Insects & Scents: How Odd Odors Help Detect Insect Issues

woman holding her noseWhen we think of larger pests like mice or skunks, we often think of a direct odor associated with them. The same association is typically not applied to insects. While you might see many signs of an insect infestation in your home, the smell of an insect could be one of the key factors.

A wide range of insects emit odors. When these insects are in large groups or infesting your home, the smells may become more pungent. Learn about a variety of insects and the various ways their scents may be detected so you can tell if you have a problem. Once you do smell the insects, you’ll know to call an exterminator and to get rid of the problem.

Stink Bugs

One of the more obvious insects releasing odors in your home is stink bugs. Stink bugs have a strong odor that reaches across a room with a single bug. When multiple stink bugs are present, the odor becomes more noticeable and is hard to remove from the home.

In most cases, you will smell a stink bug once they have been disturbed or killed. Curious pets like dogs or cats may cause a stink bug to emit the odors as well. The strong scent has a nature vibe to it but stands out on its own for being unique and recognizable in the world of insects.

A certified exterminator has the ability to tell whether the stink bugs in your home are single instances or if you have more extreme cases of the bugs nesting and living within parts of the home. Removing the eggs, nests, and bugs will help eliminate the scents left by these bugs.


A variety of beetles from the order Hemiptera are known for the odors they emit. These beetles may look similar to a stink bug but are often flightless. Odor smells vary for the beetles. In damp and dark areas of your home, you may notice the presence of the beetles through seeing them along with smelling them.

The odors may include leafy scents, a rotten smell, or a smell similar to mildew. Common areas to smell the beetles includes underneath kitchen sinks or in basements. Just like stink bugs, the smells increase if the bug is in danger or they are killed and their sacs with the odors are emitted into the air.

Yellow Ants (Citronella Ants)

Homeowners are already aware of insect problems associated with red ants and black ants, but yellow ants are another common pest found in the United States. Besides the color, one of the unique features of the yellow ant is its ability to produce an odor.

The odor of a yellow ant is similar to the smell of a citronella candle. These candles are commonly used to prevent bugs from bothering you while enjoying the outdoors. The smell is pretty distinguishable. If you do not have any of those candles around then you likely have a problem with yellow ants.

An exterminator may remove whole colonies of these ants, including the queen ants. The removal of the whole nest helps eliminate the pest and any odors associated with them.


The term millipedes covers a large group of bugs known for their long bodies and huge group of legs on their underside. A number of these bugs also feature odors. Because millipedes have a small size and the ability to hide in small places, you do not typically smell millipedes unless you have a major bug issue.

Dark and damp areas like sheds, barns, or garages could become infested with millipedes if they are not used often and treated properly. Along with spotting the bugs, you may find an almond or nutty scent mixed with more foul-smelling odors.

A pest management professional will help identify the smells and discover any type of insect issue in your home. Contact us at PermaTreat Pest & Termite Control for all of your insect removal needs.

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