Don't let them stink up your home!

How to Prevent a Stink Bug Infestation

by Glenn Mitcham

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You come across a small shield-shaped bug in your home, and you have to decide whether to gently release it back into the wild or end its existence right then and there. If you're like most people and choose the latter, an overwhelming wave of putrid stench invades your senses. You see the squashed remains, you smell the aftermath, and you quickly realize that you've crossed paths with the stink bug.

When these pungent nuisances decide to invade, it costs a pretty penny for a thorough professional extermination. In order to save some time and money, learn how to best avoid an infestation from getting to the point of no return.

Where You Live Matters

Stink bugs have proven to be a huge problem on the eastern side of the United States. If you live (or plan to live) in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland or Delaware, you have a very high chance of encountering a stink bug problem. The states surrounding this problem area including New York, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Rhode Island are also hot spots for stink bugs. Try not to panic! There are ways to manage and prevent these stinkers from overrunning your life and wallet. Let's start by understanding what stink bugs are all about.

Know the Enemy

Stink bugs come in a variety of sizes and colors and they can all be distinguished by having a shield-shaped body. Look for creatures that are fat and flat with wings, legs, and long antennae.

There are a few different species of stink bugs and they will typically be some variation of brown or green and can grow up to an inch in length as adults. One species worth knowing about is the Brown Marmorated since they have successfully invaded nearly twenty states. These guys are speckled brown and gray with a white stripe on the antennae and black/white stripes on the body towards the hind legs.

Start Looking

Now that you know what the nemeses looks like, you can begin searching for their evil lair. However, if you begin the hunt during winter, this task may prove to be quite difficult since stink bugs hide inside your walls, attics, and crawlspaces. Don't lose hope! You might get lucky and catch a stray stink bug out in the open urgently searching for warmth. The trick is to keep your eyes alert at all times. If you happen to discover a severe infestation beyond any form of DIY control, call a pest control professional for assistance.

Spring is the prime season for stink bug spotting since they're emerging from the depths of your home to bask in the sunshine outdoors. These nuisances typically hang out on the outside of your house or windows to eventually feast on gardens and crops. They especially love abolishing berry patches, corn fields, and apple/peach orchards, so if you live near one of these areas, keep an extra eye out for possible invasions.

Do-It-Yourself Control

When you catch stink bugs invading your home in the early stages, there are things you can to do to exterminate them without professional help to save money. Start by using a Shop-Vac® to suck them up or apply a stink bug aerosol spray to kill them on contact. If you do choose a vacuum, beware that it will stink to high heaven for a few weeks afterwards. Once the infestation clears up, it's time to take steps to prevent a second attack.

Holes and cracks in your home create perfect entry points for stink bugs, so seal them up! Start by inspecting doors and windows and close up problem areas with the proper caulking. Fix torn screens, weather stripping, and any crevices in the home's foundation or attic. After you ensure that all cracks are accounted for, use a perimeter spray around the entire house to scare them away when they try to come back!

Glenn Mitcham is an avid Do-It-Yourself bug wrangler and insect enthusiast. He works with TERRO® to develop in-depth blogs to share his hard-earned wisdom that he gained over the years by helping people repel pest invasions.

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