If it’s already spring and you’ve got a stink bug infestation, you don’t have to wait until next winter to do something about it.
How to Kill Stink Bugs
Unfortunately, traditional pesticides are not very effective when it comes to eliminating stink bugs once they get inside. Here are some better ways to kill off this pest.
Use a Bagged Vacuum
Perhaps the easiest way of getting rid of an infestation is by using your vacuum cleaner, particularly if it has a handheld hose attachment. Simply suck the bugs up, remove the bag, seal it carefully, and dispose of it well away from your home.
A few words of caution about this method: because stink bugs will release noxious odors when disturbed, you want to use a vacuum with a disposable bag. Otherwise, your bagless vacuum will reek of stink bugs. Additionally, though the vacuuming process may kill some stink bugs, others will survive, so dispose of the bag quickly.
Create Stink Bug Traps
Though they are not drawn to chemical bait, stink bugs are attracted to UV light. You can make your own light trap by filling a large pan with soapy water and putting it underneath a lamp or night-light. The stink bugs will flock to the light and fall into the water, where the soap will break the surface tension and cause them to drown.
Kill Stragglers Carefully
You can, in fact, squish the occasional stink bug by hand, but do it carefully. Use a paper towel or toilet paper to catch the smelly liquid and flush the whole thing quickly afterward. Also, wash your hands to avoid getting the liquid in your nose or eyes. It’s not likely to make you sick, but it can be very irritating.
You can also take advantage of the fact that stink bugs like to crawl in high places and, when threatened, tend to drop straight down. Using the same principle as the light trap, you can carry around an open container of soapy water and use a pencil or popsicle stick to knock the bugs off of household surfaces and into the water. However, you need to do this quickly so they don’t have time to release their odor.
How to Keep Stink Bugs Out
Once you’ve knocked out the spring infestation, don’t let in a new crop of stink bugs next season. Your first task should be sealing up any points of entry, paying special attention to chimneys, attics, crawlspaces, pipes, and the trim around doors and windows. Seal any cracks or crevices with caulk and patch any holes in window or door screens and install screens in vents if you don’t already have them.
Keep in mind that stink bugs are strongly attracted to light, so minimize the number of outside lights you keep on, particularly in the fall when stink bugs will start to seek shelter indoors. If you need to have lights on, consider investing in a bug zapper and placing it nearby. This should kill stink bugs instantly, before they have a chance to spray.
You can also make a light and water trap on a porch or patio to kill some of the insects before they have a chance to get in.
The Internet is full of suggestions for “natural” stink bug repellents to apply on and around your doors and windows. Some of these include rubbing a dryer sheet on window screens and sprinkling diatomaceous earth along window sills and doorways. You can also mix garlic powder or peppermint oil with water in a spray bottle and apply it anywhere you think stink bugs can enter your home. However, there’s little information on the effectiveness of these repellents.