Why Do I Have Stink Bugs This Winter?

Stink bug during winter

Stink bugs typically enter a state of dormancy called diapause in winter. Unless, of course, they can find a heat source to sustain them. If they do find a heat source–say your home–they can remain active all year. Any stink bugs in your home will seek hiding places to wait out the winter. They’ll almost leave you alone… but the smell might not.

Obviously, nobody wants stink bugs in their house in winter, but how do you get rid of stink bugs? Especially if you have an infestation? And what draws them to some buildings over others? Here’s how you can find (and remove) stink bugs in your home this winter:

Signs of Stink Bugs in Winter

To tell if you have a stink bug infestation, look for these signs that they may be nearby:

  • 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 certainly more nearby. If you see one moving around inside your home, then you probably have an infestation. 
  • 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, they push and squeeze their way through. Sometimes, not all the bugs will make it all the way through. You might find the bodies of less-fortunate members of the party around door and window frames, baseboards, and utility lines.
  • Stink. Stink bugs… got their name for a reason. When they feel threatened, these bugs secrete a foul-smelling liquid in defense. If you smell a pungent odor like rotten vegetables or cilantro, it may be a stink bug. Stink bug liquid secretions are a pale-yellow color and can stain surfaces over time. They also use this scent to attract others when to sources of food and shelter.

Why my home?

Stink bugs come into homes looking for shelter, water, and food. Their preferred food source is sugar and they’re fond of overripe fruit. They’ll also congregate around the food waste in trash cans or beneath cupboards and the dishwasher. 

Sugar isn’t the only stink bug draw. They also 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 to Prevent Stink Bugs

Keep stink bugs from bothering your property by taking some of the following steps: 

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 necessary. The more bugs your lights draw to the surface of your home, the higher the odds that at least some of the 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. 
  • Fix plumbing leaks. 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 and under counters and cabinets.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

Stink bugs will usually naturally leave your home in spring when they re-emerge from dormancy. 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 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. Whenever you remove bugs from a surface, 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 the stink bugs are gone. If you trap or kill too many of the bugs, it’ll only exacerbate your problem.

Stink Bugs, How to Get Rid of Them for Good

Do stink bugs die in winter? Not if they’re in your home. Obviously, we understand if you don’t want to simply wait until spring for your stink bugs to leave your home. If you want them gone nowgive Griffin Pest Solutions a call. We’re your pest control experts in winter and all seasons for Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.


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Holiday Humbugs to Watch Out For This Winter

Holiday Humbugs to Watch Out For

The Holidays are a unique time of year. You travel to places you don’t usually visit, do things you don’t usually do, with people you don’t usually see. All this new activity can feel refreshing and exciting, but it can also come with new concerns and stresses.

Yes, there are the obvious Holiday stressors–family fights, obnoxious in-laws, cramped living quarters–but there are less-obvious concerns to keep in mind, too. Chief among them: pests. Believe it or not, even the most wonderful time of year isn’t safe from everyone’s least favorite (well, almost everyone’s least favorite) house guests. Lots of pests take the hustle and bustle of the Holidays as the perfect opportunity to invite themselves over.

Here’s how they do it, and how to keep them out:

Bed Bugs

Holiday bed bugsBed bugs hide in dark, confined places and remain perfectly still for hours on end. These dark, confined spaces aren’t just beds, either. Bed bugs often hide in suitcase, bags, and other common travel gear. If travelers fail to notice the bed bugs when they pack, then the pest can easily spread to each location visited. Your mom brings her own pillow over because yours are “too hard”, and all of a sudden you have bed bugs in your home for the Holidays. Thanks a lot, Karen.

The best way to prevent bed bugs is to carefully inspect stuff moving into and out of your home. Run clothing, sheets, bags, and other cloth items through the dryer (on the highest heat setting) for about 20 minutes before unpacking them. While you’re away, keep your clothing sealed in plastic travel bags when you’re not wearing it. Keep your travel bags closed tight and elevated anytime you’re not going through them.

Moths

holiday mothsThere are two types of common pest moths: pantry-infesting moths and fabric-infesting moths. Unfortunately, both can be a problem during the holiday season. If fabric moths infest cloth decorations, they might be reproducing year-round. When you take your decorations out of storage for the holidays, you unleash them into your home like a tomb raider uncovering an ancient civilization’s curse. Clean all your decorations before you unpack them to save yourself a major headache.

Pantry-infesting moths are a little easier to figure out. These pests love sugary carbs. Holiday baking leads to big holiday baking messes. Big holiday baking messes lead to spilled flour, misplaced sugar, and excess crumbs. Accessible food… leads to moths all-too happy to eat that food. Clean your kitchen and keep your pantry tidy to ensure that Santa is the only home invader eating the cookies you leave out this Holiday season.

Spiders

holiday spidersRemember when we covered how spiders survive winter last month? Well, it turns out Christmas trees are a great place for spiders to build their aforementioned winter shelters. They make their way through pine branches until they find a sturdy spot. Then, they build a casing of webbing for themselves using the branches as support.

When spiders start to feel warm, they make their way out of their shelters to start eating and mating. Imagine a spider’s surprise when burrow out of their webs, only to find they’ve been transported into a person’s home? Inspect your Christmas tree carefully before you bring it inside. Consider using a handheld shopvac to vacuum up any cobwebs hanging near the tree’s trunk. Spiders can build their webs just about anywhere, so be thorough.

Mice

holiday miceUnfortunately, “not a creature was stirring–not even a mouse” is not always true of the night before Christmas. The Holiday season tends to be prime time for rodential raiders. Mice have an extremely powerful sense of smell. Not only can they sense food through tiny cracks in walls, they can sense specific information about that food. If they “smell” food that’s ripe for stealing, you’ll wind up with more house guests than you can handle!

Mice are attracted to food they can steal, moisture they can access when they need it, and warmth. They sneak through small cracks in the wall in pursue of food smells. There are ways to ward them off, however. First, store all your food in airtight containers when you’re not eating it. Next, check your plumbing for leaks mice could use as tiny water fountains. Finally, update weatherproofing, particularly around doors and windows. Mice are tenacious and stubborn, but they’re not Santa Claus; they can’t magically access your home.

 

Stressful as they can be, the holidays are ultimately supposed to be a joyful, refreshing time of year. Pests are neither joy-inducing nor refreshing, so they’ve got no business bugging you this Holiday season.

If you need some help kick your pests to the curb this winter, give Griffin Pest Solutions a call any time. We may not be Santa, but we can spread a different kind of Holiday cheer. A distinctly more John McClane type of holiday cheer. Now you have no pests. Ho Ho Ho.