Nobody wants to discover that stink bugs are living in their home. However, those who reside in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeastern United States are likely familiar with these tiny insects. Thankfully, stink bugs don’t act as a health hazard for humans, but they can still be a severe nuisance.
There are ways to make your home less appealing to stink bugs, but once they’re inside, getting rid of them can be tricky. The best option is bringing in a professional pest specialist who can combat these insects and keep them from coming back.
What Are Stink Bugs?
An adult stink bug is an average of ¾ of an inch in length and will be dark green or gray. These insects are distinctive due to the shield shape of their bodies. The antennae of stink bugs have light bands, while the abdomen has darker bands on the outer edge. The glands of the bug are located on the thorax underside between the first two sets of legs.
Most stink bugs reproduce only once a year, but two or three generations can occur annually if spring and summer are warmer than usual. When it’s warm, the female insects will attach their vast numbers of eggs to the underside of stems and leaves to grow before hatching. After hatching, the nymphs are wingless and go through five stages before becoming adults.
Stink bugs tend to be most active in the spring when they live their winter hideouts. They disappear in late fall to get solace from the colder temperatures. Many of these insects move into homes to survive winter. You might notice them affixed on lampshades, curtains, screens, and other household objects.
Why Stink Bugs Spell Trouble
As mentioned, stink bugs aren’t going to be hazardous to you or your family. However, they can be annoying and are best known for causing issues to the agricultural industry. These bugs can cause damage to various crops and plants.
The insects are especially fond of persimmons, apples, green peppers, peaches, tomatoes, figs, corn, mulberries, and citrus fruit. Unfortunately, they also destroy beans, weeds, soybeans, and many types of ornamental plants. In addition, the use of their sucking and piercing mouths damage crops permanently.
For homeowners, the real problem with stink bugs is the scent they release. These pests are slow and have an armored look, but their primary defense is their secretions. When a stink bug is disturbed or handled, it will let out a horrible smelling, bad-tasting fluid from the pores on the side of its body. This is a way to drive predators away from the insects.
Stink bugs often end up in households because they are searching for shelter from snow or rain. You might run across a few, but in many cases, the majority will be hiding out in basements, attics, or other areas you don’t visit regularly.
In spring, the insects will become active again in hopes of finding a mate. Preventing them from coming into a house is a good idea, but only a pest specialist can ensure they are driven from your home so you can enjoy it without their presence.
Keeping Stink Bugs Out of Your Home
If you don’t have stink bugs inside, you likely want to keep it that way. However, several prevention options are available that can be used in tandem with a pest specialist to keep them away.
- Seal entrances – Inspect your home for access points and seal the holes and cracks using silicon or silicone-latex caulk. Some places to look include near pipes, by chimneys, and at pieces of siding.
- Replace damaged screens – Stink bugs are small and can get in tiny openings so make sure to repair or replace window screens when they are damaged. Also, install door sweeps, check for loose mortar, and look for broken weatherstripping.
- Keep the lights off – Like many insects, stink bugs are attracted to light. Turning off outdoor lights can make them less interested in your home. Shut off the porch lights and close the blinds to cut down on nearby activity.
- Reduce moisture – If there are areas of moisture near the home, that can also bring in insects. Look for clogged drains and leaking pipes and take care of them immediately.
- Eliminate access to food – Leaving crumbs of food around the house can bring in stink bugs. Store your food in containers and toss the trash regularly. Wipe counters and sweep the floor to keep bugs out.
- Add ventilation – Make sure your attics, basements, crawl spaces, and garages have proper ventilation. A dehumidifier should also be used in these locations. Adding screens to attic and chimney vents can also help.
- Do landscaping – Keep all your shrubs and branches trimmed back. It’s also essential to keep firewood 20 feet or more away from the home. Elevate it so it isn’t on the ground and is less likely to attract insects.
- Use a vacuum – Squishing a stink bug is a bad plan since it will cause them to emit a horrible smell. Instead, use a vacuum to pick them up if you see them. Make sure to dispose of the bag immediately since residue can be left that makes your house smell bad.
How Pest Specialists Can Help Fight Stink Bugs
When you work with a pest specialist, you get the knowledge and experience that only an expert offers. The professional can help you manage a stink bug infestation or assist with other insects in your home. Your specialist will inspect the home and come up with the best possible solution for your specific situation.
A pest specialist can visit in early fall to spray your home and make it less likely that stink bugs will come inside. If the bugs are inside, the professional can take a look and determine the best plan of action for your home.
Find a Pest Pro makes it easy to find professional pest specialists in your area to deal with stink bugs. All you need to do is visit the website, input your zip code, and receive a free quote. Each of the recommended specialists is a trusted expert who can take care of insects quickly and efficiently.
Click here to read our past blog, 5 Reasons To Reach Out to a Silverfish Pest Control Specialist