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Fuming about stink bugs? Here are tips to avoid them

Posted at 12:47 PM, Sep 29, 2014

Fall is finally here — multi-colored leaves are crunching under stomping feet, a chill is in the air, pumpkin-flavored treats are on store shelves… and squished stink bugs are making things smelly.

Officially known as the brown marmorated stink bug, the unwelcome insect was first introduced to the United States more than a decade ago.

Although no one is quite sure how the insects, known as an agricultural pest in their native Asia, entered the country, one thing is certain: stink bugs stink.

In the U.S., the bug has become a serious fruit, vegetable and farm crop pest in the Mid-Atlantic region, and a stinky visitor to homes when seeking warmth as temperatures cool down in the fall.

The bugs become more obvious in the fall as they seek shelter for the winter. Squishing them releases the bug’s unpleasant scent- so it’s not recommended.

Though there are many homegrown suggested remedies available online for removing the bugs, some jobs (especially really smelly ones) are best left to professionals.

Here are a few tips for avoiding the pests:

Inspect the outside of homes
Check doors and windows for cracks, torn screens and loose caulking. Seal gaps with caulk, and use weather stripping on doors. Use screens to protect vents in attics and crawl spaces.

Check the yard
Firewood, boxes and clutter left in the yard can provide a home for overwintering stink bugs.

If they’re already inside
Contact a pest-control professional. Stink bugs don’t feed or reproduce once indoors, but if they’ve made it into open spaces in the walls, they are likely to reappear year after year. You may also attempt to catch them inside of a plastic baggie with a zip closure.

Don’t vacuum
Vacuuming the bugs may seem like an easy way to avoid the stink that comes with squishing them, but the stink bug smell can linger in vacuums for months.

Peppermint spray
A mix of mint oil and water may be sprayed around entryways and hidden spots. It acts as a repellent.

(Sources: Orkin, Wikihow)