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Finding stink bugs in your home?

by By Alyse Messmer-Smith/Bellingham Herald/TNS
| December 8, 2022 4:37 PM

WASHINGTON — Brown marmorated stink bugs seem to be creeping back into Washingtonian's homes as the smelly bugs are seeking warm temperatures during the winter season.

Stink bugs are commonly found in Washington homes during the fall and winter months, according to Washington State University, as the bugs desire to be in warmer weather and seek shelter during cold temperatures.

Stink bugs are known for the smelly odor they spray when they are squished or spray as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened. Stink bugs can spray their smell several inches away, and once released the liquid transfers to people, carpets, animals and other objects near them, according to Cascade Pest Control.

Stink bugs have become more common and invasive in Washington state homes, as some experts believe changing weather and climate change could increase stink bugs in the country by 70%, according to recent reporting by McClatchy.

If you've been finding stink bugs in your home this winter, here's what you should know about preventing and getting rid of them.

What attracts stink bugs

You may have a few things in your home that attract stink bugs, according to Cascade Pest Control:

— Fruits or vegetables in your garden, around your home or on your kitchen counter.

— Native Washington trees, weeds, shrubs and vines.

— Lights outside your home will attract stink bugs to your house, and lights inside will also attract them into your home.

— Stink bugs are attracted to other stink bugs through pheromones. A stink bug could release a pheromone after finding your home that will attract other stink bugs to follow it.

How to prevent stink bugs

Stink bugs can be prevented from entering your home in a few ways, according to Cascade Pest Control:

— Examine items you bring into your home that could have stink bugs on or inside them.

— Limit outdoor lights that attract stink bugs.

— Fix any torn window screens, door screens, weather stripping or door sweeps.

— Seal off any possible entry points into your home with silicone caulking.

— Keep shrubs and plants away from your home to avoid stink bugs.

How to get rid of stink bugs in your home

— You can hire a pest control company to handle stink bugs in your home.

— Cascade Pest Control advises against squishing stink bugs, but instead recommends disposing of them by sweeping them into a bucket, and filling the bucket with four to five inches of soapy water.

— Washington State University's Comprehensive Tree Fruit Site suggests trapping the bugs with stink bug traps or pheromone traps to dispose of them without releasing their smell.

— Grabbing stink bugs with a plastic bag and taking them outside to dispose of them or flushing stink bugs down the toilet are other ways to dispose of the smelly bugs without releasing their smell, according to Ortho, a pest control product company.

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