My Personal War with Stink Bugs in Pennsylvania

Posted: September 22, 2010 in Uncategorized
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I’ve been vacuuming them up all day into an insecticide laden vacuum canister and am pissed as hell that I’ve spent so much time on this.  They just keep on buzzing and landing and stinking.  Although I’m among the few folks who just can’t smell them, the rest of the family does.

I put down a pan of soapy water and several have kamakazied in and died within a half minute– my grandson timed several of their deaths.

I tacked down some felt window insulation strips after I soaked them with insecticide.  Tape around the windows works and 2-way tape sticks them like dinosaurs in a tar pit.

Only got one or two in my own rooms downstairs since then, but upstairs in the living room with a big picture window, they are gathering like born-agains at the rapture.

I’m going to try cedar oil and/or mothballs this week.  And I have 3 flea and tick bombs for the attic.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll get a more powerful insecticide online.  Pennsylvania doesn’t allow folks strong bug killers, but the Insecticide Police aren’t as bad as the PA Wine & Spirits Police who forbid even a tiny airplane bottle to cross state lines, even though it’s the same country.

Several folks think it’s benign to “catch and release” as if the bugs were trout in a protected river.  They seem to  think they are somehow protecting their karma and saving the earth.  They don’t get it.  That one egg laying bug could be the matriarch to a million descendants. The stink bug is like the cockroach and we need to kill them and not release them so they can multiply.

My favorite was the guy online who kills Stink Bugs with a propane torch. Ouch!  I wonder if he still has a house.

I think the most important thing folks can do this fall is to bomb their attics.  They swarm in the fall and an attic is perfect for them to hide, mate or do whatever they do in winter.  Also check houseplants and outside foliage for eggs under the leaves.

The eggs often hatch in mulch so maybe a squirt of soapy or insecticide water in the flower bed might help.  Fill any gaps in your screens, masonry or where electrical wires enter the house. They can squeeze themselves flat.  Duct tape works.

Stink bugs the common name for bugs in the Pentatomidae family. They emit small amounts of a noxious substance from glands under their bodies to deter predators and send signals to other stink bugs. So if you whack them, their stink will lure others.

If you have stink bugs in your garden, the first thing you should do is remove weeds, because the bugs can use the weeds as a cover.

To deter the bugs from your house, remove weeds and foliage near the house. This forces them to cross barren ground to gain access to a structure. Afterwards, you can try scattering kaolin clay around the area, or spray your plants with a kaolin clay solution. Stink bugs are not able to lay eggs and feed on plants covered in this harmless mineral clay, which can simply be washed off any vegetables and fruits.

The info below has been gathered from contributors online in various forums.  I can only speak for what works for me and the results aren’t in yet.  Use the suggestions below with caution:

1. Organic insecticide soaps

2. Use caulk to seal the house thoroughly, paying special attention to the areas where stink bugs are crawling through.

3. Use a vacuum to suck up the bugs; you don’t want to crush or kill them, because this could attract more stink bugs and feed other insect populations in your house. Once you have pulled as many stink bugs out of the house as possible, empty the vacuum canister outside, or throw out the bag. You may need to repeat this process several times if the bugs are in the walls.

4. Use three inch clear tape around exterior storm doors sealing all of the access holes then sprayed the around outside windows with max defense bug spray.

5. A yard stick and attached very wide sticky duct tape and wrapped it on the end of the stick. It is effective, safe and easy to reach to collect the bugs that are inside without getting out the step stool. When the tape is full fold it over and toss it. The other end of the yard stick is great to push the bugs out of hard to get places and then catch them with the other end with the tape! It’s great revenge. They don’t emit the stink after using the tape. Try it! Save your vacuum bags and water. This is easy, simple and very effective.

6 Cut off a milk carton, filled 1/2 way with water and add palmolive green (fantastic, detergent). It kills them immediately (also works for fleas). I then dump them in the woods. Funny thing, I approach them with my container under where they are sitting and they jump in! I have found that they have nested in the framework of our sliding screens and can hear they drop when I slam them. –

7  The jar with a little water and cleanser (Fantastik or dish soap) works great. I place the jar right under the bugs and they fall right in to drown. Put the lid back on quickly to keep the smell inside the jar. I’ve easily killed 50-60 in one jar in ten minutes.soapy water will kill a stink bug in about 30 second

8 the screens on the windows,  white or gray duct tape and tape the edges of the screens to prevent them from squeezing their way through the edges.

9 make a cap and use screen to keep them from crawling in dryer vents.

10 Hartz UltraGuard Plus Flea and Tick Spray for Cats

11 To clean stink off your hands use Bon-Ami.

12. To help keep them away from your home, first clean the exterior with Trisodium Phosphate or a greener version, then, after it is well dried, spray the exterior with 50-50 bleach and if you really want to do it right spray with Talstar: 1 oz-1 gal. I have only had two or three this summer inside and am just starting to re-treat outside.

13. You have to get rid of the scent that they leave for their buds.

14. They winter over in attics, but they roost on fruit trees.

15. Hire a qualified pest control company that knows how to deal with them.

16. Using “green” products is usually more effective.

17. Power spraying your entire house with Eco Exempt II is highly effective, but surrounding trees and bushes need to be treated as well.

18. Treat the attic in late september and october.

19. Spray the exterior of the house in spring and summer, along with trees and bushes.

20. They also will roost in an unused chimney, and fly down into the rooms.

21. I have seen them inside wall insulation as well. If this happens, you need to dust all cracks and crevices in the interior of house to kill them before they cross into the house interior rooms.

22.  a well qualified professional can handle them. If your control company says they cannot, you need to call another one.

23.  Has anyone tried Neem oil? I spray my tomatoes with a safer soap/neem oil mixture every week and it does a pretty good job. This, accompanied by handpicking and throwing them in a quart plastic container of soapy water (they are helpless once they hit the suds) works great – but you must keep up with them every week!

24.  They were wiping out my tomatoes, but I found something that kills them! ortho insecticidal soap. And it knocks those huge leaf footed bugs dead also,along with their orange spawn. I hate having to use any kind of spray but when we kept having our garden wiped out by these things, I had to find something!

25.  One of the best products to get rid of stink bugs and Asian beetles (similar to lady bugs) Talstar – sold at Southern States and Agway stores. Costs about $28 a pint – mix one ounce per gallon of water in sprayer. It is odorless and seems to do the job for 4-6 months. I have used it at our timber frame home in Central VA for three years with excellent results. It is EPA approved for inside and outside use. As always, read the label and follow the instruction frames.

26. when i see one i get some of my perfume and spray it so it can’t fly anymore then i get the windex out (remember the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding?) and spray them and that works every time for me. so i dont have to deal with their smell and i don’t have to touch it or pick it up with something.

27.  Wow! These things are like Bush. Even after they’re gone they still cause all sorts of pain and grief.

28.  I use a 3-4” strip of *good* duct tape, not cheap dollar store stuff. The good stuff is far stickier on contact than the cheap stuff. When I see one I lightly touch the tape to it so it sticks, kind of like fly paper. When it is stuck to the tape I fold the tape over, entombing it (and the stink) forever. Hehehe.Then I throw it in the garbage, or set it on fire, depending on my level of motivation and anger.

29.  These bugs are not that harmless. They may bite, their smelly chemicals are very corrosive, causing burn-like effects, at least on my skin. They drink my house-plants juices, leaving black spots on leaves. They are not my friends.

30.  a zip-lock bag when I find them. It works flawlessly!

31. Stink bugs can be easily scooped and don’t emit an odor when they die of starvation. Store the bag out of sight when not in use and you can throw it away whenever you feel it is disgusting.

32. i was wondering if anyone knows if they hate mothballs or anything i can put around my window or where i think they come in so maybe they will stay out.

33.  Seal cracks around your windows and doors – caulk – (don’t forget the basement windows and hatch way).

34.  Any utility wire or piping holes need to be sealed up tightly. No window ac units. Stink bugs will start infesting by the end of the fall.

35.  spray your plants and grass with a soap and water solution; it will dehydrate most bugs and kill them without chemicals.

36.  Mesh screen for attic vent/ridge vent

37. SB’s are attracted to light so close drapes at night, turn out porch lights, and etc.

38. Exterior insecticide quarterly treatments applied in the early fall containing synthetic pyrethroids like deltamethrin or demand cs in attic, where they generally hibernate.

39.  Have the exterminator power spray your house on all four sides from roofline to foundation with a heavy concentration on windows, doors, and chimneys.

40.  There is a product called “The Bug Vacuum” which works great on stink bugs. We have lots of stink bugs which get into our screened porch.This product sucks in the stink bug and quickly zaps it. Once dead you can remove the bug by shaking it out of the vacuum. We have been using it for about a month now, and it works like a charm — also good on other pests. Hope this helps some of you – it is worth the price of about $40.00.

41.  I feed them to my koi and they eat them — yum!

42. It’s important to seal all the cracks and reduce the size of the openings around your house – it’s how they get in. After that, there are some barrier chemicals you can use in the secondary openings (things like recessed light fixtures, whole house fan openings, light switch and receptacle boxes, and so forth, and so on), but mostly it’s about sealing the outside.

43. The color of my house is grey. My immediate neighbors’ homes are white and off-white. Clearly, there are many more stink bugs sunbathing on my home. I’m wondering, are they attracted to my home for the camouflage affect? Should I paint my house white?

44.  You can control stink bugs, though my rule is professional pesticides must be applied many times during the fall swarming. Without them you have to get used to living with them. Demand CS, Suspend SC and Talstar P will kill them slowly, but it will kill them. Also you must dust your attic with Delta dust or Tempo dust and lastly seal, seal caulk and seal and then again.

45. I have not found anything that gets rid of stinkbugs. I have tried everything and have paid tons of money for every possible way to get rid of these things. I have a propane torch around the house to burn them. Insane bug, the inventor of the pesticide will be a rich!

46. I was so surprised to read the comment from Loudoun Co., VA. I too live in a log cabin in Loudoun Co., VA. A 200 year old, historic delight – but the stink bugs are making me crazy! I also have a large shed on my property that is a stink bug magnet. I tried Cyonara 9.7, but it worked only for a short time and I am now having problems with them again. I have looked at the “Stink Bug Control Package” from Dominion Pest Control; Dominion Pest Control Products & Services. They appear reputable; provide a short video and additional information about the problem. Anyone else have any other ideas? I am looking for anything that will help.

47.  We’re going nuts in Loudoun Co., VA with the stink bugs!I live in a very old log cabin and sealing all cracks around doors or windows are impossible. Glad to hear about the cedar oil. I’m going to give it a try. Putting the stink bugs in a jar with fingernail polish remover after in home capture and then flushing down the toilet works. Being on a drainfield and well makes for water conservation in this method. I heard that they are a predator of what looks like a ladybug (it isn’t) that usually invades in vast numbers during the fall. Haven’t seen any of those this year. Anyone know about that?

49.  Cedar spray will kill stinkbugs and you can purchase online. it is non toxic to pets and humans, leaves a pleasant smell, and it also kills fleas, ticks and a host of other pests.

50.  soak your hands in lemon juice to remove stain and smell. Does anyone know if moth balls or cedar chips will keep them from nesting in my attic this fall?

51. Flushing down the toilet doesn’t work well, they can survive in water for long periods of time.

52. Zap them with an electric flyswatter and then vacuum them up.

53. I spent some hours removing stink bugs from lemon trees using gloves ! Well should of put plastic underneath ! I now have orange hands. My question is how do i remove it ? Or do i not ? Have tried all the normal things. Can any one help??

  1. Audrey says:

    I have a log home in Virginia to and the stink bugs are out of control! I live in a very wooded area so I don’t know if that makes it worst. I got so desperate this week I called Orkin Pest Control and they said they had something new for stink bugs and I thought what the heck I will give it a try. Don’t do it! They sprayed the outside and I swear they doubled inside my house. I got home yesterday and not only are they all over the outside where they sprayed I had over 200 in my house!!! It took hours to catch them all and my house STINKS. I will try some of the advice on this site and pray it works. Thanks

  2. Kathi Watts says:

    Well… it’s not even spring and stink bugs are already on the rise here in VA. They are invading our screen porch. We’d like to use it this year and don’t intend to spend all of our time out there with the shop vac in hand. I’m glad I saw your suggestions. I think we’ll need to try using Gorilla tape around the edges of our screens to block them from coming inside the porch. I hope it helps. Good luck to you all in PA. I think you received the first shipments of stink bugs from China, so you are well ahead of us with the population problem.

  3. Elli Seymour says:

    First I have to say that I am highly amused by your sense of humor, but more importantly I am impressed with your information and am ready to fight on these little bastards tomorrow. I live in central PA and have had about 300 on the outside of my house today and need to find a remedy before I go completely insane. I don’t have any inside my house, just on the outside eagerly waiting to attack me when I leave. I have heard a few other home remedies like:

    1 1:2 ratio essence oil and water in a spray bottle
    2 1/4 cup Dawn dish liquid 1/4 cup vinegar 1/4 herbal tea water
    3 cigarette or tobacco water in a spray bottle
    4 garlic cloves and garlic water

    Thanks for all your tips along with the amusing literature (i especially liked #27).

  4. Terri says:

    Ok I have a log cabin and they keep dive bombing me at night. They are so gross. We drop them in the wood stove to fry them. I’m going to try the dish soap and water. Then fill all the cracks. But I don’t feel we have any.

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