Experts Warn If You See This Bug In Your Yard, Do This Quickly
What do you do when you see a bug?
If the bug is in the house, most of us start running for a shoe or a napkin to squash it. But there is one bug you want to avoid squashing or stepping on at all costs: the stink bug!
That’s because if you step on a stink bug, it will release a pungent foul odor that’s sure to ruin your day. Even if you don’t step on a stink bug, it may release the odor if it feels threatened. So, you definitely want to avoid a stink bug infestation in your home. And the best way to do that is to get rid of a stink bug infestation in your hard before they invade your home!
Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t know how to recognize stink bugs, where to look for them, and how to get rid of them without unleashing their foul odor. To help keep your yard, home, and family safe, we put together this simple guide. Keep reading to discover what you should do next!
Spotting a stink bug
At first, you might not think you have any stink bugs in your yard in home. But ask yourself… do you even know what they look like?
Halyomorpha halys, or the brown marmorated stink bug, has six legs and a relatively rounded body. Some have said that the back of this insect looks like a shield. If all else fails, you can always use the photos in this article for reference while you inspect the yard for critters.
And unfortunately, they’re called “stink bugs” for a reason! Just like a skunk, if a stink bug feels threatened it will emit a smelly scent. The odor has been described variously as smelling like cilantro or almonds but way more foul.
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How the stink bug became a backyard nuisance
When it comes to dealing with bugs, many of us use techniques that were handed down by our parents and grandparents. But you might not have any family techniques for dealing with these little guys simply because they haven’t been around that long.
Stink bugs originally came from Asia before they began appearing in the United Kingdom and the United States as an invasive species. They came to the U.S. only 25 years ago, probably by hitching a ride on imported cargo. And in only a quarter of a century, this bug has embedded itself in 44 out of 50 states.
In warmer months, these bugs are likely to be found openly in your yard. In colder months, though, they may seek hidden areas of your home in order to stay warm.
Signs of hidden stink bugs
Growing up, we all heard the old joke: “What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple? Finding half a worm in your apple.” The lesson is clear: it’s dangerous when you don’t know where pests are, and by the time you find out, it may be too late.
What are the signs of hidden stink bugs? Even if you haven’t seen them in your yard, be on the lookout for bites missing from your plants and crops. Stink bugs love to munch on your garden (more on this later), so be on the lookout for signs of snacking.
How will you know stink bugs are in your house? You may see dark trails on areas like your windows, walls, and other surfaces. There may also be signs that they are munching on your house plants. Finally, it’s possible you will smell them (they aren’t called stink bugs for nothing) and/or simply find some dead stink bug bodies.
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Why stink bugs are bad (aside from the smell)
Obviously, stink bugs have a nasty smell. But aside from that, you might be wondering why it is so important to take care of these little things once you detect them.
It all goes back to what we said earlier about these things eating your plants and crops. Left unchecked, stink bugs will absolutely ruin your garden. And that’s what makes them a national threat: stink bugs do millions of dollars of damage every year to farmers’ crops.
And if they threaten farmers’ entire livelihoods, you can only imagine what they might do to your own yard.
Why stink bugs are thriving
Earlier, we noted that stink bugs have invaded the vast majority of the U.S. in only 25 years and that they threaten crops across the nation. But why have they been able to cover so much ground so quickly?
It all comes down to climate change. In addition to hating colder climates, stink bugs thrive and multiply in warmer climates. And since each year is a bit warmer than the year before, the entire country is slowly becoming a breeding ground for these bugs.
Fighting climate change is a collective effort and may take many years. Fortunately, there are a handful of easy steps you can take to keep the bugs out of your own home.
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How to keep stink bugs out of your home
One of the easiest ways to keep stink bugs away is to regularly weed around your home. Because these bugs try to hide in the weeds, you can take the weeds out and give the critters no place to hide.
You can also whip up some stink bug repellant at home. If you combine two gallons of water, some kaolin clay solution, and 15 milliliters of dish soap, you’ll have a repellant you can put in a spray bottle. Next, you can spray your plants and crops. The spray is safe for your garden once you hose it off, but it will keep the bugs away in the meantime.
But if stink bugs have already invaded your home, how can you remove or kill them without unleashing their foul odor? Catching them is tricky, since stink bugs can fly.
Instead, you can simply vacuum them up and dispose of the vacuum bag in a garbage can outside quickly. Alternatively, you can try a safe indoor pesticide or create your own using a spray made of equal parts dish soap, vinegar, and water. Keep in mind, though, this homemade mixture will take 30–40 minutes to kill the stink bugs after they are sprayed with it.
Distracting and trapping stink bugs
There is one easy alternative to keeping stink bugs out of your house and out of your garden. And that is to plant yellow flora (such as garlic or sunflowers) somewhere that is far away from both your home and your main garden.
Stink bugs are attracted to yellow and will cluster around your new flowers. Once you have stink bugs on the flowers, you can scoop up the whole flower and safely dispose of it and the bugs.
If you’re feeling lucky, though, you don’t have to do anything at all. Your yellow flora should keep the bugs away from the rest of your plants, and there’s a chance that the other critters outside will take care of the problem for you.