Now that the weather is cooling, there’s a good chance you may encounter a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (or Halyomorpha Halys if you want the scientific name!). An invasive species originating from China and Japan, these largely harmless bugs get in through damaged screens, crawl spaces, and door and window gaps. They will not bite, but they do release an extremely unpleasant odor when injured, upset, or killed. For this reason, large groups of stink bugs can be quite a disturbing nuisance. Sealing cracks around doors and windows with a quality silicone or silicone latex caulk is a good first step toward preventing a stink bug infestation. Stink bugs also enter homes through chimneys, openings around pipes, and underneath the wood fascia. Anywhere there is a crack they’ll try to get in.
Stink bugs have spread to 44 states and can damage both fruits and vegetable plantings. On a large scale, they have caused agricultural damage; but in your yard, they will be attracted to vegetable gardens and can even be attracted to the plants inside of your home. They will not damage your home’s structure, however, so there is little need to worry in the way you would when you see a termite.
Ripe fruit attracts stink bugs, so if you have fruit-bearing trees or vines outside be sure to harvest them in a timely fashion and don’t let them rot on the vine. Keeping your garden free of decomposing debris is another way to help keep stink bugs at bay as they like hiding in decaying vegetable matter. To further repel stink bugs, you can out-stink the little stinkers by planting smelly flowers! Autumn flowers such as marigold and chrysanthemum will repel them with scents that most people don’t find unpleasant in the least.
For stink bug control prevention is everything; but in the event that they do get into your home, proceed with caution if you don’t want to encounter a stink that has been described as everything from dirty socks to skunks.
The easiest way to dispose of stink bugs is to use your vacuum cleaner, though your vacuum may not smell very good after you do so. There are also stink bug traps available at hardware stores if you’re not the hands-on type. Flushing them down the toilet is another option if you can catch them without upsetting them too much. Whichever way you take care of the problem, just remember stink bugs won’t hurt you or your pets, so don’t panic!