Get Rid of Stink Bugs

Are stink bugs getting into your house and damaging your garden? Here's how to get rid of them:

Cut Back Overgrown Vegetation

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Stink Bug. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Stink bugs like to lay their eggs in tall weeds and grasses. Eliminate any overgrown areas from your yard to prevent more from hatching.

Remove Brush and Clutter

Wood piles, rocks, leaves and scrap piles provide the perfect shelter for stink bugs to live under during the winter months. Try to clean up as many of these potential stink bug homes as you can, so your yard is less inviting to them. Other problem spots to address:

  • Overgrown ditches and fence lines
  • Compost piles that haven't been turned in a while
  • Fallen trees or limbs

Keep Your Garden Weeded

Need another reason to keep up with your weeding? Then, consider this: when young stink bugs finish eating the weeds, leaves or grasses that they hatched on, they go in search of fruit trees, veggies and ornamental plants to munch on, so don't make it any easier for them to find your garden.

Trim Back Your Foundation Plantings

Step one to keeping stink bugs out of your home: give your foundation plantings a good pruning each fall. Make sure no foliage is touching your house or the ground, so stink bugs aren't attracted to the area. You don't want them to discover what a warm winter hang out your home would make, so do what you can to keep it a secret.

Seal Your Home's Exterior

Make it difficult for stink bugs to gain entry into your home by sealing any cracks and crevices that you can find. Repair damaged window screens; caulk or re-caulk around windows and doors; replace worn weather stripping and rotten boards: and cover all vents and drains with fine mesh screen. Here are some vents and drains that you'll want to be sure to check:

  • HVAC drains/vents
  • Gas vents
  • Dryer vents
  • Kitchen and Bathroom exhaust vents
  • Ridge vents
  • Soffit/attic vents

Window AC units can also serve as an entry point for stink bugs, so be sure to remove them before it starts to get cold.

Eliminate Invaders

Stink bugs don't bite and they won't harm any of your belongings, but they are territorial, so if you want to get rid of them, you'll need to kill them. Sticking them outside may seem like a kind gesture, but they'll just come back if you do.

Killing stink bugs requires a bit of strategy, since they emit a strong odor when they feel threatened. That means squishing them is out, but you still have plenty of other options. If it's just one or two, flush them down the toilet or drop them in some soapy water. If it's a bunch, vacuum them up. Then, dispose of the vacuum bag right away.

Note: Using a bag-less vacuum isn't a good idea, because your vacuum will smell like stink bugs for a long time after.

Play Investigator

If you have stink bugs in your house, pay attention to where you're seeing them. It may provide clues as to how they got in your home in the first place.

And in the mean time, try not to panic. Stink bugs don't reproduce during the winter months, and the problem is only temporary – they'll head back outdoors as soon as it warms up.

A Word About Pesticides

No pesticides have been found to be effective against stink bugs, so don't fall for any claims that say otherwise. This is one problem that you can solve without any cash outlay.