Stink bugs typically enter a state of dormancy called diapause in cold winters… if they can’t find a heat source. Unfortunately, if they do find a heat source–like your home–they may remain active all year. The stink bugs in your home will look dark hiding places to wait out the winter. They’ll almost leave you alone… but the smell might not.
Obviously, nobody wants these stinky bugs in their home, especially during the winter. Their name alone is dreadful. But how do you keep them out? How can you tell if you have a stink bug infestation in the first place? What draws the invasive pest to some buildings over others? Here’s how you can find (and remove) stink bugs in your home this winter:
What are the main signs of a stink bug infestation?
Before you can tell if you have a stink bug infestation, you have to learn to recognize the signs that the stinky pests are nearby.
- You’ll see live bugs. Stink bugs’ bodies are brown or black and shaped like a shield. They have spots of lighter coloring around the edge of their body, six legs, and antenna. If you see one, then there are almost always more nearby. If you see one moving around inside your home, then you probably have an infestation.
- You’ll see dead bugs. Pay attention to the entry points in your home, including door frames, windows, and baseboards. Stink bugs congregate around heat sources, especially in fall and winter. When they find cracks and gaps around these heat sources, congregations will push and squeeze their way through them. Sometimes, not all of the bugs will make it all the way through. You might find the bodies of less-fortunate members of the congregation around door and window frames, baseboarding, and utility lines.
- You’ll smell them. Stink bugs… got their name for a reason. When they feel threatened, these bugs secrete a foul-smelling liquid in defense. If you smell an odor similar to rotten vegetables or cilantro and you can’t find the source, it may be a stink bug. Stink bug liquid secretions are a pale yellow color and may also stain surfaces over time.
What draws stink bugs to certain buildings?
Stink bugs come into homes looking for shelter, water, and food. Their preferred food source is sugar. They like fruit, especially when it’s overripe. They’ll also congregate around the food waste in trash cans or beneath cupboards and the dishwasher.
Access to sugar isn’t the only stink-bug particular draw. The bugs also tend to gather around light and other heat sources. They’ll be particularly noticeable at night, when you’ll see them scurrying around outdoor light bulbs or indoor lamps. Food or heat sources could be reasons why you have a stink bug problem.
How can I prevent stink bug problems?
Keep stink bugs from bothering your property by taking some of the following steps:
- Minimize outdoor lighting. Don’t keep any outdoor lighting on unless it’s absolutely necessary. The more bugs your lights draw to the surface of your home, the higher the odds that a congregation will find its way inside.
- Rub your window screens with dryer sheets. This sounds weird, but it’s an easy prevention tactic. The fragrance of your average scented dryer sheet is unpleasant to a stink bug. Rub them on your window screens when doing regular cleaning as a simple exclusion effort.
- Don’t let plumbing leaks go untreated. Stink bugs are drawn to moisture they can access without drawing attention to themselves. This is most easily found near hidden plumbing leaks in faucets and pipe joints. Fix leaks as soon as you notice them!
If I have stink bugs, how do I remove them?
Stink bugs will usually naturally leave your home when they re-emerge from dormancy in spring time. We recommend leaving the cracks and crevices where they might enter diapause in your home alone until then. If you seal up their hiding places, stink bugs will die inside your home. When stink bugs die, they secrete their odor–which contains a pheromone that attracts more stink bugs. They will also secrete this odor when you crush them or when they find good hiding places.
If you notice active stink bugs inside, vacuum them up (don’t crush them!). Dispose of the vacuum bag outside of your home after you’ve vacuumed up the bugs. Whenever you remove bugs from a surface, immediately clean that surface with ammonia and/or soapy water. This will help remove pheromone secretions and keep more the bugs away. Focus on exclusion methods until you’re sure all of the stink bugs are gone. If you trap or kill too many of the bugs, it’ll only exacerbate your problem.
Obviously, we understand if you don’t want to simply wait for your stink bugs to leave your home. If you need those stinkers gone now, give Griffin Pest Solutions a call any time. We can remove infestations completely and make sure they can’t come back–and we can do it all year long.