Stink Bug Glossary

Applications: quarterly applications of a product such as Demand CS or Talstar One power sprayed on the outside of the home is effective method for the control of stink bugs when used in conjunction with inside the home preparation and treatment.

Biting: stink bugs  will pierce the skin with the same proboscis they use to pierce fruit and vegetables. Bites have been reported to result in any combination of itching, pain, swelling and redness.  There have also been reports of them flying into the face and eyes. This may cause a burning sensation or irritation.

BMSBbrown marmorated stink bug

Caulking – will help keep stink bugs from entering your home.  Caulk around doors and windows, baseboards, etc.  Check pull down (and other) attic entries and caulk around them.  You may use (painters or masking) tape as a temporary fix or to seal areas that cannot be permanently caulked. If you aren’t handy with a caulk gun, Liquid Nails makes a clear acrylic seal that comes in a squeeze tube and dries clear.  Fingertip rope caulk is available at Lowes and is easy to use. Caulk around areas where cables and wires enter the home. If these areas are weathered, you may want to re-caulk. Caulk around dryer vents and check to make certain the flap is closing properly when not in use.  Expandable foam insulation is also available at Lowes - minimally expanding for small areas and other expanding for larger areas.

Control products and methods

  • Dawn and Ivory dish washing liquid mixed in a 50/50 concentration, will kill stink bugs.  It can be sprayed on the stink bug or you can fill a container ½ full with this mixture and capture a large number before disposing of the covered, stink bug filled, container.  Individuals report stink bugs will jump into a container filled with this mixture and die.  This mixture does not have a residual effect when sprayed upon surfaces.
  • Clorox or Clorox clean-up sprayed on screens or other color safe surfaces will deter or sometimes kill stinkbugs.  This does not seem to be as effective during the swarming periods.
  • Deep Woods off sprayed on screens deters stink bugs during the swarming season.  Some individuals use a bright light bulb in areas like the attic and use fly strips or containers of the dishwashing/water combo to lure and capture stink bugs
  •  Electric fly swatters are reported to be effective.
  • Vacuum cleaners/dust busters/shop vacs are used to sweep up both live and dead stink bugs.  This method may permanently infuse the terrible smell into your vacuum.  It is important to remove the dead bugs as they will attract other stink bugs and insects. Toothpaste has been reported to remove the smell of stink bugs.
  • Sashco Sealants Big Stretch caulk – expandable urethane foam caulk, can be used for large gap.
  • Insect foggers (Black Flag or Hot Shot) are effective for one time treatment (but have no residual effect).

Cycle of stinkbugs – The cycles of the bmsb are:

Summer: when they remain mostly outdoors, feeding on
plants, shrubs and trees and reproducing

- Autumn: when they swarm and move indoors for overwintering

- Winter: when they are (1) dormant (2) varying degrees of
active in untreated or partially treated homes (3) absent in
homes that have been adequately prepared.

Spring: is the time when stink bugs that have made their way
indoors, will become active seeking to return outside for the
summer. If you see them now, they have been overwintering
inside your walls, attic, etc.  Individuals living in treated homes
may begin to notice their presence outdoors .

Dusting – with an application of dusting products such as Tempo dust and Delta dust (applied to lowest point where the fascia, gables and soffits are) in attics, crawl spaces, etc. is effective for the purpose of stink bug elimination.  Tempo dust is easier to apply but Delta dust is more humidity resistant.  These products are effective for a number of months and are available online or can be requested from your local exterminator.  Diatomaceous dust/earth can be used for stink bug control outdoors around foundations.

Exclusion methods – steps taken (caulking, taping and screening) to prevent stink bugs from entering the home.

Fireplace/woodstovestink bugs love our fireplaces, woodstoves and chimneys and this is a major point of entry for them. Close your flu when the fireplace or woodstove is not in use.  Seal outside cracks and where the chimney meets the house with a good weather proof caulking product. Carefully check firewood for stinkbugs before bringing it inside the home.

Flushing – many individuals capture sbs in tissues and flush them for removal.

Food source – the BMSB is native to Asia and favors our plants, bushes and trees, many of which are native to Asia.  Some of their favorites have been reported to be:  the Japanese maple, dogwood tree, fruit trees, and vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, green beans – a variety of evergreens, soy beans, sunflowers, boxwood, cypress, junipers, blue spruce, firs, silver maple, birch and oak.  There are many others that have not been listed. Stink bugs have also been known to frequent homes with little or no outside plantings.

Habits – the stink bug will swarm in the spring and fall, returning outside from overwintering in the spring and moving indoors for the winter months. The bmsb only breeds outside during the summer months. They lay their eggs on the underside of leaves. They are attracted to light (inside lights, outside landscaping lighting, televisions and computer monitors) and to lighter colors.  They seem to fly erratically and may dive bomb you. They have been known to break the skin of humans with their proboscis in the same way they pierce the flesh of fruit and vegetables. Spraying their very unpleasant scent is a defense mechanism and the smell may last for hours or days. They seem to appear inside mysteriously but are actually moving freely back and forth from hiding places such as vents, ceiling lights, window and door trim, etc.

Insect foggers: can be used in attics and other areas as a temporary removal tool. Foggers have no residual effect and will not eliminate any bugs that enter after the fog has expired. Sweep up dead stink bugs after spraying.

Locations: stink bugs have been found in food supplies, popcorn, candy dishes, coffee pots, prepared food, water bottles and glasses, coffee cups, etc.  They’ve been spotted on bathroom towels, toothbrushes, soap, in beds, in clothing (in closets and drawers), in sleeping bags, blankets, behind clocks, pictures, under grill covers, inside outdoor umbrellas, in drapes, curtains, blinds, etc. They enter rooms via window and door trim, ceiling lights, exhaust fans, fireplaces, attics entries, window air conditioners, etc.

Lures: you may place plantings that are attractive to the stink bug (such as sunflowers) on the perimeter of your property and eliminate (spray/capture) them from there.  A problem with this is you may be inviting your neighbor’s stink bugs to your home or yard.  Bright/warm light has been used in the attic to lure sbs to pest strips and dishwashing control solutions.

Microencapsulated –  products like Demand CS are microencapsulated meaning they provide microscopic bubbles of product that are pierced by the hairs of the stink bug when they walk upon areas that have been treated, allowing the chemical to be absorbed into the sb resulting in stink bug fatality.

Natural predators – there are no known natural predators (insects, birds or animals, etc.) in the US that will reduce the stink bug population.  Limited research is taking place with the hope of finding a way to manage and significantly reduce their numbers.

Natural repellents – it has been suggested that planting marigolds, mint, garlic and other plants will keep stink bugs away from the home.  While these plantings may deter stink bugs from the immediate area around plantings, it cannot keep them from your home.  Stink bugs can fly and may go directly from tree tops to entry points on your house.

Overwintering – is when inside shelter is sought by stink bugs for their dormancy phase over the cold winter months.

Proboscis – the part of the sb used to feed on fruit, plants, trees, etc.  This has also been reportedly used to pierce human skin causing irritation, redness, swelling, itching and minor pain.

Residual effect – Products like Demand CS that last for an extended period of time in spite of weather conditions, etc.  Demand CS lasts outdoors for up to three months.

Swarming –is when large numbers of stink bugs fly about in a frantic manner as they prepare for overwintering and upon their return outside after overwintering.  Swarming (depending upon your location) takes place in May/June and September/October.  Unfortunately, stink bugs will swarm outside in the spring and fall no matter what inside preparations we make. They will, however, die within a few hours of sitting on a treated home. It is most helpful to keep doors and windows closed and in the evening, drapes and curtains drawn during the swarming periods.

Spraying – spraying of recommended products with a proven success rate on the exterior of the home, on trees, bushes, plants, etc. for the exclusion of stink bugs is very effective. Products such as Demand CS are most effective when power sprayed over the entire exterior of the home. Include screens when spraying.  Remove window and door screens and prop against the house before spraying.  When you spray your home, the screens will also be treated.  Flip screens and spray both sides for best results.  Return screens to windows/doors when spray is dry (about 20 minutes).
 It is most effective to include the roof area and spouting/fascia.  Focus spraying around windows and doors and gable end vents. Spray where porches and garages are attached to the house.  Products like Demand CS do not provide immediate drop down elimination but SBs who walk on this product will die within a few hours. Buggslayer product can be used on outside shrubs and trees to reduce the stink bug population but it is (not recommended for the fruit and vegetable garden or other food products).

Taping – a temporary quick fix for screens, woodwork and other entry points. Painter’s tape and masking tape are effective for this task.

Scanning – what humans do upon entering a room, looking around the room for stink bugs that may be present.

Screens –  remove window and door screens before spraying house.  Prop the screens against the house and spray as usual, including the screens.  Flip them over to get both sides.  When dry (about 20 minutes) put the screens back in place.
Repair all window and door screens, ridge vent screens and gable end screens and vents.   Install fine screening inside central air cold air return vents, bathroom and kitchen exhausts.  Some individuals apply screening to the top of chimneys during the swarming period, but this must be removed before using the fireplace for safety reasons.

Spraying by stink bugs – is the release of a chemical when threatened, annoyed, crushed, or agitated in anyway.  ‘At will’ spraying has also been reported.  The smell of the spray is extremely unpleasant, difficult to remove and can last several hours to several days. It may also act as a beacon to other stink bugs or as a marker for where to return.

Resources: Dominion Pest Control service available in areas of Pennsylvania or products available online at http://www.dominionpestcontrol.com/ .  Buggslayer products available online at: http://www.buggslayer.com/ Do Your Own Pest Control products available at http://doyourownpestcontrol.com/ Talstar One at: http://www.pestproducts.com/talstaronebuidlings.htm

Window air conditioners – are preferred residences for stink bugs over the winter months allowing them to enter the home at will.  Removing window units by early September and storing them in large trash bags sealed with duct tape is effective. Not installing window units until after the spring swarm is advisable. You may wish to consider free standing units or split, ductless a/c units.