It's almost stink bug season. As winter comes to an end, stink bugs are making their move. After a much needed winter hibernation, stink bugs are becoming quite active again in March and April, so you should expect to see them everywhere.
These not-so-cuddly creatures mean us no harm, but can be a nuisance in your home. This blog will take you through some of the best and worst ways to handle these stinky pests.
What Kind of Bug Are We Dealing with?
There are around 60 species of stink bugs in Georgia. The most common found in our area is the brown marmorated stink bug, known for the brown marbling pattern on its back.
Why Do They Stink When I Squash Them?
The stink bug has a gland in its thorax that produces a liquid with an unpleasant smell. Whenever a stink bug feels threatened it can release this liquid as a defense mechanism. Proper disposal of stink bugs will keep your house bug free and your nose stink free.
What's the Best Way to Get Them Out of My House?
Are stink bugs always hanging out, but never paying rent? They've got to go! It might seem cruel to kill them when they pose no threat whatsoever, but if they got in once they will get in again, so putting them back outside is not enough.
The method of removal depends on how many stink bugs you have in your house. If you only have a few stink bugs the best strategy would be to just gently scoop up the stink bug with a piece of paper, or toilet paper, and flush it down the toilet. This will not threaten the stink bug so it will not release its foul odor, but will remove it from your house permanently. However if you have a more serious problem, flushing the toilet so frequently can waste a lot of water. Try this DIY trick: Creating a stink bug cemetery.
Should I Vacuum Them?
Sounds easy and convenient right? Wrong! Vacuuming multiple stink bugs up at once might sound like a good idea, but it can really be more trouble than it's worth. Even dead stink bugs will still stink up your home with the residue they leave inside your vacuum and on any parts or attachments they encounter while being sucked up. If you do vacuum them up, put the vacuum bag in a plastic bag and dispose of it far from your home.
It might be a good idea to spray some air freshener around the house and into the vacuum as well, to mask any leftover odor. If you are set on the idea of using a vacuum, consider getting a small hand-held vacuum specifically for stink bugs.
How Can I Prevent Them from Coming in My House?
Proper upkeep of your home is key to avoiding a stink bug infestation. Here are a few simple steps to blocking out these bothersome beetles:
Tighten Up - Seal your house properly. Stink bugs can sneak in through small cracks and crevices in your house, so make sure your house is properly protected. Put weather stripping around your windows and doors, and use silicone caulk around window sills and siding.
Remove Rot - Stink bugs love rotted wood. Check your wooden window frames, exterior doors, decks, roof, and interior spaces like your floors around your water heater, washing machine, dishwasher, toilet, tub, and sink.
Cover Up - Install screens over your chimney and attic vents. Stink bugs tend to make their way towards the attic once inside. Fix holes in your window screens and make sure there are no gaps between your window and the screen.
Welcome Darkness - Stink bugs are attracted to light. Turn your outdoor and indoor lights off when you are not using them, which will save you money on energy anyway! Pull down the window shades and blinds to keep the light from showing outside and attracting stink bugs to your window.
Hose Down - Stink bugs hate water. If you notice stink bugs crawling on your window try to spray them with a water and soap mixture. It won't kill them but it will give them quite a shock and send them flying! Stink bugs tend to gather on the side of homes, so if you notice this it could be a good idea to hose them down and scoop them into a container of soapy water.
When All Else Fails
If the stink bugs are persistent on moving in, it's time to call for backup. Let the professionals take care of it.