Fall has arrived, and now is the time to take action when it comes to keeping stink bugs out of your house.
With each passing year, this invasive pest not only seems to increase in numbers, but in its uncanny ability to find a way indoors over the long winter months. One thing is for sure, it can often seem like an unwinnable task to keep them from getting inside!
The stink bug has become quite the invasive pest. And it has done so in a relatively short period of time. The first known appearance in the United States is thought to have occurred sometime in the late 1990’s in Pennsylvania.
Officially known as the brown marmorated stink bug, it most likely came across the ocean in a shipping crate. And ever since, this shield-wearing insect has multiplied to record numbers in nearly every state.
A Few Facts…
Contrary to popular belief, stink bugs do not bite or sting. Nor do they cause damage to structures by chewing through wood, insulation or other materials. They do however, as their “stink” name implies, release a foul odor when they feel threatened.
In the outdoors, they have been known to damage and scar fruit and berries as they feed. They pierce through the outer skin of the fruit as they eat, which usually results in a marring of the fruit.
Although they will occasionally find their way on to the fruit of vegetable plants, they are not as yet to be considered a major threat to most garden plants.
But what stink bugs do threaten as the weather turns cooler is the inside of your home. The single reason these creatures come into a living space is survival. They are simply looking for a place to stay warm and survive the winter. And as the cool air of fall arrives – so does the home invasion of stink bugs.
Although it can seem like a losing battle, there are a few key secrets to keeping stink bugs out of your home. The most important of which is to take early action, before they become a problem. Here is a look at the best ways to keep your home free of stink bugs this fall and winter.
How To Keep Stink Bugs Out Of Your House
Unfortunately, there are very few natural predators when it comes to controlling stink bug populations. Spiders, certain species of lady bugs, and even other predatory stink bugs will sometimes feed on stink bugs. But the list is few and far between.
As for natural or even man made sprays, there just simply isn’t an effective solution. With that said, the real key to keeping them out is prevention. And when done correctly, it can be surprisingly effective!
In climates with cold winters, the best defense for keeping stink bug populations under control is to keep them outside. If unable to find protection from the frigid cold, they simply can’t make it through the winter.
And the best way to keep them out? Seal off their favorite entry points!
Doors & Windows
Sealing doors and windows with fresh caulking not only helps with winter bills, but in stopping stink bugs too. In fact, window and door cracks are one of the top entry points for them as temperatures cool.
Stink bugs easily pass through small cracks around windows and doors. To prevent entry, seal both inside and outside around these areas. For best results, use a high quality, water and weather-proof silicon caulk that won’t shrink.
When sealing, be sure to check that all trim work is solid, sealed and secure as well. If given the opportunity, stink bugs will crawl into the voids behind trim for winter warmth.
Screens On Windows & Doors
Damaged and torn screens are another huge entry point for stink bugs. They can easily pass through tiny tears in screens and quickly find a way indoors. Replace worn out screens, or keep the glass down as an alternative. An open window can easily let in hundreds of stinkbugs in a single week.
Door Thresholds & Seals To Stop Stink Bugs
Another easy entry access point for stink bugs are door seals and thresholds. The soft rubber is easy for them to slip under and through, especially if it is worn or cracked.
Once again, this task not only helps with eliminating stink bugs and other insects, but it’s also a big help in keeping energy bills down.
The thresholds at the bottom of your doorways is another key area to inspect and close off. The bottom plate can easily become loose from constant foot traffic. Seal off the thresholds tightly with a bead of silicone, making sure there are no open gaps the stink bugs can slip through.
And speaking of the bottom of doors, don’t forget your garage door seals. If the seals on the bottom of the door are worn or torn off, replace them. Garages are an easy place for stink bugs to hang out from the extreme cold and stay alive. All they need is that door to open to make it inside!
Seal Off Utility Holes & Lines
You would be surprised at just how many small holes and cracks exist around your home. And they all make it easy for bugs to come inside. Those include holes drilled for air conditioning lines, electric lines and even cable, internet and telephone.
Spend a few minutes and walk around your home looking for any areas where lines come into your home. Take time to seal all of these easy entry points with a high quality silicone caulk.
And be sure to take time to look at any and all vents as well. Dryer and air vents are easy spaces for stink bugs to find and enter the home. Check to make sure screens are in place and are free of tears and holes. And if you don’t have a screen in them – put one in as soon as possible!
Remember, when it comes to keeping stink bugs out of your house – it starts and ends with prevention. Here is to a stink bug free home this fall, winter and spring! For other pest and insect help, check out our Pest Page on the site.
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