How To Prevent Stink Bugs: Keep Them From Entering The House

A brown stink bug on a serrated leaf.

Stink bugs don’t cause harm to humans, but they will cause damage to crops.

They’ve wiped out fields of crops and backyard gardens all over America and the rest of the world. Keeping this bug off your property is crucial if you want to save your crops.

How do you prevent stink bugs? For indoor prevention, seal all cracks, and use sticky traps and natural repelling sprays containing peppermint. Outdoors, remove overwintering sites, turn off lights, and use neem oil, sticky traps, or diatomaceous earth. Aerosol or liquid pesticides may be used too.

Let’s take a look at the best ways to prevent and get rid of stink bugs so you can save yourself some trouble later.

Don’t miss out on other important tips and stink bug elimination strategies. Click here to access all of our stink bug articles.

Identification

A southern green stink bug perched on a yellow sunflower.

Stink bugs are slightly rectangular with round, pointed ends. They look a little like shields, which is why stink bugs are sometimes called shield bugs. 

A stink bug isn’t one specific kind of bug. The name refers to the entire Pentatomidae family, which contains almost 5,000 different species. 

Stink bugs are most commonly green, brown, and gray, but they can occasionally be red, orange, yellow, and black.

You’ll be amazed by how colorful some of them can be.

For instance, check out the bright red on the two-spotted stink bug and the striking pattern of the bagrada bug featured in this article.

If you can’t identify a stink bug by looking at it, squishing it will certainly clue you in on what you just killed.

They release a foul odor when they’re squished, which is how they got their name.

When it comes to killing stink bugs, squishing it should be the very last method you use.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

A brown stink bug perched on top of a plant stalk.

Even though there are thousands of species, the brown marmorated stink bug is the most common one in the United States.

In 1998, the bug was unintentionally introduced via a shipment of produce. Since then, the bugs have caused millions of dollars of damage to crops each year. 

Commonly Mistaken Pest: Western Conifer Seed Bug

An adult western conifer seed bug on the edge of a green leaf.

The western conifer seed bug is frequently mistaken for a stink bug because its body is so close to the shield shape.

These bugs aren’t in the same family as stink bugs, and they prefer to eat the sap of conifer trees, so they’re a tree pest instead of a crop pest.

They’re found all over the United States, as well as some areas of Canada.

Removal Methods

Method Estimated Cost Natural Odor-Free
Natural spray $20
Sticky trap $10-$15
Peppermint oil $10
Neem oil $15
Diatomaceous earth $15
Barrier spray <$10
Aerosol spray <$10  
Pesticide spray $30+

The Best Way to Eliminate Stink Bugs

The best way to prevent and eliminate stink bugs is to use a natural spray made from peppermint oil, like Mighty Mint Insect and Pest Control.

Mighty Mint - 16oz Insect and Pest Control Peppermint Oil - Natural Spray for Spiders, Ants, and More - Non Toxic

Check Price on Amazon

It’s diluted peppermint oil, so it’s safe to spray around your home. Your home will smell minty while it works to repel stink bugs and kill the ones already inside your home.

The best way to use this spray is:

  • Spray baseboards inside your home.
  • Spray doorways and windowsills inside and outside.
  • Spray surfaces like counters and tables.
  • Allow it to dry completely before allowing children and pets to enter the room.

(Be sure to read “Best Spray for Stink Bugs” to see all of the sprays we recommend to repel and eliminate stink bugs before you settle on one product.)

Basic Guidelines

If you can keep stink bugs away from your home, you won’t have to worry about smelling them later.

Preventing them is simple – the bare basics don’t require any kind of product or treatment. 

Stink bugs are more of a problem outside than they are inside. Outside, they’ll eat up vegetable gardens until all the plants are dead.

Inside, they don’t do anything. They don’t bite or transmit diseases, but they can be unsettling if you don’t like to have bugs in your home.

During the winter, stink bugs will seek shelter in your home. The good news is that they won’t reproduce while they’re taking shelter.

They prefer to lay their eggs outside. Find out where to find the eggs and how to best destroy them in our article “Where Do Stink Bugs Lay Eggs?

Seal Up Openings

Stink bugs will find their way inside through holes and cracks.

Torn screen doors and windows, cracks in siding and bricks, or holes around doors are where stink bugs will crawl their way through.

The best ways to handle this include:

  • Repair torn screens.
  • Use caulk around doors and windows.
  • Seal up holes around bricks.
  • Don’t leave doors and windows open.

Remove Overwintering Sites

Stink bugs hide during the winter in covered areas such as:

  • Chimneys.
  • Pipes.
  • Attics.
  • Crawl spaces.
  • Baseboards.
  • Piles of debris.
  • Dead trees.

They’ll stay on the walls of buildings that receive plenty of afternoon sun. As it gets colder, they’ll search for openings in your home in which to take shelter. 

You can remove debris to prevent them from congregating, seal up open areas, or treat these areas with peppermint oil or pesticides to keep them from staying there.

Remove Water

Moist or wet areas are preferred by stink bugs.

A well-watered garden that retains moisture is a prime spot for the bugs because the leaves provide shelter, and there’s plenty of moisture and food supply.

When possible, you should remove as much excess moisture as you can.

Make sure you have well-draining soil in raised beds and that your in-ground garden beds can easily drain. Don’t water your plants more than you have to. 

Installing an automatic timer, like this dual-outlet, programmable timer, can help make sure your plants receive sufficient water without oversaturating the ground.

Simply set your desired start time, frequency, and duration, and let the timer do the work for you.

Orbit 58910 Programmable Hose Faucet Timer, 2 Outlet, Green

Check Price on Amazon

Also, after it rains, remove standing water. You can use a broom to push puddled water to the grass.

Turn Off Lights

Stink bugs are attracted to warmth and light, which is why you’ll frequently find them on the south- or west-facing walls of your home.

On cold nights, they’ll be attracted to the lights outside of your home or even the lights shining through your windows.

Once the weather cools down, turn off outdoor lights when it’s dark if you’re able to do so. Use curtains or blinds to shut out the light.

Try only to use lights at night when you really need them.

Natural Solutions to Prevent Stink Bugs

There are many natural solutions that will help prevent and kill stink bugs. There are indoor and outdoor options, but many of them can also be used for either.

You can choose whichever kind will work best for your specific needs.

Indoor Solutions

These indoor solutions are safe to use around children and pets and will help prevent and kill stink bugs.

Natural Sprays 

Natural sprays that don’t contain pesticides are a great way to keep bugs out of your home safely.

Mighty Mint Insect and Pest Control Peppermint Oil Spray is made with peppermint oil, which is an essential oil frequently used for pest control.

When it’s not diluted, it can be irritating when ingested or breathed in. However, a diluted version is safe to use in the home around children and pets.

Stink bugs don’t like the scent of peppermint, so it will keep them away from the areas where you apply the spray.

Fortunately, most people like the minty scent, so it will leave your home smelling fresh.

Sticky Traps

Sticky traps are a great way to catch individual bugs before an infestation happens.

It should be noted that these aren’t as effective if the stink bug population is huge, but, if you see a few inside your home or hanging around your windows, a sticky trap will be efficient.

The Bug Beater Stink Bug Trap has a sticky surface and a lure to attract and catch bugs.

This particular trap can be used indoors and outdoors, but it’s better to use it indoors since it will lure the pests toward the trap.

Using it outside will bring the bugs closer to your home, which is the opposite of what you want.

Essential Oils

Peppermint essential oil, which is the main ingredient in the Mighty Mint spray we recommend, is useful for fighting off stink bugs.

If you buy the oil by itself, you can make your own DIY spray to use as a repellent spray around your house or on your skin.

You can mix this oil with other oils to create a scent you enjoy.

Do note that essential oils need to be diluted before you use them on your skin or in your home.

The pure oil is often too strong on its own and can cause respiratory issues and skin irritation for both people and pets.

It’s perfectly safe to use when used correctly, so be sure you’re diluting it the right way. Use a DIY spray recipe (Tasty Yummies has a fantastic one) for guidance.

Remember that you can change up the recipe however you want, but you do want to use dark glass bottles to store homemade products containing essential oils, as sunlight will negatively affect them.

These blue glass spray bottles on Amazon are just perfect for insect-repelling DIY sprays.

Cliganic Peppermint Essential Oil is USDA-certified organic and cruelty free.

It contains only 100% pure peppermint oil and is one of the most highly rated peppermint oils available.

Outdoor Infestations

Outdoor infestations are arguably worse since stink bugs can actually do damage.

These natural solutions will help you safely prevent and kill stink bugs, as well as several other pests.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is frequently used in gardens to fight against gnats, mealy bugs, mites, and several other pests. It’ll work for stink bugs, too.

Neem oil comes from a tree native to India and surrounding areas. Since it’s plant-based, it won’t harm other plants.

Verdana Cold Pressed Neem Oil is both organic and unrefined and can be applied directly to the leaves of plants.

As bugs walk over it, their feet will be sticky, and they’ll quickly leave the plant and not come back. 

You can also use it for skin and hair care, so this bottle of neem oil will have several uses.

Many people don’t like the smell of neem oil. If that’s the case, it’s best to use it as an outdoor solution only.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is one of the most effective ways to kill stink bugs and many other pests. It’s made of fossilized algae and sold in fine-powdered form.

It’s safe for humans to apply, but the fine particles will cut the exoskeletons of insects and will eventually dehydrate them.

Harris Diatomaceous Earth contains zero fillers or additives – just pure diatomaceous earth. The included duster makes application directly on plants a breeze.

You can also sprinkle the powder in flower beds, around the vegetable garden, in the grass, or wherever you need it.

It’s nontoxic and odorless, so you won’t notice it. Mix it into the soil if you don’t want a white powder layer on top of the dirt. 

The powder is a slow killer. Once it cuts the exoskeleton, it’ll take a day or two before the insect dries out.

It’s an effective method, but it’ll take some patience to see results.

You can easily use this method along with other methods like neem oil. The bugs that don’t get repelled will eventually die.

Large Sticky Traps

If you’ve spotted a large infestation and you want a natural way to kill them all, giant fly traps are a good solution.

They work just like the small sticky traps, but they can catch more and last longer.

W4W Giant Sticky Trap Rolls are huge and will work well if hung on the side of the house or on a fence.

Try placing it on a wall that faces the west or south since that’s where stink bugs usually like to congregate.

You could also entice them at night by putting light right next to the trap. Just be careful with this method since you’d be drawing them near your home. 

Pesticide Solutions to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

Pesticides are a quick solution, but they’re highly toxic and can put anyone in the home at risk if they aren’t used safely.

If natural solutions aren’t working for you, pesticides can be a good last resort option.

If you have any worries about potentially misusing pesticides, you can call an exterminator to take care of the stink bug problem for you.

In this article, we explain which pesticides an exterminator will likely use and why you might want to save yourself some money by handling indoor infestations yourself.

Barrier Spray: Raid Ant & Roach Barrier Spray

Barrier spray is meant to be sprayed along the perimeter of your home and yard. As bugs walk across it, it poisons them, and they die soon after.

You can this barrier spray along doors and windows to kill the bugs that keep getting in.

It needs to dry completely before it begins to be effective, but it leaves no lingering odor and can be used both outside and indoors.

Aerosol Spray: Raid Multi Insect Killer

Aerosol sprays kill immediately. The Raid Multi Insect Killer is commonly used for roaches, spiders, and ants, but it will also work on stink bugs.

It’s best to use Raid Multi Insect Killer on just a few bugs at a time – it’s not as effective when there’s a large infestation.

This particular can has an orange scent. If you use it outside, you won’t notice the smell for as long, but you will notice it if you use it indoors.

It might also leave a residue behind, so if you have children or pets, it’s best to clean up what’s left behind.

Liquid Spray: BUGGSLAYER Insecticide

Liquid sprays are usually used by exterminators because they’re potent and work quickly.

BUGGSLAYER is a concentrated formula made specifically for stink bugs and Asian lady beetles.

It’s only to be used outdoors, but because it’s waterproof, it won’t easily wash away after a rainfall.

A residue is left behind once the spray dries, so it will continue to kill bugs for several weeks.

This is great for large infestations or if you don’t want to continually apply it yourself.

Safety Precautions When Using Pesticides

Pesticides can be dangerous. They contain toxic chemicals that are used to kill pests.

When ingested or inhaled by people and pets, negative reactions can occur.

Depending on how much is ingested, reactions can be mild, severe, or lethal. Breathing problems, skin irritation, and other illnesses can occur.

Pesticides are linked to causing chronic health issues such as cancer and reproductive harm. Chronic issues are usually caused by long term exposure to pesticides.

If you use it occasionally around your home, you might not see any of these effects.

  • Always use pesticides as the package directs.
  • Wear protective clothing and safety gear. 
  • Make sure people and pets are out of the room.
  • Open windows and doors for good ventilation.

When to Call a Professional Exterminator

If you have tried natural solutions and pesticides but you still have a stink bug problem, a professional exterminator will be able to help you.

They can also help you determine which prevention methods will work the best for you.

Exterminators can sometimes be pricey, but it’s well worth the price so you can stop or prevent an infestation from taking over your property.

Summary

Preventing stink bugs is an important step in controlling the population.

Whether you’re a farmer or a backyard gardener, stink bugs will ruin your crops and prevent you from harvesting the bounty.

Cover up their favorite hiding spots and keep your home dry. You can use natural solutions to repel and kill bugs before they can make their way into your home and garden.

If necessary, you can also use pesticides to kill bugs immediately on contact. Pesticides should be used carefully as a last resort.

Remember to explore the rest of our stink bug articles.

You’ll find more product recommendations, helpful advice, and answers to common questions to enable you to emerge victorious from your stink bug war.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email