How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

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Learn How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

Named for its stinky smell, especially when stepped on, the brown marble stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is relatively new to the United States. Known to entomologists as BMSB, this invasive species of bed bugs are believed to have been brought from China to the eastern United States, Japan, Korea, and/or Taiwan in the late 1990s. It can be emitted by insects when disturbed. Some say it smells like coriander; others liken it to stinky feet.

Bed bugs are becoming more than just a nuisance pest in agricultural areas of the eastern United States. Like bed bugs and box bugs, they do not breed indoors, cause internal damage, or harm humans.

But bed bugs can be a real nuisance and cause alarm when they appear in numbers in curtains, blinds, or lights, or when they buzz around your head. They enter a home through cracks, crevices, and other openings and then enter our living areas when they feel the warmth from within.

In the garden and home landscape, bed bugs can damage trees, shrubs, and vines. Although they prefer wild plants, bed bugs eat more than 100 different varieties of vegetation. The insect's needle-like mouth pierces fruits, seeds, and other parts of the plant to feed on its nutrients.

The amount of damage to the plant depends on the stage of development in which the insect has fed. The bed bug can also transmit fungal diseases to plants while feeding.

Marbled stink bugs have shield-shaped bodies with a grayish-brown color. This species is easily identifiable by its dark antennae with distinct white markings. Adults are 1/2 to 3/4 inch long.

Young bed bugs are similar in shape but are more rounded and can be black or light green. Although brown marble is the most common bed bug in the US, a green variety of bed bugs can also be found in the southeastern and south-central states.

4 Ways to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

As pests that are only a nuisance indoors and generally do not cause significant damage to home gardens and garden plants, bed bugs generally do not require chemical treatment.

Insecticides have a limited effect on bed bug populations and offer short-term benefits, so chemical treatments must be reapplied frequently. Therefore, infestations in the home are generally controlled with basic methods of elimination.


Vacuum and flush any bed bugs inside (or flush them down the toilet). Dead insects can attract other predatory insects, such as carpet beetles, so it is important to get rid of them quickly.


The simplest way to reduce the number of bed bugs in your home is to catch them with your hands and throw them away, or kill them and throw them away.

However, some people may have skin sensitivity to insects; if that's you, wear gloves when dealing with insects. Kill them by dropping them into a bucket or other container of soapy water to drown them.


Set up a simple trap using an aluminum baking dish (or other container made of reflective material. Fill the baking dish with 1 to 2 inches of water mixed with dish detergent.

Place a bright light (a clip light works well) in which it glows at the bottom of the pot, creating a glowing reflection. Insects fly into the light and land in the water, where they drown. Traps only work in limited areas but can help you remove them automatically.


Spraying insecticides by a licensed professional can provide some insect control on exterior walls. Since the sun and weather can break down the insecticide, it will only be effective for a few days to a week, depending on the weather.

If insects enter, entomologists do not recommend the use of insecticides. It is best to follow insecticide-free practices.

What Causes Stink Bugs?

Like boxelder insects and Asian beetles, stink insects concentrate on the exterior walls of buildings in the fall, searching for hidden areas to spend the winter. They can also be a nuisance in spring when they move indoors, and in summer, when they feed on vegetation and crops.

Adult bed bugs can hibernate under the cover of boards, boxes, firewood, shrubs, leaves, tree bark, and other yard debris. They come in spring to feed.

Although damage to garden plants is largely cosmetic (not lethal to plants), bed bugs can ruin homegrown fruit and vegetable crops, as well as some ornamental plants if fed in large numbers. Common garden plants that attack include:

How to Prevent Stink Bugs

The best defense against indoor bed bugs is to inspect the exterior of your home to find and seal all cracks and openings larger than 1/8 inch. Caulk around pipes, cables, and other wall penetrations.

Repair broken windows and door screens, make sure doors and windows close properly and use caulk that will seal all gaps.

Clean up your yard, especially in the fall, to prevent stink bugs from having places to overwinter. Remove piles of fallen leaves, bark and branches, and even overgrown weeds, all of which can provide shelter.

If necessary, prevent bed bugs from reaching garden plants by covering them with mortises or fine mesh. Covers must be complete, without holes or cracks in the floor. Since caps can prevent pollinators from reaching plants, be careful where and when to use them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Stink Bugs Harm Indoor Plants?

It is not common for BMSB to harm most indoor plants, but be aware if you have fruit plants indoors. Bed bugs often choose fruits to eat over other non-fruiting parts or plants.

Do Stink Bugs Have Predators?

There are no known natural predators of BMSB. Some birds can eat them, but this is not a reliable or predictable control method. The odor that bed bugs excrete is an effective deterrent to many potential insect predators.

How Do I Know If Stink Bugs Are Eating My Plants?

Bed bug damage to fruit often appears as brown or dead spots on the skin and pulp underneath. The leaves develop similar brown or dead spots. Fruit damage can also take the form of watery lesions and even in the face of cats, a surface wrinkle caused by scars that grow as the fruit ripens.

Enjoy This Video Tutorial About How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs (4 Easy Steps)

Source: Solutions Pest & Lawn

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