The living room of my home faces southwest, so I get beautiful sun in front windows every afternoon and early evening. I also get that bright, warm sun on the exterior walls of my home. Unfortunately. I’m not the only one who enjoys it.
Every fall, the stink bugs make their way to the front of my home, enjoying the warmth of the exterior walls, then as the days cool, slipping into the cracks between the siding, where they will overwinter till spring.
Or … until they sense warmth, which at this time of year is more likely to come from inside my home.
So for the last few weeks, I have been finding stink bugs crawling on the inside of my windows (thankfully no more than one or two a day), slipping in through the tiniest gap in the doorframe, and – apparently they like edges and lights – relaxing on the edge of the lampshade, bookshelf, and even the cat bowl. (So THAT’s what she was watching on Monday!)
I know that the only real way to get rid of stink bugs is to seal up the cracks and crevices into which they crawl, but, as is true in many homes, there are some that are just too small or hidden to seal—and those little buggers are very insistent and communal. Once they find a place to harbor, they secrete a chemical that attracts other stink bugs. So once you have them, you are likely to continuing getting them year after year after year.
3 Ways to Get Rid of Stink Bugs
How do you get rid of stink bugs that get in your home? Following are three methods that work.
1. Flush the Stink BugsIf the stink bugs tend to visit you one at a time, the simplest method of elimination is to grasp the bug VERY lightly with a tissue or sheet of toilet paper, lightly wrapping the tissue around it so it doesn’t fall out, then flushing it all down the toilet.
- Caution: Take heed of the repeated “lightly.” Do not squeeze the bug or it will emit a stinky odor (thus its name).
2. Drown the Stink BugsIf you are a little more queasy about touching the bug—even through a tissue, you can try the soapy water method. In a large container, or jar with a wide opening, mix a bit of dish or laundry soap with water – as little as a tablespoon of soap to a half-gallon of water will be sufficient. Keep the container readily accessible and, next time you see a stink bug:
- Hold the container beneath the bug.
- Use a small piece of paper or other stiff item to flick the bug.
- Because stink bugs tend to fall downward when disturbed, it will fall right into the solution. The soap adds to the bug’s absorption of the water causing it to quickly drown.
- Put the lid on the container but keep it nearby for the next stinkbug that dares enter!
- You can discard the whole container when there are more stinkbugs than you prefer to keep in it, or you can strain out the bugs and simply throw them in the trash. Because they are dead, they can no longer produce their odor.
3. Vacuum the Stink bugsIf you have lots of stink bugs coming into your home, you can use the above method, but another method that comes highly recommended is using a vacuum to get rid of the pests. Because the bugs do leave a stinky residue that can linger in the vacuum, there are limitations to this method, thus the following recommendations:
- If using an upright or canister vacuum, only use those which have disposable bags, and dispose of the bag outside the home immediately after gathering up the stink bugs.
- A small, portable vacuum can be purchased just for the use of gathering stink bugs. Again the bugs should be disposed outside the home immediately after collection. Washable parts should be cleaned and the interior of the hand vac sprayed with air freshener after each effort.
- A wet/dry vacuum also can be used. Mix soap as directed by the instructions of the vacuum, then run long enough to get some of the solution in the receiving container. As you vacuum up the bugs, they will be absorbed into the soap solution and die. Make sure the vacuum is one from which the bugs can be easily