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Figure 3. Adult brown stink bug

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – There are many wonderful characteristics of fall, but stink bugs are not one of them. As temperatures drop, stink bugs and other cold-blooded bugs begin to find their way indoors. While they are harmless to people and pets, their stench and constant presence is enough to want to keep them out.

Alabama Extension Specialist Xing Ping Hu has the inside scoop to avoid the stink bug invasion this fall.

What’s That Smell?

Stink bugs will enter homes by any means necessary when temperatures begin to drop.

“They can be found in large numbers on the outsides of buildings or inside near doors, windowsills and other entry points,” Hu said. “They do so to search for wintering sites.”

If any crack or crevice is present, they will find it. For example, around windows and doors, under or behind baseboards, trim, attics and underneath beds and sofas are the perfect spot for stink bugs. They will quickly begin to congregate in these areas.

“The problem is that once they get inside walls or in attics, they slowly find their way into the living space,” Hu said. “There is not much to do at that point beside killing and vacuuming them up.”

However, when stink bugs are threatened, crushed, disturbed or killed, they truly live up to their name. They will then release an odor that can last up to an hour.

Preventing the invasion before it becomes uncontrollable is always the best option.

Avoid the Invasion

Hu recommends these simple steps for preventing a stink bug invasion in the home.

  • Caulk and seal all windows, inside and outside.
  • Install weather strips on entry doors. Also, install door sweeps if daylight is visible around the perimeter of the door.
  • Seal all cracks, crevices and openings in the foundation and walls to remove entry points.
  • Foam-seal small gaps and openings around plumbing and vent pipes. For larger openings, fill them with steel wool.
  • Secure crawlspace entries.
  • Keep all mulch or pine straw away from the foundation of the home.
  • Clean out gutters and remove debris around the home.
  • As a last resort, use pesticides to treat vegetation surrounding the foundation. Vegetation can harbor and attract stink bugs. Contact a pest control specialist before using a pesticide.

Be one step ahead of the stink bug invasion by taking preventative measures.

More Information

For more information about stink bugs, visit the Alabama Extension website, www.aces.edu.

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