The Stink Bugs Are Back! 5 Ways to Protect Your Home

stink bugSmell that? It's the stink bug invasion. These little buggies with their backs that look like medieval shields are ready for their second attack on the Mid-Atlantic. Last year, stink bugs invaded homes up and down the eastern seaboard, hiding in cracks for warmth and feeding on crops. Last year, $37 million worth of apple crop was destroyed as well as $15 million of peach crop. This year, the stinkers have awakened from hibernation, mated, and are now ready to take on your home and garden with a renewed force that some say is going to be even stronger than last year's.

As a Virgina native, I've seen the nastiness of the stink bug war for myself. I feel like there wasn't a window in the house that didn't have at least 10 stink bugs hanging out between the screen and the glass pane. Yuck.

Here are five helpful hints to protect your home from becoming a stink bug halfway house.

  1. Seal up any cracks however you can. Plug holes with wire mesh and be sure to put tight screens over attack windows. They can get through anything larger than the width of a pencil, so keep that in mind.
  2. Try to keep leafy plants away from your house, since this is their source of food. This sounds kind of extreme, but it can be as simple as staking your plants so they don't touch your house or garage. If you've got tomato plants in your garden, bad news: Stunk bugs love tomatoes, so your house will be more at risk.
  3. Dim or turn off outside lights -- they attract bugs. On the other hand, a bug zapper can be used. Doesn't everyone love the sound of frying bugs at night?
  4. Pesticides, both organic and not, are an option as well. Any chemical pesticide with bifenthrin is best -- spray that around the perimeter of your house. Reapply once a week, and be wary of using this if you have pets or children. You can make your own organic pesticide by crushing flower heads from the pyrethrum flower and spraying that on your yard every few days. It's also harmful to pets and kids, BTW.
  5. If it's too late and the suckers are in your house, vacuuming is the best way to get them up. Try to use a shop vac because these things will make your vacuum smell. Empty it right after you're done and toss it ASAP. Pee ew!

Do you have stink bugs? How do you deal with them?

Photo via adamentmeat/Flickr

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