What You Need to Know About Stink Bugs

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Stink Bug on a green leaf

Shutterstock/ Nenad Nedomacki

When the weather starts to warm up, strange bugs that resemble beetles creep their way around our homes and gardens. They are either brown or green in colour and assault you with a foul odour when threatened. People immediately recognise them as stink bugs.

If you find the little flying buggers around and inside your house, we suggest you quickly take action, because they are one of the most unpleasant bugs to get rid of. And before they stink up the place.


red stink bug icon What is a Stink Bug? red stink bug icon


Commonly called stink bugs, or shield bugs, they are oval shaped insects that are green or brown in colour, although there are some brightly coloured varieties. Depending on the breed of the stink bug, they can reach up to 2 cm in length. Shield bugs are flying insects. When landed they fold their wings over their backs, much like beetles and cockroaches.

Stink bugs begin their lives as nymphs, which vary in colour. While growing up they change markings several times from black and yellow, all the way to their common green and brown colours.

Stink bugs are a potential household pest. They are more active during warmer months, so you may have your home invaded in late summer or early fall, and not know about it till the beginning of spring. When stink bugs are inside a home, they won’t feed or reproduce. They will spend the colder months in the walls of your house and activate once the weather starts to warm up.


Why Stink Bugs Smell so Bad?

Of course, a bug with this name has to live to it. And it does! If you’ve never smelled a stink bug reek, then imagine the insect equivalent of a skunk.

They emit a musky odour, which when discharged will haunt a room for hours. If by chance stink bug secretion comes in contact with human skin, you will need to repeatedly wash your hands and scrub vigorously until the smell comes off.

Shield bugs use the smell to protect themselves from predators. The nasty odour is produced by glands in their body. Stink bugs will emit the odour when they feel threatened or when injured or killed. That’s why we suggest you don’t hit it with your slipper!  

Different species emit distinctive smells, People often describe stink bug smell like strong herbs such as coriander or cilantro.


Do Stink Bugs Bite?

Rest easy – shield bugs do not bite. The structure of their mouth is classified as piercing and sucking. However, stink bugs do not feed with blood, like bed bugs and mosquitoes.

Stink bugs mouths aren’t made to pierce through human skin, so homeowners with shield bug infestation should only worry about the awful smell and possibly their garden, depending on the specific variety of stink bug.


Magnet attracting shield bugs What Attracts Stink Bugs? Magnet attracting shield bugs


Stink bugs are insects that commonly find their way into homes during late summer or early fall. When the temperatures start to drop, they will search for a place to stay warm and protected.
Warm attracts them, so shield bugs will stay inside the walls of a home and will spend Autumn and Winter months there.

They won’t damage your home. Stink bugs are nuisance creatures that cannot do any damage to the structure of your house/apartment.

Homeowners typically notice stink bugs when the weather starts to warm up. Usually bugs will want to leave the walls of your house once Summer comes, however, they commonly get inside your home. Then we start to notice them and try to find a way to get rid of them.


What Do Stink Bugs Eat?

Most shield bugs feed on plants and greenery. In the early stages, stink bugs feed with grass and different weeds. When the bug grows up, it starts to feed on crops. However, they have perfectly adapted to live in cities.

Stink bugs feed on crops such as cotton and sorghum. When living in the city, stink bugs feed on apples, berries, peaches, peppers and berries by sucking out the juice of the fruit.

When the bugs pierce the skin of fruits, they insert chemicals which ruin them and make them unfit for sale. Stink bugs leave holes in the fruit, which leaves them open for other insects to enter.

Stink bugs are disease carriers for plants. Because of this, they can be a huge problem to farms and gardens.

In residential areas, stink bugs will feed on ornamental plants, which will suffer and can get infected.


Pesticide to kill stink bugs How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs? Pesticide to kill stink bugs


Although they won’t smell if they aren’t hit or threatened, living with stink bugs isn’t pleasant. Getting rid of them for good can be very difficult.

Using a vacuum cleaner isn’t always the best decision as the smell can linger in the vacuum cleaner for days!

The best way to control stink bugs is prevention. Whenever you see a stink bug in your home you can try to help it get out of your home by opening windows close to the bug.


Natural Remedies for Stink Bugs

There are natural remedies that can help with repelling stink bugs. You can use them in late Summer or early Autumn in order to keep them away.

 

  • Mint Spray to Keep Stink Bugs Away
    Mint oil works especially well as a way to repel shield bugs away. The recipe is simple and it can be made super fast. Here’s what you’ll need:
    1. 500 ml of water
    2. 10 drops of mint essential oil
    Mix them in a spray bottle and spray entryways like windows, doors, and other possible entrances. The strong smell should repel the bugs.
  • Control Shield Bugs with Diatomaceous Powder
    This is a natural sedimentary rock that can be spread around possible entryways (both inside and outside). The rock will break down the waxy exoskeleton of the bug, which will lead to the bug’s dehydration and death. Stink bugs can be sprayed directly as well.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs on Plants?

In order to control stink bug infestations in your gardens or crops, you can do several things.

Introduce beneficial insects that will keep stink bugs away. The pest has a lot of natural enemies that can keep them away. Some of them are praying mantis, lacewings, ladybugs, birds and toads.


Stink Bug Traps

Using traps is an efficient way to keep the buggers away. Stink bug traps are usually plants that are meant to attract them. After enough have gathered, then the plant can be removed and disposed of. Such plants are:

  • Sunflower
  • Okra
  • Amaranth
  • Sweet Corn

Trap plants could potentially attract stink bugs to your home if you keep them in a vase, for example.


Pest icon  How to Prevent Stink Bugs? Pest icon


There are several things that every homeowner should take care of in order to keep shield bugs away.


Seal Off any Entry Points

As stink bugs love going inside our homes when the weather starts to get colder, you have to make sure all possible entry holes are sealed.
The places that are most susceptible to cracks are often ones that are less visible. We suggest that you inspect your house twice a year in places such as:

  • Behind pipes
  • Around the chimney
  • The siding
  • Wood fascia
  • Around the windows and doors
  • Other possible entry points in and around your house

After finding all possible entries you should seal them. We suggest that you use high-quality silicone to fix any cracks and holes, or alternatively silicone-latex caulk.


Replace and Repair the Window Screens, Weather Strippings and Loose Mortar

Although great at keeping bugs away, torn window screens are like an invite for stink bugs. Replace or repair any window screens in order to keep stink bugs away.

Weatherstrippings can do a great job at keeping stinky bugs outside. Make sure to keep yours in good condition and change ones that are past their time.

Loose mortar should be fixed. Consider installing doorsteps as well to keep all possible entry points sealed.



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