With 4,700 species of stink bugs on the planet and 250 of those in the U.S. and Canada, stink bugs are pervasive and can be the worst kind of pests. Basically, they stink – hence their name. You’ll know you have stink bugs when you spot their signature antennae striping appearing along the abdomen. Its five-sided, green or brown shield-shaped body only measures about 3/4 of an inch long. However, the real nuisance is the foul smell it emits when frightened, disturbed or squashed.

And don’t assume you can just vacuum them up because you’ll never get rid of that strong odor. If you have to, use a shop vac and empty it outside right away. They’re more common in the spring, but some species show up in the fall when the temperature starts to cool. If you have never seen a stink bug and make the mistake of hitting, stomping or crushing it in a tissue, you’ll know right away the mistake you’ve made.

Even though some species like the cooler weather, they tend to gather on the outside of homes for warmth. If they can slip inside holes or cracks, they will do so. Their favorite hiding places are in attics, crawl spaces, and inside walls.

You won’t see them during the winter until the spring when they come out of hiding. They will try to find a way out. After all, they don’t want to be confined in small interior spaces when the weather is nice. Sometimes they need help exiting your home.

Prevention is key. Once they get into your home, they’re very difficult to remove. Make sure they can’t get into your home from the start with these tips:

  • Thoroughly inspect the outside of the home. Check doors and windows for cracks and torn screens.
  • Check that your weather stripping properly seals gaps under exterior doors.
  • Check that your attic and crawl space vents don’t have torn or missing screens.
  • Remove wall and window air conditioners.
  • Don’t leave fruits, vegetables and legumes lying around, which is the food of choice for stink bugs. They also like weeds and tree leaves, even when said plants have been treated with insecticides.

If it’s too late and you already see stink bugs in your home, here’s what to do:

  • Using a dustpan, gently sweep them up and release them outside.
  • Use a shop vac to suck them up, then empty the bag outside immediately so they can’t crawl back out.
  • Try a natural repellent spray mixing 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to 16 ounces of water within a spray bottle. Spray this mixture around doorways, windows and entryways.
  • Contact a pest control professional to get rid of the bugs and come up with a plan to prevent re-invasion.

A professional exterminator is often times the only effective way to control the invasion of stink bugs. Call Cavanaugh’s Professional Termite and Pest Services at one of our three locations in Flanders at 973-584-2552, Somerville at 908-730-6565 or Freehold at 800-362-2282.