They stink

Asked March 3, 2018, 12:25 PM EST

Too late to prevent as they are already in the walls of my house so how do I get them out? What I find odd is that about 1-2 come out each day. Mostly hang out by south facing windows. Your advice will be very much appreciated. Thank you.

Washington County New York

3 Responses

We may be able to assist you if can please include your location and a photo of the pest you are describing?

Hi Lynne,
Sorry for late reply as I was away for 22 days.
While away about 15 entered and died. If I am not home to capture them most return
to their hiding places as the sun goes down.
This past September on an unusually warm day there were hundreds if not thousands
on an exterior stucco south facing wall which I sprayed with wasp spray being that it reaches
25 feet high and the only method I could use to reach them. Most died but many flew away.
I suspect that they also gained access due to loose moldings around the windows.
Once the weather warms I plan to caulk around the interior of the windows then if possible the exterior.
I live in northeast upstate NY zip 12827.Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.

Dear Paul,

It looks like you have an infestation of stink bugs, however, they do not appear to be the Brown Marmorated variety which causes so much agricultural damage. Stink bugs commonly take refuge in homes or gardens for the winter. You may be seeing them as they re-emerge. I've found a few in my house, too.

The important thing is: do not use insecticides in the house. The bugs may die behind walls and they will stink!. Here are some recommendations for removal from a well known exterminating company:

  • Do not touch them directly or squish them.
  • Stink bugs move slowly enough that you can catch them and deposit them outdoors in wintry climates (where they’ll freeze) or flush them into oblivion.
  • Grab them gently with a plastic bag to avoid touching them directly.
  • Take an empty water bottle and use the lid to flick the bug into the bottle. Tighten the lid to contain the smell, and place the whole thing outdoors. In cold climates, the bug will freeze. Re-use the bottle for more bug-catching.
  • Prepare a soapy solution for killing stink bugs. Choose a straight-sided 1/2- or 1-gallon container. Fill it one-fourth full of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent. When disturbed, stink bugs tend to drop downward so you can knock them into the bucket from walls, draperies, screens, etc. Unable to escape, they will ultimately drown.
  • Vacuum bugs, and empty the bag afterward. Don’t suck stink bugs into a bagless vacuum you use in your home. After vacuuming stink bugs, the vacuum will stink.
    • Many homeowners in the worst-afflicted regions purchase small wet/dry vacs used solely for gathering stink bugs. Immediately after gathering bugs, dump the vacuum’s contents into a larger garbage bag and seal it tightly. Open the bag to add more bugs until garbage day arrives.
    • Another technique to try is to wrap a knee-high stocking around the outside of the vacuum tube, secure it with a rubber band, and then stuff it into the tube. Stink bugs will be trapped in the stocking and won’t enter the vacuum filter. When you turn off the vacuum, careful remove the stocking, holding the end closed. Dump the captured stink bugs into a container of soapy water, as noted above, to kill the bugs.
  • Do not apply insecticides indoors to control stink bugs. While insecticidal dust may kill bugs in wall voids, the carcasses can stink and attract other pests, such as carpet beetles, which can damage other things in your home. Applying an interior pesticide along baseboards won’t kill stink bugs nor will it keep them from emerging around the baseboards.
Prevention is your first line of defense, so as you suspected, you should check all doors and windows for cracks or torn screens. Also, check vents to the attic and crawlspace. One recommendation is to rub dryer sheets over all your screens. Choose the most "fragrant" sheets you can find. (I am not supposed to recommend products but car enthusiasts swear by Bounce to keep mice out of their upholstery.)

If you see large numbers on the exterior of your house again, you may want to call an exterminator.