Invasion of the Stink Bug: What to Know – Stink bugs are common in many parts of the country, including New Jersey. Actually, there are about 20 species in this state alone, the most common of which is the brown marmorated stink bug, first identified in Allentown, PA in the 1990s. It’s believed to have hitched a ride here on a container coming through the Port of Elizabeth, native to Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, and Beijing.
If you’re facing an invasion of these pests in your home, known by their signature shield-like shape and foul smell they emit when frightened, disturbed or squashed, you’re probably wondering how best to get rid of them. Here are some tips.
Don’t Vacuum Them
You’ll be tempted to stay away from actually touching them and instead you’ll reach for the vacuum. Resist the temptation to suck up these five-sided, green or brown shield-shaped bodies that measure 3/4 of an inch long. They’ll panic and emit their odor anyway, or they won’t die and decide to crawl back out into your closet or wherever you store the vacuum. If you absolutely must vacuum them, use a shop vac and then immediately take it outside to empty it.
Don’t Crush One in a Tissue
Another temptation when you see an unwanted bug in your residence is to take a tissue and squash it, or stomp on it with your shoe. Again, not a good idea. Stink bugs that are hit, stomped or crushed will emit a foul odor, and then you have another problem: the stench will stay on your shoes.
Seal up Cracks in Your Home
Many species of stink bugs like cooler weather but even so, they like to gather close to homes for warmth on those extra chilly nights. They will likely attempt to slip inside holes or cracks in your foundation, doors, windows and walls. In fact, they love to hide in attics, crawl spaces, and walls.
They will remain out of sight in winter, coming out in spring, which is when you’re more likely to spot them in your house. This is when they’re trying to find a way out.
Prevention is Key
Once stink bugs get into your home and start breeding, they’re very hard to get out on your own. Prevention in the first place is important. Heed these tips:
- Inspect the exterior of your home, checking doors and windows for cracks and torn screens.
- Make sure your weather stripping is properly sealed so no gaps exist under exterior doors.
- Take out wall and window air conditioners in the off-season.
- Refrain from leaving out fruits, vegetables and legumes on the counter, as stink bugs love these treats.
- Do regular weeding and mowing outside, as stink bugs also like to snack on weeds and leaves.
- Make sure your attic and crawl space vents don’t have torn or missing screens.
What to Do When Stink Bugs are Already Inside
OK, so it’s too late and they’re sharing the house with you. Now what? Here are some tips:
- Ever so carefully, sweep them up with a dustpan and release them outside.
- Use a shop vac to suck them up, then empty the bag outside immediately to prevent them from crawling back out.
- Use a natural repellent spray comprised of 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to 16 ounces of water. Keep it in a spray bottle and spritz around doorways, windows and entryways.
- Contact a pest control professional like Cavanaugh’s to eliminate the stink bugs and create a long-term plan for keeping them out year round.
A professional exterminator is really 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 today!