Stink bugs are primarily known to be an agricultural pest, consuming a wide variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, flowers, leaves, and other crops. However, they can also infest peoples' homes, especially in rural areas. Therefore, steps should be taken to prevent these pests from getting into your home in the first place. Here are some ways you can take preventative measures, as well as some tips on what to do if stink bugs have already invaded your home:
On Plants – The most common time to see damage on plants is during the late summer. Check all plants, especially those with developing seed heads and fruit. Spot spray where they are found to be causing damage, but make sure to pick an appropriate insecticide, as some may also damage insects that are beneficial to plants.
How to Prevent Them from Getting Inside – Preventative measures should be taken by anyone who's household has had stink bug issues in the past. Keep stink bugs out of your home by sealing off all possible entrances. To do so, seal off all cracks in walls, floors, ceilings, doors, and windows with caulk. Also be sure to check baseboards, exhaust fans, and light fixtures to prevent stink bugs from accessing interior rooms from the basement and attic, and caulk those as well. Use mesh screens on doors and windows, as well as attic and foundation vents.
It is also helpful to cut back on overgrown plants in the yard, especially any that are right next to the house. An additional option is set light traps around the home, as stink bugs are attracted to both light and warmth. Because of this, stink bugs (in particular the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, the most common stink bug found in Virginia) tend to congregate mainly on the south and westward-facing surfaces of buildings (because of the sun). Therefore, extra attention should be given to these parts of the home.
After They're Inside – If stink bugs have already entered your home, avoid sealing cracks as they will be trapped indoors. The best means of taking care of individual stink bugs is to vacuum them up. We recommend using a HEPA vacuum if possible. HEPA is an acronym for “High Efficiency Particulate Air”, and refers to vacuums with an air filter that removes 99.97% of all particles that pass through it. That way no potentially harmful particles that the stink bug may have on it will be released into the air. If you are using a regular vacuum cleaner, be sure to dump the bag immediately after use.
Avoid using insecticides on the stink bugs you can't reach with the vacuum cleaner, as they may die in voids in the wall. Dead stink bugs attract other pests, which may lead to an infestation of the pests that feed on them, such as carpet beetles. If this isn't sufficient in getting rid of the problem, or if you have a large infestation, call a pest control company to get the stink bug population under control and out of your home.