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How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

Stink Bugs are equipped with specialized glands on their underside capable of producing a foul odor, emitted through tiny slits. They belong to the order Hempitera, which means half wing. That’s because the back half of the stink bugs forewings are composed of a translucent membranous material. The hind wings or pair closest to the back is entirely translucent. They are generally categorized into 2 subspecies, the Green Stink Bug (also known as the green soldier bug) and the brown stink bug (marmorated stink bug). Both are found all over the United States, the brown stink bug proving to be far more of a nuisance. Others refer to stink bugs as shield bugs, their body shape resembling the shape of a shield, extending approximately ¾ inches in size. Brown stink bugs are capable of flight and sightings are most prominent in the transition from summer to winter (between September and December), especially in the north around Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and neighboring states.

Getting Rid of Stink Bugs

Brown stink bugs release a foul odor when threatened that smells like rotting garbage and pine. This odor is also used to attract potential mates. They feed on plant juices and are notable in agricultural areas for the damage they inflict on crops. Some species even feed on beetles and caterpillars. They are also known as an overwintering pest, readily entering structures when temperatures dip too low. They lay eggs in piles of leaves, heaps of garbage, or the underside of plants. The eggs are often compared to the cells of a honeycomb or tiny spined barrels. Brown stink bugs often go unseen due their ability to blend in with their surroundings, appearing the same colors as the leaves and tree bark upon which they rest. Most species have relatively long antennae.

Natural Stink Bug Control

Any product containing the active ingredient Carbaryl should be sufficient for use on plants. It is made from a specialized ingredient found naturally in tree sap and very effective. It can be found at most home appliance stores and recommended if a homeowner is faced with spraying edible plants. Damage to plants will appear as a diamond shaped or circular holes in the leaves. The areas immediately surrounding these holes will brown in color as they dehydrate. If the stink bugs are left untreated, they will exhaust the plants resources until it dies. Plants are often able to revive themselves, but extra attention and water is recommended following a swarm of brown stink bugs. Use the appropriate plant food may also be necessary to rehabilitate the plants back to standard health. Any weeds in the lawn should be pulled and displaced, as they are capable of housing many tiny yellow eggs.

Professional Stink Bug Treatment

On occasion, a homeowner may find many brown stink bugs inside the home. This is more common as temperatures drop below 70 degrees around autumn. It's preferable to vacuum them up with a hose attachment or spray them with a non-staining insecticide then it is to crush them, due to the malodorous glands on the bottom of their abdomen. Stinkbugs that are higher up can be swept off the ceiling using a broom so as they are not crushed. Be prepared as they will release a tiny amount of odor, but it won’t last very long. Also be sure to check around windows and curtains indoors. Insecticides labeled for exterior use can be used around doors and windows to limit points of entry. Brown marmorated stink bugs are attracted to light, so ensuring treatment around light fixtures is also recommended. Suspend SC, a safe commercial pesticide, has also been shown to be very effective when applied around points of entry. As always, exclusion is the best practice when it comes to a bug free home. Make sure all windows are properly screened and sealed, including any doors. The room that you have the most in is likely the point of entry – once inside, they will not be able to survive. The nutrients their bodies require are in the plants around your home and within a week’s time they will disappear on their own. In the absence of insecticides, many homeowners will spray a combination of soap and water around windows and door frames. Washing the side of the home using soap and spray attachments has also been reported as an effective means of their control, as they are often reported in high numbers, resting on the sunnier side of the house for warmth.

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