Best Spray for Stink Bugs: Plant-Based Sprays & Choices

A dead stink bug lying on its side.

Stink bugs earn their name from releasing a bad odor when they’re squished.

They’re invasive in backyard gardens and on large farms, so it’s crucial to get rid of them to save the crops.

Sprays are one of the best ways to get rid of them since they kill the bugs without squishing them and causing them to emit an odor.

What are the best sprays for stink bugs? Natural sprays should always be the first choice, but many are better at repelling than killing. Look for pesticide sprays made with plant-derived ingredients and labeled safe for home use. Products made with deltamethrin are particularly effective.

Stink bugs can make their way into your house, and it can be difficult to get rid of them.

Let’s take a look at the best sprays to get rid of stink bugs without having to smell them.

Learn how to prevent and eliminate stink bugs like a pro. Click here to find the best tips, products, and strategies.

Best Practices for Preventing an Infestation

Preventing stink bug infestations and being able to correctly identify them are the best things you can do to keep them away from your home.

Stink bugs can multiply quickly, so if you see a few of them, it’s safe to assume that the population will soon explode.

Identifying Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are frequently called shield bugs because their backs are in the shape of shields.

They have squared bodies that end in a rounded point at the bottom and flare outward before ending at a point, which is their head.

When identifying stink bugs, look for these qualities:

  • Found on food crops.
  • Shield-shaped body.
  • Releases foul odor when squished.

The following photo is a southern green stink bug and shows a great depiction of the standard shape of this family of bugs.

A southern green stink bug perched on a yellow sunflower.

A stink bug is anything in the Pentatomidae family. This family contains more than 4,000 different species.

Needless to say, you’ll find a wide variety of stink bugs ranging from bright reds to dark browns and most colors in between. 

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The most common stink bug in North America is the brown marmorated stink bug, which is shown below.

An up-close view of the invasive brown marmorated stink bug.

This bug is mostly brown but has a speckled pattern that includes gray and orange.

It’s the most destructive stink bug in the U.S., having caused millions and millions of dollars worth of crop losses.

It was introduced to the states by accident in 1998 and has quickly established itself as a pest.

Pinacate Beetle

The term “stink bug” may also refer to the pinacate beetle or “black beetle.” This pest sprays a foul odor as a defense mechanism when it feels threatened.

This beetle isn’t in the Pentatomidae family and looks nothing like the shield bugs. They just share the “stink bug” name and have the similarity of releasing foul odors.

A black pinacate beetle walking through the grass.

Basic Guidelines

Stink bugs will kill any crops you’re growing in your backyard and will be a nuisance in the winter as they make their way indoors to hide from cold temperatures.

The following measures should be taken to prevent them from staying in or near your home.

Be sure to check out our Complete Prevention Guide for an in-depth look at the best measures to employ for keeping these destructive pests away.

Seal Entry Points

Your warm home will draw in stink bugs in search of shelter during the cold months. To prevent them from getting inside, make sure entry points are sealed.

  • Caulk holes and cracks around doors and windows.
  • Repair or replace torn screens.
  • Don’t leave doors and windows open.

Turn Off Lights

Stink bugs go toward the light. Don’t use outdoor lighting unless you need it, and shut the curtains and blinds to keep light from shining outside.

Keep lights away from gardens, and don’t leave lights on all night if they’re around any crops.

(Head over to this article to learn how to use their attraction to light against them.)

Keep It Dry

Stink bugs prefer moist areas, so soggy and puddled areas are prime places to find them gathered.

Water your garden early in the morning so the water will seep into the soil or evaporate before it’s dark. This will prevent them from settling in puddled soil near your plants. 

This is also an ideal time to check your plants for any freshly laid stink bug eggs.

Removing them as soon as you find them will cut down on the population significantly.

You can learn more here about stink bug reproduction and the best way to find and destroy eggs.

Remove Hiding Places

Just as they come inside your house during winter, stink bugs will look for nooks and crannies to hide in for protection.

Whether this is a place that’s covered by leaves in your garden, pieces of wood on the ground, or cracks in your home, stink bugs will seek them out.

They’ll also make themselves at home in bags and boxes, which is how they were first introduced to America.

Whenever you purchase fresh produce, check the containers you bring home for bugs.

Stink Bug Spray – What to Look For

There are many sprays on the market that can kill stink bugs.

Sprays are considered to be one of the most effective ways to get rid of the bugs since they kill them without causing the bugs to release their odors.

If you squish stink bugs, the foul smell can fill your home and will be unpleasant.

Types of Stink Bug Spray

There aren’t many varieties of spray on the market when it comes to stink bugs. Most of the sprays are general use and will kill many types of bugs.

There are four main types of sprays you’ll find:

  • Eco-friendly/natural: These sprays are generally safe to use in your home and around children and pets. They function more as a repellent, but they can kill most bugs if enough spray is used.
  • Ready to spray: These sprays are ready to be sprayed out of the bottle. You don’t have to mix with water or any other ingredients. These sprays are available for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Mix before use: These sprays are typically more potent than others. If used indoors, ventilate the room well. They must be mixed with water before use, but they’ll last a long time and cover a large area. 
  • Repellent: Sprays of this type keep bugs from entering your home or yard, but they won’t kill the bugs. Some sprays function as both killer and repellent.

Most sprays aren’t safe to use around people or pets. Unless the product specifically says it’s safe, you shouldn’t use it when others are in the room.

Sprays that are made from natural products and don’t contain pesticides are generally deemed safe, but you should still go by what the product packaging says.

Effectiveness

There are pros and cons to every stink bug spray and each will have varying degrees of effectiveness.

When you choose a spray, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons against each other and decide which aspects are the most important to you.

Natural Products

Eco-friendly or natural products are typically safe for people, pets, and the planet.

They don’t contain harsh chemicals, and they aren’t as harmful if they’re accidentally ingested – but you should still be cautious while using them. 

The downside of these products is that they aren’t always as effective as pesticides.

Natural products that rely on essential oils, such as peppermint, are better repellents than they are killers.

Depending on how much you use in an area, you may or may not kill bugs with a natural spray.

Pesticides

Pesticides, on the other hand, are almost guaranteed to kill most bugs that dare to walk across the sprayed surfaces. This is because of the chemicals that are in the pesticides. 

Although effective, pesticides can be dangerous to use.

People and pets should be out of the room, windows and doors should be open, and the area should be avoided for several hours (or sometimes days) before it’s entered again.

Protective gear should be worn while the substances are applied. If the toxins are inhaled or ingested, the reaction can be severe or even lethal.

Safe for Use Around People and Pets

Bug sprays aren’t technically safe if they’re meant to kill bugs. They can harm all living beings as well as the environment, but it’s possible to use them safely.

Natural Products

Natural and eco-friendly products usually rely on peppermint oil. Pure, undiluted peppermint oil can be dangerous in certain instances.

When it’s mixed with other ingredients and sold as a pesticide spray, it’s safer to use because it’s been diluted.

However, caution should still be taken when using it.

Don’t allow children or pets to come into direct contact with it, and be sure to cover your nose and mouth while you apply it.

As long as the product is used as directed, natural products are safe to use around people and pets, even though there are potential concerns.

Pesticides

Pesticides are made of chemicals such as pyrethrin that kill bugs by harming the nervous system.

If ingested by humans or pets, respiratory problems and allergic reactions can occur.

Severe reactions, such as paralysis and seizures, can occur. If large doses are ingested, it can be lethal.

Pesticides are never totally safe to use around people and pets.

Many products will say that they’re safe if they’re used as directed, but it’s dangerous to assume that accidents won’t happen.

It’s possible to use pesticides safely – exterminators do it all the time – but extreme caution should always be used.

Not sure if you should call an exterminator or try to tackle the problem on your own? This article will help you decide.

Ease of Use

Stink bug sprays are incredibly easy to use. They’re convenient, and they don’t require much preparation. Here are a few aspects to consider:

Premixed Vs. Mix Before Use

Sprays that must be mixed with water will require another container for mixing as well as a sprayer, as most don’t come with the required gear.

Premixed sprays, however, are ready to use in the bottle and almost always come with a spray nozzle or wand.

Number of Uses

Pre-mixed sprays don’t last as long as the ones you have to mix with water.

The latter is typically used for large areas, so if you want to use it for smaller areas, the containers will last you a long time.

Reusability

Sprays are not reusable, but the residue that’s left behind after spraying can last up to several months, depending on which spray you use.

Pesticide bottles can’t be reused because they contained harmful chemicals and should be disposed of soon after they are empty.

Application

Small bottles will have spray nozzles, while larger containers will probably have a spray wand. Bulk containers might not provide a spraying mechanism.

Wands allow you to keep your skin far away from the product, while spray nozzles will require you to be closer to the product, which is a safety concern.

Now that you know what to look for let’s take a look at the best stink bug sprays for indoor and outdoor usage.

Best Indoor Stink Bug Spray

Here’s our list of the best indoor stink bug sprays. Many of these sprays can also be used outside.

Take note that some of these are pesticides and should be used with caution.

Eco Defense Home Pest Control Spray

Eco Defense USDA Biobased Pest Control Spray -...

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Eco Defense is a natural spray that can kill bugs. It doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals, so you can use it in any part of your home.

If you have pets or kids, this is a good spray to use because it’s one of the safer options on the market.

This spray functions as both a repellent and a killer. It kills bugs fast and will continue to repel them afterward.

Reapply frequently for infestations to continually kill the bugs.

Pros:

  • Nontoxic.
  • Kills bugs quickly.
  • Safe to use anywhere in your home.

Cons:

  • It will kill and repel bugs, but some bugs occasionally remain unaffected.

Mighty Mint Insect and Pest Control

Mighty Mint - 16oz Insect and Pest Control...

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Mighty Mint is an insect spray that is meant to be used as a repellent.

Stink bugs and many other bugs hate the smell of the main ingredient, peppermint essential oil, and will stay out of the areas that have the scent.

You can spray baseboards, walls, windowsills, floors, and almost any surface that you find them clinging to.

This spray is meant to be used as a repellent, but it’s possible for it to kill stink bugs. Expect the death count to be pretty low for this product.

The peppermint smell will reduce the number of bugs in your home, and you’ll get the benefit of a minty scent.

Pros:

  • No chemicals.
  • Natural and locally-sourced ingredients.
  • Repels more than just stink bugs.
  • Minty scent.

Cons:

  • Some may find the minty scent too strong.
  • Not the best when it comes to killing bugs.

Harris Home Insect Killer

Harris Home Insect Killer, Liquid Gallon Spray...

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This pesticide comes in a 1-gallon container with a long spray nozzle.

This nozzle makes it easier to apply in large areas and will prevent you from getting into close contact with the chemicals.

This is labeled for indoor and outdoor usage and is effective against more than just stink bugs. You’ll need to ventilate rooms as you use this product.

Pros:

  • Lasts a long time.
  • Quick and easy to use.
  • Registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for indoor usage.

Cons:

  • Contains toxic chemicals.
  • Not safe around children and pets.

Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer

Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor &...

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This Ortho insect killer is meant to be used inside your home and on the outside perimeter of your home.

It’s a pesticide that kills bugs on contact. If you spray the perimeter of your home, you’ll find dead bugs near your home.

This bottle comes with a reusable spray wand that allows you to keep a constant stream of spray rather than continually pulling the trigger for multiple sprays.

Once you run out of the product, you can keep the wand and use it on another bottle.

Pros:

  • Lasts up to one year indoors.
  • Kills bugs quickly after contact.
  • No odor or staining.

Cons:

  • Wand is prone to malfunctioning.

FenvaStar EcoCap

FenvaStar EcoCap - 8 oz.-Bed Bugs,carpenter...

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This insecticide is often used by professional exterminators for several different types of bugs. It works great for stink bugs and can be used indoors.

You’ll need to make sure everyone is out of the room and that the room is well ventilated before you use it, though.

The spray must be dried completely before anyone can enter the room. This is a spray that needs to be mixed with water first, so it will last quite a long time.

Pros:

  • Can cover large areas.
  • Will last a long time.
  • Easy to mix.

Cons:

  • Will need separate container and sprayer for application.
  • Not safe around people and pets.

Best Outdoor Stink Bug Spray

Stink bugs are a bigger concern outdoors since they eat up vegetable gardens. We chose these products because they’re generally safe to use near plants.

Verdana USDA Organic Cold Pressed Neem Oil

Verdana USDA Organic Cold Pressed Neem Oil 16 Fl....

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Neem oil has been used for centuries for cosmetic, medicinal, and pesticide purposes.

It’s an oil that comes from the neem tree, which is indigenous to India and other tropical areas. It’s used as a repellent for stink bugs.

If the bugs are in your garden, coat plant leaves with the oil, and soon you won’t see any stink bugs around.

It’s perfectly healthy to use on plants and it will repel many other bugs that cause problems in gardens.

Just mix it with water and a bit of mild soap, according to package directions, shake, and spray away.

Pros:

  • Natural product.
  • Certified organic.
  • Repels stink bugs and other insects.

Cons:

  • May not kill stink bugs, but it will repel them.

Harris Green Home Insect Killer

HARRIS New Green Home Insect Killer, Gallon Spray...

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This spray by Harris is similar to the one mentioned in the indoor section, but this one is eco-friendly and made with greener ingredients such as plant oils.

This spray won’t cause staining and is safe to use around children and pets.

If you need to use it around plants, it shouldn’t cause them any harm. It can be used both indoors and outdoors.

Pros:

  • Safe to use.
  • Uses natural active ingredients.
  • Long spray nozzle for ease of use.

Cons:

  • Sprayer may leak when using.

BUGGSLAYER Insecticide

BUGGSLAYER Insecticide Concentrate 16-oz

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This pesticide concentrate is for outdoor use only and is made specifically for stink bugs and Asian lady beetles, but it will kill a myriad of other pests, as well.

You can spray it on lawns and flowerbeds and it won’t hurt your plants. It will last for a couple of months and won’t easily wash away, so you don’t have to apply it as often.

Pros:

  • Long lasting.
  • Won’t wash away easily.
  • Will kill many bugs.

Cons:

  • Not safe to use indoors.
  • Not safe to use around children and pets.

Harris Stink Bug Killer

HARRIS Stink Bug Killer, Liquid Spray with...

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This spray is made specifically for stink bugs but it will also kill other pests. It’s a 1-gallon container with a long sprayer nozzle for easy application.

It’s odorless and won’t stain, and you can use it indoors if you want, as well. This product is registered with the EPA.

It should be noted that this product won’t work until it has dried completely.

When you apply it, spray enough to lightly dampen the surface but not so much that it causes runoff or puddles. It’ll take longer to work if it has to take time to dry.

Pros:

  • Odorless.
  • Long sprayer nozzle.
  • Specifically for stink bugs.

Cons:

  • Must be completely dry to work.

Raid Ant & Roach Barrier Spray

Raid Ant & Roach Barrier Manual Trigger, 22 OZ

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Even though this spray is listed for ants and roaches, it’s still effective against stink bugs and many others.

It can be used indoors and outdoors and won’t leave any smells or stains. The spray is meant to be used as a barrier rather than a cover on a large area.

Apply it around doors, windows, and the perimeter of your yard and home. It’s a small bottle and you have to pull the trigger for every spray, so covering large areas will be tedious.

Pros:

  • Creates a barrier to prevent bugs.
  • Indoor and outdoor use.
  • Kills on contact.

Cons:

  • Not great for large areas.

Quick Recap

Stink bugs are annoying little critters because they smell bad when they’re squished and cause damage to crops.

Fortunately, sprays made to kill bugs are good options for getting rid of them because they kill them without causing them to release odors.

Natural options work more as repellents, but there are some that will kill them. Pesticides are convenient, but they can cause harm to people and pets.

When you choose a spray, consider the benefits you want and the risks you’re willing to take.

The best way to win your battle against stink bugs is to be well informed as far as their habits, diet, and weaknesses.

Read through all of our stink bug articles to arm yourself with the know-how to emerge victorious. You can access them all here.

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