams, doors, skylights and windows.
- Use caulk to fill gaps between trim and siding.
- Fill large soffit gaps with expandable foam
- Install or replace door sweeps and weather stripping for exterior doors.
- Replace the rubber seal on the bottom of your garage doors.
- Never seal weep holes at the bottom of stone veneer walls. You can fill these gaps with ventilation plugs instead.
Here is the link to a list of supplies you will need to keep bugs out of your home for good.
Additional Tips for Stink Bug Prevention
Here are additional tips tested by homeowners and entomologists that are effective for getting rid of stink bugs:
- Weed Control – Stink bugs, like most other insects, are attracted by weeds. Eliminating weeds in your yard and garden will make your house less appealing to stink bugs and other pests.
- Natural stink bug repellent – You can squash a few stink bugs around the exterior of your home to warn other stink bugs to stay away. The odor will be very strong so never do this indoors.
- Stink bug trap – Hang a wet towel outside as the sun sets for the day. The following morning you should have a nice collection of bugs. Kill them by dunking the entire towel into a bucket of soapy water.
Congratulations, you are now a certified expert in getting rid of stink bugs! If you found any of this information to be useful, please do me a HUGE favor and share this page on your favorite social network. Your support allows me to continue doing what I love and providing free information to help people solve their pest control problems. Thanks!
Here is the YouTube video I made about using neem oil for controlling stink bugs.