infestation of box elder bugs and stink bugs

Asked September 26, 2016, 7:14 PM EDT

Good afternoon. I live in rural Washington County, about 10 miles south of Hillsboro. For the third year in a row, I have an infestation of stink bugs and box elder bugs. They are in the thousands, covering all sides of my home. I have to close all my windows and doors to help keep them out of the house, but they still sneak in. They seem to be attracted to my home as I don't see them on our neighbors house. Is there anything that I can do to eliminate them? The attached pictures are from the east side of the house at app. 4:00pm.

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

Thanks for your stink bug question. Here's an answer I provided to another frustrated homeowner earlier today:

Thanks for your question about stink bugs. First, we've had stink bugs in Oregon for many years, some types of which are actually beneficial in the garden. (Here's a link to an OSU website that has pictures of them.) Most of them are known to find shelter in structures over the winter, and they're more a nuisance than anything. Second, as you can see from the website I linked you to, the top left stink bug, the brown marmorated stink bug, is an invasive pest that has, in fact, done much damage in gardens and nurseries. It's distinguishable by the white lines on its antennae. Third, even though you might have stink bugs in your fruit trees, the damage may have been done by a myriad of other types of insects (and pathogens.) In the event you have positively identified the brown marmorated stink bug, you might consider reporting it here.

Having said that, there is currently no treatment for them. Keeping any type of insect out of your home just requires that you fill any access means, since they have to get in some way. Here are some other suggestions about using physical controls.

Finally, there is some evidence to believe that a natural enemy of the stink bug, the tiny, parasitic wasp called Trissolcus japonicus (also not a native), may proliferate in sufficient quantity to impact the numbers of stink bugs over time. Until then, we're just going to have to live with them.

Box elder bugs are somewhat of a different issue, but not much! There is a physical control approach you can take: eliminate the box elders! Here's a link to an OSU article about the box elder infestation controls.

I hope these are informative for you!