Anyone who hates the creepy crawlies will automatically be repelled by stink bugs. But if stink bugs are one of your pet peeves, it’s you vs. them.
As the name suggests, stink bugs are known for the extremely foul-smelling substance that they emit when they feel alarmed or threatened. In the wild, this protects them from predators. A single stink bug can make any room smell like a cross between a skunk and cilantro. The worst of all, you can not kill them for the fear of the awful smell. Getting rid of stink bugs is quite a task!
Active throughout the warm weather, stink bugs gravitate toward buildings in the fall to find warmth and shelter in the cracks, crevices and walls. Attracted by light, they swarm into households in large numbers.
Stink bugs are also considered agricultural pests, as they tend to suck the sap out of the crops and cause a lot of damage. Apples, peaches, blackberries, soybeans, tomatoes, corn and green peppers risk a lot of damage if exposed to a stink bug infestation. They even feed on weeds and can destroy ornamental plants.
Squashing and killing the bugs is not a solution. It will release the most potent smell that will linger for days on your shoes and the surface you crushed them on.
Pesticides are completely useless when it comes to stink bug control. They tend to cause more harm than any advantage they might provide in extermination.
Trapping is the best way to deal with stink bugs. But if you need to tackle a large number of swarming bugs, a homemade soap spray is good for the kill.
Read on for simple methods to keep your abode free from stink bugs in a natural, but inexpensive way.
- Method 1: DIY Trap
- Method 2: DIY Spray
- Method 3: Basic Cleaning
Method 1: DIY Trap
A DIY trap is, by far, the best no-contact way to dispose of the stink bugs around your house. While pre-made stink bug traps are available in the market, they are often expensive and have complicated mechanisms. Homemade traps are easy as well as inexpensive to make. Like most bug traps, this one uses bait that leads into the trap.
Stink bugs can easily be lured with light, as it promises them warmth. A plain, old soda bottle can work as the trap. An inverted, cut-off bottle neck allows the bugs to fly in to get to the light source, but leaves them unable to fly back out. The insides of the bottle prove too slippery for them to crawl out.
The base of the bottle is made opaque with black tape, so that the light source is only visible from the entrance. Otherwise, guided by the stimulus of light, the bugs will simply bang against the base of the bottle with barely a few of them actually getting in.
To allow the maximum number of bugs into the trap, the four vertical strips of tape will act as crawl-paths that the bugs can grip onto.
Things you’ll need:
- Plastic 2-liter bottle
- Black electrical tape
- Craft knife
- LED light, small enough to fit into the bottle
Step 1. Cut the bottle at its neck
- Cut a 2-liter plastic soda bottle at its neck with a craft knife.
- Remove the cut-off neck of the bottle and set it aside.
Step 2. Cover the base of the bottle with tape and affix four tape strips
- Wrap black electrical tape around the base of the bottle to render it completely opaque. Mask the bottle up to 3 inches from the base.
- Apply four strips of the tape vertically as well. These tape strips should be placed at equal distances from each other.
Step 3. Install the light
- Make a small cut in the bottom of the bottle to let the wiring through.
- Insert the LED light into the bottle with the “light” side facing upward.
- Pull the wiring out through the hole made in the bottom.
- If you’re using a battery-operated LED light, you won’t need to cut the bottom of the bottle. All you need to do is insert the light into the bottle with the right side up.
Step 4. Secure the inverted neck of the bottle
- Invert the cut-off neck of the bottle and place it over the top of the bottle.
- Secure it in place with the black tape.
Step 5. Switch on the light to trap stink bugs
- Place the trap indoors or outdoors, wherever there is a stink bug menace. If using indoors, close off the area so the bugs can’t escape to another room.
- Turn off the surrounding lights so that it’s quite dark before switching on the light inside the bottle. Outside, it’s best to use this trap after the sun sets.
- If you used a battery-operated LED, you’ll need a stick to switch it on. Otherwise, you can just connect the wiring to a power source to switch it on.
- The next morning, carefully dispose of the trapped bugs.
Method 2: DIY Spray
A standard dish soap and vinegar spray is effective in eliminating a variety of bugs, including stink bugs. This spray kills the bugs on contact. While not as effective as a preventive measure, it can come in real handy if you have a lot of stinkers buzzing around. Be sure to have a quick disposal method ready for the dead bugs.
Things you’ll need:
- Hot water – 1 cup
- White vinegar – 2 tablespoons
- Liquid dish soap – 1 tablespoon
- Spray bottle
Step 1. Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle
- Pour 1 cup of hot water into a spray bottle. To avoid spilling the liquids, you may use a funnel.
- Pour in 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.
- Add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap to it.
- Put on the cap of the spray bottle and give it a couple of shakes to mix the ingredients completely.
Step 2. Eliminate the stink bugs with the DIY spray
- Spray the solution directly on the stink bugs to kill them.
- With gloved hands, dispose of the dead stink bugs in sealed garbage bags, as their carcasses will invite other pests and you’ll have to deal with another infestation.
Method 3: Basic Cleaning
Basic cleaning can help you eliminate the stink bugs’ hiding spots and keep their population in check. A vacuum cleaner is your best bet to catch a multitude of these bugs without having to touch them. Never use a bagless vacuum cleaner for this job, as it will become too stinky for future use, possibly making you think about discarding it.
- Since you may have to handle a bug or two, it’s wise to wear cleaning gloves while doing this job. The gloves will protect your hands from their bite and the stinky substance that they emit when threatened.
- It’s best to do this at night when it’s dark and you can use a light source like a flashlight to attract them.
- Indoors, look for them near floorboards and other cracks and crevices. Crawl spaces, wall voids and attics are their favorite places to hide.
- Outdoors, you’ll find them under ground cover, stones and weeds.
- Once you’ve caught your prey for the night, seal the vacuum bag filled with stink bugs and carefully dispose of it away from your house.
- The DIY spray can also be made as a trap. Just pour the solution into a container and fix an LED lamp so that it shines on it. It will attract the stink bugs searching for warmth and light and drown them on contact.
- You can add essential oils to the DIY bug spray to counter the stink of the bugs.
- To prevent the stink bugs from entering your household, seal all the cracks and crevices that can serve as an entrance for the bugs. Doors, windows, siding, utility pipes and space behind chimneys should be thoroughly checked for cracks.
- Rub the screens of doors and windows with fresh dryer sheets to deter the stink bugs from entering your home.
- In the prime season of stink bugs, squash a few of them outdoors, surrounding the premises of your house. The stinky odor of alarm will deter other bugs by prompting them to flee.
- Hang a damp towel just outside your house after sunset in the prime season. By the time morning rolls around, you’ll find the towel covered with stink bugs. Dunk the towel into a tub of hot soapy water with gloved hands to kill the bugs. Use an old towel that you can discard after completing this job.
- During the winters, lone stink bugs found indoors can be caught with gloved hands as they’re slow moving. Before they feel threatened and start stinking, throw them out in the freezing weather or flush them in the toilet.