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How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs Naturally
Your garden and even your home offer the perfect sanctuary for many pests looking for an ideal place to eat, rest and reproduce. The stink bug population is growing steadily in North America, and the insects have become a serious nuisance to hobbyist gardeners and homeowners. To the agricultural industry, stinkbugs are becoming downright costly as their impact is making a dent in farmers’ bottom lines.
Stink bugs reproduce quickly and can be difficult to get rid of because they tend to cluster together in large numbers. It’s important to eliminate them before they cause too much damage to your plants and crops. Luckily, there are a variety of solutions that can be used effectively against stink bugs in the home and garden.
Timing is everything when waging an attack on stink bugs. Like any insect, eggs are laid in the spring. By late summer and early fall, the presence of stink bugs is quite obvious. They may be present in your garden and can often find their way into your home and vehicles.
Regardless of where you find stink bugs, you likely want to know how to effectively deal with them quickly and safely. There are many natural pest control solutions that can kill stink bugs in the home and are also safe for use in organic gardening. Let’s first take a closer look at stink bugs.
About Stink Bugs
The stink bug is a small insect that looks much like a beetle. It has a triangle-shaped back and long, striped antennae. Its outer shell resembles a brown shield and is covered in what looks like brown bands and spots. The stink bug can fly quickly, giving it the ability to move swiftly from plant to plant. Its natural agility means it can easily feast on a variety of vegetation in no time at all. For this reason it is considered a “mobile pest.”
The stink bug’s scientific name is Halyomorpha halys, and there are thousands of types of stink bugs worldwide. The kind that is most damaging to North America homes and gardens are called brown marmorated stink bugs, or BMSB for short. They are considered an invasive species because they were introduced to North America from Asia during the late 1990s.
It is thought that the BMSB first arrived in the mid-Atlantic region via a shipment of goods from Asia. The species continues to spread across North America in a similar fashion: hitching rides in freight shipments across the United States and Canada.
One of the main characteristics that makes the stink bug such an undesirable blight is the foul smell it releases. As a defense mechanism, the stink bug will discharge a sticky, odorous substance to fight off its predators when it comes under attack.
The BMSB continues to thrive in many North American climates. Its damaging effects on crops and hobby gardens, as well as its general unpleasant presence in homes, has earned the BMSB a lot of attention in the scientific community as people look for control solutions.
Stink Bug Life Cycle
As with most insects, female stink bugs lay their eggs in the early spring. The eggs are usually laid on the underside of leaves. Each cluster can contain as many as 28 eggs. Stink bugs mate multiple times, leading to a female laying as many as 486 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs start out as a light green color and eventually produce immature stink bugs called nymphs, which grow to become adult stink bugs.
By fall, adult stink bugs will begin looking for safe, warm places to hibernate for the winter. This is when they begin to venture indoors and can be found inside homes, buildings or even inside vehicles. They enter through small openings, cracks and crevices and will sleep protected indoors until temperatures warm up again in the spring. It is at this point they will venture to find their mates. In certain regions, there can be as many as two generations of stink bugs per year.
Types of Stink Bugs
There are an estimated 250 different types of stink bugs in North America. In addition to the pesky brown marmorated stink bug, there are other types of stink bugs that look similar:
- Brown stink bug
- Dusky stink bug
- Green stink bug
- Spined soldier bug
- Rough stink bug
- Western conifer-seed bug
Other types of stink bugs aren’t causing quite as much damage as the BMSB, but they’re certainly a nuisance in the home and garden as well.
Where Are Stink Bugs Found?
Stink bugs cause damage to larger agricultural crops, but they’re also commonly found in urban landscapes. They are known to reside in backyards, hobby gardens and along roadsides. They’re also known to infest homes, buildings and vehicles. Stink bugs have made their way across almost all of the United States, but the bulk of the population resides in the southern and eastern regions of North America.
Stink Bugs in the Home
Stink bug infestations can occur in the home after the pests have found themselves indoors for protection. Older homes with poor insulation and foundation or window sealant cracks are ideal for inviting in stink bugs. They will reside in walls or under carpeting while they go dormant throughout the winter season. Once they wake out of their sleepy state come spring, you may find yourself with a full stink bug scourge. Though they will not reproduce indoors or cause structural damage, they will be a nuisance because of their movement and stinky odor.
Stink Bugs in the Garden
Stink bugs have what are described as piercing-sucking mouthparts. Both adult and nymph stink bugs have a proboscis that allows them to pierce the skin of fruits and vegetables and suck the juices from them. The result is a damaged pockmark and discoloration on the skin of the fruit or vegetable. This will potentially render it inedible and unmarketable for farmers because the damaged skin leaves the fruit or vegetable flesh in a hardened state.
Stink bugs love citrus fruits, but won’t turn down a selection of vegetable crops such as corn. They’ve even been known to damage shade trees and ornamental plants.
Crop Damage by Stink Bugs
According to reports by the USDA-funded research group StopBMSB.com, stink bugs have spread to over 42 states. In seven of these states, brown marmorated stink bugs pose a severe risk to agricultural production, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region. In their native countries of China, Taiwan and Japan, brown marmorated stink bugs are known to consume a variety of citrus fruit plants like peaches, apples and pears. In North America, stink bugs have adapted their appetites to include many more varieties of food vegetation like tomatoes and corn.
The stink bug was first reported in North America in the late 1990s in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Since then, a population boom of BMSB has left farmers and others employed in the agricultural sector feeling the economic damage caused by these pests, which have consistently destroyed a wide variety crops.
According to research performed by Texas A&M AgriLife, stink bugs have caused serious damage to soybean crops in Texas and other southern states. It is estimated that there are over 50 types of stink bugs found in soybean crops alone.
Stink bugs are naturally agile. In fact, a stink bug can fly up to 75 miles in one day, meaning it has no problem targeting complete fields of crops. Its ability to move from field to field leaves agricultural areas with detrimental damage to multiple crops in one region.
Stink Bug Predators
When an invasive species begins to explode in population, it can be quite risky because, at first, there are no natural predators to prey on them. In their native region, the stink bug’s natural predator is a small parasitic wasp that will use their eggs as a host. In North America, however, stink bugs don’t have any natural predators of any prevalence yet.
As the population of BMSBs continues to grow in North America, we are beginning to see signs of limited predatory activity against them. Research completed by students at Virginia Tech University found that a similar species to the parasitic wasp found in Asia has been preying on stink bug eggs in a soybean field. It has also been recorded that certain bird species have preyed on stink bugs as well.
Research is still being conducted to determine the type of impact certain natural predators can actually have on the BMSB population. Studies will continue to show the impact throughout different settings like agricultural lands, forested areas and other unmanaged landscapes.
Exactly How Do You Get Rid of Stink Bugs?
If you’re ready to learn how to get rid of stink bugs in the house or garden, remember that prevention is key. If you’re concerned about an infestation in your home, be sure to take proactive measures. Seal all cracks in your windows and doorways. There may also be cracks in the flooring, baseboards and ceiling light fixtures through which insects can enter. It’s also advised to replace or repair any damaged window screens.
Many people decide to vacuum stink bugs away, but this may cause them to release their foul stench. Do not use pesticide products indoors because they contain harmful chemicals. A stink bug infestation in your home or garden can be safely controlled without the use of pesticides. By using products designed specifically to trap and kill stink bugs, you can eliminate your pest problem in your home and yard. Safer® Brand offers a variety of stink bug control products including traps, sprays and other products.
How to Kill Stink Bugs?
Safer® Brand’s EndALL™ Insect Killer is a stink bug control product that combines insecticidal soap, pyrethrin and neem oil to eliminate your household pest problem. EndALL™ will kill stink bugs in all stages of development.
Apply EndALL™ every 7-10 days when stink bugs are present and continue to reapply as needed to prevent further infestations. Spray the surface evenly and be sure not to drench plant leaves to the point of liquid runoff.
EndALL™ is OMRI® listed and is compliant for use in organic gardening. Use EndALL™ to quickly eliminate stink bugs in your home and or garden.
Stink Bug Magnet
You many also be interested in Safer® Brand’s Stink Bug Magnet, which is an outdoor trap to attract and catch stink bugs without the use of dangerous chemicals. The Stink Bug Magnet is effective for use in your garden without worrying about damaging plants and crops.
By releasing pheromones, this outdoor trap will lure stink bugs from up to 30 feet away. You can place the Stink Bug Magnet on the ground in your garden to attract nymph stink bugs and trap them. You also have the option of hanging the Stink Bug Magnet from a tree with the included hanging mechanism.
Unlike other stink bug traps available, the Stink Bug Magnet works immediately and lures bugs quickly by releasing the pheromone much faster. The Stink Bug Magnet’s lures are replaceable, allowing you to continue refilling and using the trap as often as needed.
Diatomaceous Earth Will Get Rid of Stink Bugs
Diatomaceous Earth kills a variety of insects, including stink bugs. It is a dust-like powder that contains a mixture of crushed fossilized algae (diatoms) that are sharp to insects with exoskeletons. When these insects encounter the Diatomaceous Earth powder, it cuts open their exoskeletons. This eventually causes them to dehydrate and die. Because this product contains no man-made chemicals, the insects will not develop a tolerance and therefore will never build up a resistance like they do with certain chemical-based products.
You can use Diatomaceous Earth indoors or outdoors to eliminate your stink bug problem wherever it is occurring. As long as the powder stays dry, it will continue to work.
Choose Pest Control Solutions
Choose gardening products that will help protect your health and reduce damage on the environment and you can minimize the risk of developing illness in yourself and your family. Products that are compliant for use in organic gardening are also beneficial to your soil because they enrich it with vitamins and nutrients that encourage plant growth.
Many of Safer® Brand’s stink bug and insect control products are compliant for use in organic gardening. If you want to eliminate pests while protecting the health of your plants, fruits, vegetables, trees and shrubs, consider Safer® Brand. Our online store houses plenty of products that will eliminate stink bugs and other invasive species from your home and garden.
Safer®Brand can help rid your garden and home of these pests with natural and organic stink bug control. Our organic stink bug control products are all-natural and contain no synthetic or man-made chemicals.
If you want to rid your garden and home of these unwanted pests, Safer®Brand offers excellent organic stink bug control products.