By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)
Stink bugs are commonly found throughout the U.S. in gardens and occasionally the home. They get their name from a natural defense mechanism, which releases a sticky odor to deter predators. Since stink bugs often take up residence in areas flourishing with vegetation, stink bug control is sometimes necessary. Keep reading to learn more about the steps you can take for getting rid of stink bugs.
How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs
Once temperatures rise in spring, stink bugs begin to emerge from their winter hibernation. Females eventually begin laying their eggs on whatever plants are readily available. Both the larvae and adult stink bugs will then feed on plant juices but may also attack nearby fruits and vegetables—like tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans, etc. Noticeable damage may appear as pin pricks surrounded by a yellow or green color. While a few stink bugs in the garden may not cause too much harm, many of them will quickly damage plants and crops.
One of the first things you should do when getting rid of stink bugs is remove any nearby weeds or overgrowth, as they commonly use these for cover.
Since these pests feed and lay eggs on garden plants, you may also want to try spraying them with a kaolin clay (mineral clay) solution as a method for stink bug control. This prevents the bugs from both laying eggs (as they won’t attach) and feeding on plants. It’s also safe for plants, including edible ones, and washes off easily.
If stink bugs are a problem in the home, there are also steps you can take to prevent their entry. Make sure that all doors and windows are shut or covered with screens. Since they’re attracted to light, pulling shades or blinds closed may help at night. Fill any cracks or openings with caulking. In addition, the use of insect repellent around entryways may help deter these pests.
How to Kill Stink Bugs
Stink bug elimination is difficult since they are resistant to most common pesticides. Their waxy-like coating makes it hard for poisons to penetrate. Cypermethrin sprays can sometimes be effective and are easily degraded in soil as well as on plants. Large infestations, however, may require the help of a licensed pest controller specializing in the use of strong pesticides.
Some people have also had luck with using homemade nicotine solutions for stink bug elimination. This is done by shredding about half a pack of cigarettes and dissolving them in warm water. After running this through a filter, add a little detergent to the liquid and pour it into a spray bottle. The poison can be sprayed on bugs to kill them.