For a few summers, the number of stink bugs (also known as shield bugs) has been slowly increasing in the Washington area. However, last summer the numbers took a dramatic rise. Last summer the area was invaded by tons of the resilient winged creatures. They crawl or fly through small cracks in your house, through holes in screened windows and more. Over the winter, it is likely that they have even been hibernating in the warmth of your houses walls.
The question becomes - How do I prevent the little armored vehicles from getting into my house in the first places? Keep reading to find out!
STINK BUG PREVENTION
1) Replace or repair any screens that have holes in them. Clean out the areas between windows and screens of any natural debris.
2) Caulk any cracks in your home that you can find. You may want a professional to do this if you don't have the tools of knowledge.
3) If you see a stink bug inside your house, try not to smash it (this releases the foul smell from their glands). The best option is to capture them and either put them back outside or dispose of them another way. DO NOT vacuum them with your normal vacuum...they will stink the bag/cup up as well.
4) The USDA is currently testing a "Stink Bug Trap" that will likely hit the shelves this spring. It contains an attractant that will draw stink bugs into the trap. The trap will supposedly work very similar to a yellow jacket trap. If you decide to use this, it's best to place it a little ways away from your home.
5) THE CHEMICAL APPROACH - Many online pest control dealers sell a product called "Cyonara 9.7." This product is potent yet harmless to non-insect creatures once it is dry. There are also other products called "Demand CS" and "Demon WP" that will work as well. However, some of these may leave a white film on dark surfaces. Cyonara 9.7 does not leave this film.
If you decide to go this route, you will need a sprayer (we recommend Chapin). One bottle of this stuff is over 30 dollars but you can make quite a bit of solution to last you 1+ years. This is mainly used for an outside barrier treatment and you can go along the entire perimeter of your house and spray a continuous barrier. Also spray outside window sills and any other areas/cracks where stink bugs may enjoy hiding. Don't overdo the spraying as this chemical is highly toxic to fishes if it gets into the water system before it dries.
This product has had excellent results for many people. Not to mention it works on spiders, ants and just about everything else as well. It lasts for up to 3-4 months in good weather and a bit less in rain or extremely hot weather. Periodically retreat using the same steps above and you'll notice MUCH fewer bugs getting in.
6) Another thing you should do is clear any close hanging tree branches or yard debris from your house. If a branch is touching your house, this allows bugs easy access to your property. One branch touching can equal many bugs making contact with your house.
7) A NATURAL APPROACH - If you want to take the time for a natural approach, buy a BAT BOX. These are homes for up to 300 bats in some cases. It might take a while to attract them (place the box far away from your house but still reasonably close). Bats love to eat all insects and will gobble up stink bugs as well.
WHAT IF I ALREADY HAVE STINK BUGS?
It's important to follow good disposal procedures for bugs that are already in your house. Similar to the way smashed bees can attract other bees to that location, stink bugs have a similar chemical in their bodies to attract more stink bugs. DO NOT smash the stink bug. Either capture it and release it outside, or carefully capture it and flush it down the toilet. If you have more than a few stink bugs and want to save water, keep a bowl of soapy water handy and drop the live stink bugs in there, they won't last very long and then you can dispose of them all at once.
Also, sticky fly traps can also work somewhat well in areas where lots of stink bugs are already present. Some people have said that spraying them with a quick spritz of rubbing alcohol will do the trick as well.
As much of an annoyance as these creatures are, they are harmless to humans for the most part. They can eat crops and plants, however, so they post a real threat to farmers and home gardeners.
Do you have your own methods for battling the stink bug invasion? WE WANT TO KNOW!
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