The stink bug, also known as the brown marmorated stink bug, is native to Asia, specifically China, Japan and Korea. Accidentally brought to the United States in the late 1990s—most likely in a shipping container—it has since become a pest of agricultural crops and a nuisance in homes and buildings, starting in Pennsylvania.
These little brownish or greenish critters belong to the Pentatomidae family, and they're aptly named for their ability to emit a foul-smelling, coriander-like odor when threatened or disturbed. Don't let their semi-cute, shield-shaped bodies and long antennae fool you—stink bugs can wreak havoc on your plants, fruits and vegetables, and they have a knack for finding their way into your home when the weather turns cold and then attempting to overwinter there.
To your advantage, they are not good fliers. They have a clumsy and slow flight pattern and they tend to fly close to the ground. They can fly short distances, but are not strong flyers and can be easily blown off course by wind. Stink bugs primarily use their wings to move from one location to another, such as to find food or a mate.
What attracts stink bugs?
Stink bugs are attracted to a variety of things, including:
Stink bugs will often gather near windows and other light sources in homes and buildings.
Stink bugs will seek out warm places to hibernate during the fall and winter months.
Stink bugs are herbivores and will seek out plants and vegetation, particularly fruits, vegetables and grains. They can be a major pest of agricultural crops.
Stink bugs can be found in damp areas like basements and crawl spaces.
Stink bugs release pheromones to attract mates and communicate with other stink bugs. These scents can also attract other stink bugs to the area.
What do stink bugs eat?
Stink bugs are plant-eaters by nature. Outdoors, they can be found in fields, orchards and gardens, depleting the moisture from (and thus damaging) a wide range of crops. These pesky bugs have no dietary restrictions, and they'll happily feed on fruits, vegetables and grains, as well as ornamental plants and weeds. They use their piercing, straw-like mouthparts to puncture the skin of plants and suck out the sweet plant juices. But their feeding frenzy can cause serious damage, resulting in unsightly blemishes and reduced yield and quality of fruits and vegetables. Soybeans, corn, tomatoes and peaches are just a few of the crops that are commonly attacked by these little bandits.
In your house, they’re not apt to eat much of anything, as their dietary preferences are for those of (outdoor) crops and plants. They may take a nibble on indoor plants or snack on any fruits or vegetables that happen to be left on the counter, but these are not common occurrences. In fact, they are more likely to die of starvation or dehydration than to find a satisfying meal inside your home. Best to keep them out altogether, though, don’t you think?
Do stink bugs bite?
Stink bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts that are not designed for biting people or animals, so stink bugs are not considered to be a biting insect. However, if a stink bug is handled or feels threatened, it may use its mouthparts to defend itself, which can result in a pinch or a small prick.
Is it OK to kill stink bugs?
Well, this is a question that only you, my dear, can answer. I am here to provide you with facts and information. Though, it would be my personal recommendation—if you do in fact decide to kill a stink bug—not to do so within the confines of your home. Squishing or crushing one of these little beasties can release their most unpleasant odor, so it is best to avoid this method if possible.
It is quite interesting to note, though, that stink bugs will not reproduce within your home. So, let that concern be put to rest. If you happen to have an infestation, as stink bugs tend to congregate in large numbers and can lay up to five generations in one year—if the temperature is warm enough, it will not be in your home. Keep those shrubs trimmed, remove any vegetation near the foundation of your home and make sure that those crawl spaces are sealed, friend.
How do I get rid of stink bugs?
There are five different ways to get rid of stink bugs:
The most effective and humane method is to simply capture and release this bug outdoors. As a stink bug won’t harm you, there’s no reason why you can’t gently sweep one up in a dustpan or pick it up with a tissue and place it outdoors.
If you’re concerned about disturbing a stink bug, knowing that it can release its foul-smelling odor when feeling threatened or disturbed, you may want to use a vacuum cleaner to vacuum one up in your house. This is the most common method, as it allows you to dispose of the stink bug without coming into contact with it.
Seal entry points
If you have any cracks, crevices or other minute entry points that stink bugs can use to enter your home, this may be how they are getting in. Use caulk or weatherstripping.
Make a DIY stink bug garlic spray
To do so, follow these steps:
- Crush several garlic cloves and mix them with water.
- Allow the mixture to sit for a day or two, allowing the garlic to infuse the water.
- Strain the mixture to remove any solids, and pour it into a spray bottle.
- Spray the mixture directly on the stink bugs and around the areas where they are commonly found, such as window sills and door frames.
- Repeat the process every few days until the stink bug infestation has been eliminated.
Use Dr. Killigan's Six Feet Under Non-Toxic Insect Spray
Dr. Killigan’s Six Feet Under is the best non-toxic, insect-killing spray on the market. Expertly crafted with clove and cinnamon essential oils, it has been proven to eliminate stink bugs, and fast. Spray and then throw a party. The stink bugs are gone.