Make no mistake. The question of how to prevent stink bugs is one that is prominent on many peoples’ minds who live in areas that are heavily infested by these unwelcome insects. Stink bugs have increased from being just a mere problematic nuisance to being a full-scale all-out epidemic.
Having been introduced into the North American ecosystem a mere two decades ago after having evolved over the eons and remaining localized in southeast Asia, their population has grown at an explosively alarming rate. Over 38 states in the continental US are now home to thousands, if not millions, of this particular species of insect.
Whether your home has already succumb to a stink bug invasion or your garden is teeming with these uninvited guests, or your agricultural crops are falling prey to these vegan pests left and right, it is imperative that you realize that this war against the insect kingdom must be fought on not one but on two fronts:
1) Exterminating or extricating existing stink bugs that have already invaded your property.
2) Taking the preventative measures necessary in order to thwart the treat of subsequent influx of invaders intruding upon your property.
In other words, preventing an invading influx of fresh new stink bugs is every bit as important as fending off the threat of the existing ones that you already have to deal with. It is important not to stop paying attention to your efforts at prevention, even though you may erstwhile be busy having enough to deal with existing bugs that are already in your house.
And there are a number of very good reasons why you must not take your eye off the ball when it comes to the issue of prevention.
Let’s explore a few of them:
Reason #1) Forestalling The Aggregation Of Stink Bugs En Masse
You want to prevent the existing stink bugs in your home from attracting more of their brethren from among their same species to come and join them. Stink bugs are social insects. They emit what is known as an aggregation hormone. They use this to attract others of the same species to their location.
If you have stink bugs in your home, they can easily emit this hormone, and if they happen to be near an open window with a screen on it, the scent of this hormone (which is undetectable by humans) will reach the great outdoors.
If there happen to be other stink bugs nearby who are able to pick up this scent, they may follow it and will attempt to gain entry into your home.
Therefore, it would be in your best interests to focus your efforts on prevention, since it is entirely possible that existing stink bugs in your home may attract more.
Reason #2) Reducing The Threat To Your Garden
If you grow fruits and vegetables in a garden out in the yard surrounding your property, then you should be aware of the fact that stink bugs are 100% pure vegans. They thrive exclusively on fruits and vegetables. If they happen upon your garden and discover that you are growing fruits and vegetables there, then your garden will become a prime target for their feeding. No sooner will they discover your garden then these bugs will start to make themselves at home there and begin to devour it.
They do this by piercing the skin of the food they wish to eat and then sucking the juices from inside it. This renders the food inedible for humans. And of course if they happen to emit that putrid stench of theirs due to being frightened or whatnot, then you can bet that those odor-causing chemicals will get on the fruits as well.
Stink bugs are notorious for destroying gardens, and that is yet another reason why prevention is extremely important. You need to take the steps necessary in order to prevent stink bugs from attacking your garden.
Reason #3) Reducing The Risk Of Stink Bug Odor
If you thought that the putrid, odoriferous emanation that a single stink bug produces when you frighten it was noxious itself, wait till you smell the collective odor emanating from a whole colony of these little buggers. The stench magnifies exponentially with each stink bug.
Do you really want to have to deal with these fumes in your house? With enough highly concentrated stink bug odor, it could conceivably permanently become infused into your walls, your carpeting, your furniture, making it next to impossible to get rid of that smell, even long after you were to manage to exterminate all of them.
Therefore, it makes sense to want to prevent stink bugs from entering your home, since too many of them can make for an extremely unpleasant atmosphere at home that is not only unsightly but also repulsive to the olfactory senses.
Reason #4) Preventing Stink Bug Reproduction
Technically this is NOT a concern with respect to this particular species of insect. Research has shown that stink bugs will not reproduce indoors. They will typically only mate and then lay their eggs on the underside of leaves hanging from trees. So you can be assured that this is not a concern. Now whether or not this type of reproduction might take place on an indoor tree or houseplant remains to be seen.
Therefore, while this is not generally a concern, it is still something you need to be vigilant about in the context of justifying the need for prevention: If you have any trees or plants inside your house that receive ample sunlight, and the temperature inside your house is kept warm, it is theoretically conceivable that reproduction could occur indoors. But this is not generally the case.
Now that we have covered the various reasons why you need to be concerned about how to prevent stink bugs, let’s talk about the various methods to achieve this aim:
Method #1) Seal Off Any Gaps In Your House From The Outside
Stink bugs are notorious for being stubborn and persistent when it comes to gaining entry into our houses. Somehow they manage to slip through the cracks (pun intended) unnoticed, by means of stealth. And this may come across to you and to me as an amazing feat, considering that they aren’t exactly as minuscule as ants are.
Make it a point to inspect each and every single one of your windows for any gaps in the window screen, or between the screen and the window sill. Check and see if there are any cracks underneath the window sill. And if you have a window air conditioner, be sure to inspect it for any gaps between the unit and the wall through which they might be able to slip through.
Also check the same at other potential entry points to your house such as the front or back doors, or a cellar door. Also be wary of any cracks in the foundation through which these bugs might be able to slip through.
If you find any such gaps, you may be able to seal them off permanently with something as simple as either duct tape, caulk, or perhaps if the situation warrants it, a combination of both.
And if you don’t already have an insect-proof mesh covering your dryer exhaust vent, or your kitchen or bathroom exhaust vents, then you would be wise to get one installed over these vents leading outside of your house. Otherwise, you are leaving a gaping hole for stink bugs to come right through. The heat that emanates from these exhaust vents is enough to attract and lure stink bugs into your home.
Method #2) Close Your Blinds Or Curtains At Night
One of the distinguishing behavioral characteristics of stink bugs is that they are attracted to sources of light and heat, as opposed to various other types of insects that may prefer cold and dark places.
Therefore, one of the ways that stink bugs gain access into our homes unbeknownst to us is when they are flying by your house and happen upon a window through which light is shining. They will venture toward the window, and once they are perched there, and they detect the heat signature of the light source, they will eventually seek out a means to gain entry into your home through any gaps or crack near the window.
So therefore in order to prevent stink bugs from taking advantage of this situation and using it to infiltrate your home, you must take the proactive, preventative measure of being disciplined about closing your blinds and / or your curtains after dark. If possible, you should use opaque window coverings through which very little to no light can permeate. This way stink bugs from the outside will not catch on that there is a light source for them to flock towards.
Method #3) Cover Your Produce
Never leave the fruits and vegetables that you are growing in your garden exposed, lest stink bugs might descend upon them and start helping themselves to feed upon them.
One thing you can do is cover your produce underneath a transparent mesh that allows sunlight, wind, and rain to get through, but keeps stink bugs out.
You can also house your garden or crops in a greenhouse which provides them with shelter against stink bugs as well.
Another means to prevent stink bug invasions is to set up traps near your produce. The traps can use either a light source as bait, or a piece of fruit that you don’t mind losing to them, or a specialized unit that emits stink bug aggregation pheromones, to lure them toward the trap.
The trap itself can either consist of fly paper, a chemical housecleaning agent that they might drown in, or could be an enclosure from which entry is easy but escape is difficult.
If you are indoors but you keep your windows open, and you keep fruit out on the table in the kitchen, the aroma from the fruit might attract stink bugs from outside to come toward your house. So if keeping your windows shut is not an option for you, then you may want to consider covering or refrigerating your fruits as a means of tempting stink bugs. Otherwise you would be extending an open invitation for them to come into your house for a delectable vegan dinner!
Method #4) Thoroughly Cleanse Any Item That May Have Been Infused With Stink Bug Odor
One very important step that you can and must take in order to prevent the onslaught of subsequent stink bug invasions is to thoroughly cleanse any furniture items, walls, flooring, or any physical objects that the stink bug may have come in contact with.
While this may sound like a bit of overkill, you should consider the alternative: By allowing the residual scent of either the stink bug stench or the stink bug aggregation pheromone to linger, it will only increase the odds that other stink bugs will detect the scent and will attempt to home in on it, thereby increasing the stink bug population within or near your home.
Method #5) Dispose of Dead Stink Bugs Properly and Responsibly
Whether you squash a stink bug, you spray it with dish soap, you vacuum it up, you lure it into a bug zapper light, or kill it through any other means, disposal of dead stink bugs is something that must be handled with great care. You must take deliberate steps to ensure that they are disposed of properly. And that means doing so in a manner that isolates any trace of its odor and precludes any possibility of its odor from reaching other stink bugs.
Failure to take the necessary precautions during the disposal process can actually backfire, thereby undermining your efforts at preemptively safeguarding your home against future invasions by new stink bugs.
When disposing of stink bugs, don’t just dump them into an open trash can. Your first preference should be to flush them down the toilet.
Otherwise, what you should do is dump them into an airtight container or into a carefully wrapped and sealed bag.
If you have a bagless vacuum, be sure that you empty it out into a bag that you can then carefully tie up and shut properly.
Whatever preventative measures you can take to prevent exposure of the stink bug cadaver to the air, the better, as it will reduce the risk of attracting other stink bugs to the scent of the deceased one.
Method #6) Set Outdoor Traps Near The Perimeter Of Your Property To Fend Off Stink Bugs
Ultimately, one method for how to prevent stink bugs from invading your property is to guard the perimeter of your property using various forms of traps specifically designed to attract them and lure them into the trap. By diverting their attention away from your home and toward the trap, you will have one sure-fire way how to prevent stink bugs from infiltrating your home.
One example of such a trap would be to use a light-zapper. Stink bugs are attracted to light, and so if you have this on in your back yard at night, they will naturally be inclined to fly toward it, seeking what they perceive to be warmth from the light source… only to be zapped in the process.
Another example of such a trap would be to use fly-paper that is laden with the infused scent of stink bug aggregation hormone. This will also lure stink bugs toward that… and when they land on the fly paper, their legs will get stuck to it and they will not be able to escape.
You can also set up a stink bug trap that involves fruit or vegetables, since stink bugs thrive on vegetarian items.
Once they enter the trap and are killed or immobilized, you can then take the necessary measures to dispose of them in the proper manner.
Do NOT Use Pesticides Except As a Last Resort
There is much debate about whether or not you should use pesticides as a means of exterminating insects, let alone stink bugs themselves. The chemicals used in pesticides are not only lethal to insects but can also cause undue harm to household pets, can cause collateral damage to property, can harm other innocent animals, and can even cause irritation for babies, young children, and even to adults in some cases. Is it worth it? Perhaps only as a last resort if all else fails.
The bottom line is that there are many ways how to prevent stink bugs that you should avail yourself of. This website is choc full of informative articles and resources on how to deal with the stink bug problem.