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Stink bugs, i.e., insects that release a foul-smelling odor, are a menace to many homeowners. The bugs tend to invade homes as the weather cools throughout fall and winter. Getting rid of the pests already in the home requires diligent vacuuming and using light traps. The key, however, is to stop the bugs before they even enter the home. Doing so requires sealing entry points, spraying the house’s exterior, and making adjustments so the bugs are not attracted to the home.
Once stink bugs are inside, owners must work quickly to ensure that the pungent aroma does not permeate the entire house. When a bug is spotted, never squish or swat at it. This will cause the bug to act in self defense and release its odor. Instead, approach the bug with a vacuum hose in hand; quickly turn on the vacuum and suck up the pest. Consider using an outdoor vacuum because the bug will likely release its stink inside the machine.
For large infestations, go on patrol throughout the house at least once per day with the vacuum. Start in the basement, where the bugs are more likely to enter. Do not worry about finding eggs; stink bugs do not reproduce indoors.
Homeowners also should consider installing light traps in the basement or any area they notice a concentration of stink bugs. The bugs are attracted to light and will congregate around the trap. This makes vacuuming them up easier, and could prevent them from spreading to the rest of the home.
The real battle with stink bugs comes from preventing them from entering the home at all. Spray an exterior insecticide around the structure’s perimeter to kill the bugs. In areas with bad infestations, do this approximately once a week to prevent the spray from breaking down in the elements. Use the insecticide throughout summer and into fall for the best results.
Homeowners also must seal up any holes and cracks that the stink bugs can use to gain entry. Even small cracks can allow the insects through. Use a sealing agent, such as silicone caulking, to plug the openings. Also check screens for holes. Attracted to the interior lighting, a stink bug will crawl through screen holes at night.
Finally, make adjustments outside, if possible. Stink bugs feed off of vegetable plants, especially tomatoes. Move gardens away from the house or cut back the plants so no part of the vegetation is touching the home. The bugs normally congregate on the southern side of a home; if possible, keep that wall a darker color and remove any nearby vegetation including compost piles.
I went through my unfinished basement and vacuumed up hundreds of dead stink bugs on the floor. I then unfortunately began looking behind the pink insulation and found thousands of live stink bugs behind the insulation. It was a disgusting job but I vacuumed them all up, making a huge stink and now am throwing the vacuum away. Gross!
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