- WHAT DOES A STINK BUG SMELL LIKE?
- STINK BUG BIOLOGY
- CAN A STINK BUG DO DAMAGE?
- WHAT DO STINK BUGS EAT?
- STINK BUG SPRAY FOR THE GARDEN
- BEST STINK BUG SPRAY TO KEEP THEM OUT!
- WHERE TO SPRAY FOR STINK BUGS
- STINK BUG SPRAY FOR INSIDE THE HOME
- WHAT IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THE STINK BUGS ARE COMING FROM?
- HOW TO TREAT WALL VOIDS OR ATTICS FOR STINK BUGS
- STINK BUG LIGHT TRAP
- STINK BUG REPELLENT
- CONTACT US
Stink bugs are active throughout all of the United States. Generally found in the garden, stink bugs will find their way into homes and structures when fall evenings start to turn cold. They acquired their name from a natural defense they have which is to release a smell that “stinks”. This smell enables them to avoid getting eaten by several species of birds and lizards.
WHAT DOES A STINK BUG SMELL LIKE? ^
If you’ve handled a stink bug, you probably know the smell. It’s a pungent odor, strong and similar to cilantro, and used as a defense mechanism to stave off predators like birds and lizards. Stinkbugs have dorsal glands that can release this odor at will. On places where they roost and nest, the odor will manifest on surfaces, cracks and crevices. This odor will barely be detectable at first but to stinkbugs, it’s important and one of the main reasons they’ll return year after year and use the same structure over and over as a hibernation den.
If your home starts to harbor hibernating stink bugs, its best you get rid of them before the infestation gets out of control. This article will help detail some basic biology about stinkbugs and then offer practical solutions you can apply to stop infestations before they get too bad.
STINK BUG BIOLOGY ^
Stink bugs are in the family of insects known as pentatomidae. There are hundreds of subspecies located around the world and the United States has several which are active in and around the home. Generally thought of as an agricultural pest, stink bugs will readily take up residence around any garden or landscape rich with plants and flowers. Stink bugs have a “shield” shaped body which is very wide and measure about 1/2 inch long. The most common species range in color from green to brown. One species is a bright red and black. Here is a short video showing a brown marmorated stinkbug.
Not only can a stink bug emit an odor which “stinks” but many people have an allergic reaction to this secretion so it is best to leave them alone.
Stink bugs hibernate during cold winter months and will emerge in the spring as temperatures rise. Adults mate in the spring and females will lay eggs on plants. These eggs will be laid in groups and are not plant specific. Young will go through 5 stages to reach adulthood and this will occur in about three months. During this time they will feed on just about anything available. Plant juices like honeydew seem to be their choice of food but most will readily feed on tomatoes, beans, any type of fruit, corn, peppers or cabbage.
CAN A STINK BUG DO DAMAGE? ^
Stink bugs have never been considered to be a destructive pest. However, if left unchecked, stinkbugs can cause significant damage to any garden. Most damage occurs to juicy vegetables and fruit once the protective skin is broken. Since young take about three months to mature, they’re generally old enough to mate in the beginning of summer and so another batch will emerge to reach adulthood before the end of the year.
Stink bugs don’t like the heat and will migrate north out of the southern summers. But the longer growing season of the south enables them to reproduce better and longer during the year so the south harbors the highest populations.
Stink bugs are hardy and will live a few years so adults which find themselves too far north will hibernate on buildings. This enables them to survive the harshest of winter and come spring, emerge to go about and forage for another summer. Southern populations may remain active all year if a mild winter keeps temperatures moderate. But even in the south, if it gets too cold they’ll migrate deep into any home and eventually end up inside living areas.
WHAT DO STINK BUGS EAT? ^
Stink bugs may prey upon other insects and several species seem to be targets as long as they remain abundant. However, they will readily resort to plants, fruits and vegetables if no other food is around. Don’t be mislead into thinking any stink bug is a good bug. This type of thought has gotten many people in trouble. A few around the garden won’t do a lot of harm. However, if you have them eating the very produce you are trying to grow, the damage they do will quickly ruin your effort.
Stink bugs are not efficient when they eat. They will generally move from fruit to fruit ruining several per day. They’re also attracted to light and will find their way into homes during the long summer nights when porch and deck lights are on and doors are being opened and closed. This summertime pattern will continue through the season until cooler nights and shorter days force the adults to seek harborage. Structures like homes are warm and provide adequate shelter from rain, cold and other elements so its only natural and to be expected for them to forage inside.
STINK BUG SPRAY FOR THE GARDEN ^
If you have stink bugs active in your garden and you want to stop damage being done to garden fruit and vegetables, apply a product called VEGETABLES PLUS PERMETHRIN. This material is labeled for just about any pest and will readily kill off those living on the plants. It will also repel new ones and in turn, keep them away. This product is practically odorless and has a 1-2 week “days to harvest” so it will provide residual control too.
Mix it at the rate of 2-4 oz per gallon of water and spray any plant, shrub or flower you want to protect.
ORGANIC STINK BUG SPRAY ^
If you’re an organic gardener, use MULTI PURPOSE INSECT KILLER. It’s approved for organic gardening and like the Vegetables Plus, effective on stinkbugs. This product has just one day to harvest so it can be used safely right up to the day you plan on picking your crop. But it won’t last as long as the Vegetables Plus so expect to be spraying more if you go with this active.
Mix 6.4 oz per gallon and apply it with any decent SPRAYER.
You’ll need a good PUMP SPRAYER to treat.
BEST STINK BUG SPRAY TO KEEP THEM OUT! ^
If you’ve had an ongoing problem for a few years and stink bugs are currently finding their way into your home, you’ll need to do some exterior treatments to stop the invasion. The extent to which you will have to treat will depend largely on how bad the infestation has become. The first phase of this program will be to get the exterior of the home treated in the fall, just before or as they start to congregate seeking relief from the upcoming winter. If you’ve had them invade in the past then you know as the nights cool, stink bugs will be found landing on your home and trying to find cracks and crevices in which to sleep during the night. In the early stages of this migration, they’ll be present one day and gone the next foraging for food. It’s during this time you’ll want to get the home sprayed with CYPERMETHRIN.
Add 1 oz per gallon of water and expect to get up to 800 sq/ft of coverage per mixed gallon of spray.
Cypermethrin is easy to use and will kill them quickly as well as keep them off your home. Cypermethrin should be mixed at 1 oz per gallon of water and can be applied with one of our SPRAYERS.
Add 1 oz of SPREADER STICKER to the tank mix for maximum impact. Spreader Sticker enables the Cypermethrin to “spread” over the bugs thoroughly so there is no chance of missing any. This will help get a quick kill since the stink bug has a protective skin which protects them well from insecticides.
WHERE TO SPRAY FOR STINK BUGS ^
The trick for getting your home protected from invading stinkbugs is to spray as high as you can on the home letting it drip down the siding. This will get complete coverage. Most homes have just a few main entry points and these will be the key. Concentrate your efforts on these sites when spraying.
Remember, most homes will require 2-3 gallons per application to get good coverage. And most will have at least 2 sides being used for main entry points. But don’t stop there. Treat as many sides as possible. Stink bugs will readily move to untreated sides so it’s smart to treat more of the home instead of leaving areas unprotected and vulnerable.
STINK BUG SPRAY FOR INSIDE THE HOME ^
In many cases the population hibernating is so large they’ll end up in living areas. If this is happening in your home, minimize their activity with an aerosol. We have several options that will work.
The “fastest” acting and quickest killing is called FS-MP. It comes with a crack and crevice straw which allows you to apply it deep into window frames, door frames, base moldings, around light fixtures and any other route of entry they might be using. FS-MP will kill them quickly since it’s a contact killer.
So to start, treat rooms where you have activity and don’t be afraid to retreat once a week until no new ones are found. Expect to spray a few times in early winter – especially if you have an infestation which has been around more than one year.
WHAT IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THE STINK BUGS ARE COMING FROM? ^
If you are consistently getting stink bugs appearing in certain rooms and don’t know where they’re coming from, treat with ALPINE. It uses a newer type active that doesn’t kill quickly. It’s slow acting and can take upwards of 3-4 days to kill anything which many people don’t like. But this is very much by design and a “good thing”. Since it’s slow acting, any insects which come in contact with it are then able to spread the product around. Certain insects (like stinkbugs) tend to group up when resting and hiding because they’re naturally a communal insect. This behavior is ideal for the active ingredient in Alpine. Basically it will be “shared” with all the members of any one community. That means even if just one gets some on it and then moves into an area where a bunch of stinkbugs are hiding, they will all be affected and die. This extra impact can be a big help in providing long term control – especially if you’re unsure where they’re nesting.
HOW TO TREAT WALL VOIDS OR ATTICS FOR STINK BUGS ^
Though the outside treatments with Cypermethrin and the inside treatments with FS MP or Alpine will certainly help to keep them off the home and out of living areas, this may not be enough to keep them away for good. Once homes get infested, they’ll be living and breeding deep inside attics, crawl spaces and wall voids. Stink bugs will naturally forage into these spaces and many are accessible from high points on the home. If you have reason to believe there are stink bugs living in your attic or crawl space, get them protected with DELTAMETHRIN DUST. This product is long lasting and ideal for large, wide open areas. It goes on dry and can be spread out easily for quick coverage and protection. Use 1 lb per 1000 sq/ft of area.
Delta Dust is ideal for wall voids and attics when liquids can’t be used due to the absorbing nature of wood and insulation. Delta Dust will lay on top of everything in these areas so the pests can’t move about without succumbing to the treatment. For large open areas, apply the dust with a DUSTIN MIZER. This device can blow the dust over 20 feet out ensuring good coverage to remote areas where stink bugs will readily crawl and penetrate.
Delta Dust will last 6-12 months per treatment too so you don’t have to use it nearly as often as the liquid or aerosol spray. And it works on many other pests so you’ll be protecting the home from a wide range of insects when applied. The other feature of Delta Dust is that it works in both dry and wet environments. This is important if the stink bugs are entering through dark and moist crawl spaces. Applications will last long even when wet which is needed to break the hibernating cycle of this pest.
Since Delta Dust works so well you may decide to apply in rooms with stink bug activity. Out in the open, Delta Dust will leave a white residue. But this can washed away with a damp rag so no need to worry about making a mess; it easily cleans up. And using a dust behind light switch plate covers, electric switch covers and other spaces where you suspect stink bugs are entering is a great way to treat. Apply the dust with a HAND DUSTER which will allow you to “puff” the dust 2-3 feet deep into wall voids. These spots are commonly used for nesting and hibernating. Be sure to get around light fixtures and the covers for forced hot or cold air (not inside the ducts but around their outer shell).
STINK BUG LIGHT TRAP ^
Another tool for use inside the home is our STINKBUG LIGHT TRAP. This trap uses a special design that “funnels” curious stinkbugs down to a holding tank which is designed to hold water and a little bit of liquid dish detergent. Once stink bugs enter and land in the water, they can’t escape. Stinkbugs, like Asian Ladybugs, are highly attracted to the UV light bulb in this trap and will fly around the top where the light emits. We also include a stinkbug pheromone lure to get them to enter.
The trap works by getting bugs to fall inside as they attempt to land “in the light”. Basically they’ll be landing in the trap and falling inside to their watery grave. Set up one trap per room where you have ongoing activity. Its important to understand the trap works best at night, when other lights are turned off, so don’t expect it to attract or capture stink bugs during the middle of day when lights are on. In fact you may as well turn it off if the home is bright. But come the night it will work like a vacuum capturing any stink bug or ladybug foraging about.
The other great thing about Stink Bug Traps is that they’ll last a long time; we have replacement bulbs and other components so you can keep it working for many years. Unfortunately they won’t end the problem but rather keep it under control. To see how good our trap works, view the video below. In the video, TV Station WPXI puts several traps to the test and our trap outperformed all others! Click here to see the entire WPXI STORY
STINK BUG REPELLENT ^
Lastly, if you have an ongoing stinkbug problem and plan on either painting or staining your home, be sure to add NBS PAINT/STAIN ADDITIVE to your paint or stain. NBS is especially helpful when painting or staining wood that’s been used by stink bugs. NBS will last 1-2 years adding long term repellency to the exterior coating. Made from plant oils, this 100% natural product isn’t a pesticide and it won’t kill insects so you still need to treat as explained above to control current infestations. But stinkbugs don’t like NBS (neither do wasps, boxelder bugs, ladybugs and other invasive insects) so they’ll readily avoid siding, fencing, railing, decks, logs, overhangs, soffits and pretty much any location where NBS has been applied as a spray or when used in paint or stain.
Stink bugs can be a fall and winter pest if left to live in the garden. If you have them active outside during the summer and want to keep them off your fruits and vegetables, use some of our Vegetables Plus for a quick kill and residual. Once fall arrives and they begin to move inside, keep them off the home by spraying with Cypermethrin. Once inside, you’ll have to use some FS MP Aerosol or Alpine to keep them under control. In some cases, dusting with Delta Dust will be needed for wall voids, crawl spaces or attics. Stink bugs are persistent and smelly so keeping them out of your house will require patience!
CONTACT US ^
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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