Stink Bug Prevention: 10 Tips to Keep This Smelly Pest at Bay

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Stink Bug PreventionWe know that fall has arrived when the leaves begin to change, the air becomes crisp and the smell of pumpkin pie fills the house. But, another not-so-favorable sign that the cooler months are upon us is the arrival of stink bugs.

Notorious for their "smelly" reputation, stink bugs frequently enter homes during the cooler months in search of a warm place to overwinter. While stink bugs do not pose a health or property risk to homeowners, this pest can quickly become an odoriferous nuisance around the home.

Like other pests, including ants and termites, stink bugs often enter structures in larger numbers, making them a difficult pest to control once inside. As a result, homeowners are often looking for simple ways to ward off these invaders before an infestation develops.

As the temperatures continue to drop and people begin preparing for the winter months, consider pest proofing the home, both inside and out, to prevent stink bugs and other pests from becoming unwelcome houseguests this fall. Here are 10 simple steps that homeowners can take right now to keep this smelly pest at bay:

1. Seal off entry points: Spend some time inspecting the outside of your home for easy access points. Pay close attention to areas including around siding and utility pipes, behind chimneys, and underneath the wood fascia or other openings. Seal any cracks and holes that are found using a good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk.

2. Replace and repair: Stink bugs can enter the home through the smallest openings, so it’s important to repair or replace damaged screens on windows or doors. Don’t forget to check for torn weather-stripping and loose mortar. You can also install door sweeps if necessary.

3. Turn off the lights: Stink bugs are attracted to lights, so it’s recommended to keep outdoor lighting to a minimum. During the evenings, turn off porch lights and pull down window blinds to prevent light from spilling outside.

4. Reduce moisture sites: Eliminating all moisture build up around your home can go a long way to help prevent many pest infestations. Check for leaking pipes and clogged drains.

5. Eliminate food sources: Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles. Also, make sure you wipe down counters and sweep floors to eliminate crumbs and residue from spills.

6. Ventilate: Properly ventilate basements, attics, garages and crawl spaces to eliminate harborage points. Consider using a dehumidifier in these areas. Also, make sure to install screens over your chimney and attic vents.

7. Check your belongings: Inspect items such as boxes containing holiday decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors. Stink bugs can travel on these items and make themselves cozy once inside the home.

8. Properly landscape: Keep branches and shrubbery well trimmed. In addition, make sure to store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.

9. Think before squishing: When many people find a stink bug, their first instinct is to squish them. However, when disturbed or crushed, stink bugs have a tendency to release a bad-smelling, bad-tasting odor from pores on the sides of their bodies. This is how the pest earned its name.

10. Use a vacuum: If stink bugs have already entered a home, use a vacuum cleaner for their removal. Dispose of the vacuum bag immediately to prevent odor from permeating the area, as dead stink bugs leave a residue inside the bag that can stink up your home.

Remember that homes can be pre-treated for stink bugs before they become a problem. But, if you suspect an infestation has already developed, contact a licensed pest professional to evaluate and assess the severity problem. For more information on stink bugs and other invasive species, or to find a pest professional in your area, visit www.PestWorld.org.