How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs for Good

Candace Nelson
Written by Candace Nelson
Updated December 17, 2021
brick house with screen
Photo: Ruth P. Peterkin / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Stink bugs can slip through gaps in siding and cracks in foundations.

  • Once they invade, stink bugs are difficult to eliminate.

  • Stink bugs are attracted to fruits and vegetables and love gardens.

  • Use their love of sunlight and the color yellow to round them up.

  • When threatened, stink bugs emit a putrid cilantro-like smell, so don’t squish!

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Stink bugs show up by the dozens just outside of homes. They grasp at screens and slip through gaps in siding and doors left open. The pests are most apparent in the fall when they’re looking for a warm, cozy home in which to spend the winter. Here’s how to get rid of stink bugs for good.

What Are Stink Bugs?

Stink bugs have six legs and are about the size of a penny. They’re relatively flat and resemble a family crest or a shield. They can be light brown to dark brown in color with veined or marbled designs on their backs. 

The good news is that stink bugs aren’t a danger to you or your house—though they are a nightmare to farmers because they wreak havoc on crops. What’s worse is that their diets are so varied. They might destroy apples and peaches one year and soybeans the next.

Unfortunately for us, most predators haven’t developed a taste for stink bugs. And stink bugs can produce up to five generations per year, so there are a lot of them for us to deal with.

Pest control companies can help but stink bugs are hard to manage and even more difficult to eliminate. Often, pesticides will not work, and if they do work, they do not prevent the next swarm from appearing in the same location. Focus your efforts on deterring stink bugs instead. 

What Attracts Stink Bugs?

Knowing what attracts stink bugs can help you get rid of them. Unfortunately, their list of favorite things might resemble yours. 

Here’s a look at what attracts stink bugs:

  • The color yellow

  • Warm sunlight

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Feeling warm and cozy in the winter

How to Avoid the Stink

If you find stink bugs practicing hygge in your living room, your first instinct might be to squish the unwelcome houseguests, but resist the temptation. When they are disturbed or threatened, they show you how they earned the name stink bugs. 

They may emit a foul cilantro-like odor from glands located on their undersides. You don’t want that stink in your house. If you get lucky, they might just fly away instead. 

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

If stink bugs are inside your house, it’s time to show them who’s boss. 

Use Homemade Stink Bug Traps

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends attracting stink bugs to traps. Fill metal pans with soapy water in a sunny spot in your house or under a light source. They will drown quickly.

Focus your pest control efforts below points of entry, like the window that needs replacing, or next to areas that are usually filled with sunlight.

Use Disinfectant 

Try using a disinfectant spray directly on the bug. Insecticides labeled for indoor use are also effective against stink bugs. But insecticides and disinfectants are just for invaders. They won’t deter more stink bugs from coming in.

Trap Them 

Attract stink bugs to a gathering spot. Often sticky pest sheets, available at hardware stores, are yellow. Put one in a sunny spot on the floor and watch stink bugs wander over and get stuck. 

Vacuum Them Up

Stink bugs are no match for the mighty vacuum. With or without a bag, the vacuum will collect the pests. Once you’re done, empty the vacuum outside since they can crawl right back out. Plus, dead stink bugs can leave a smell.

How to Prevent Stink Bugs

luxurious patio with open doors
Photo: coralimages / Adobe Stock

Preventive treatment is the best defense against stink bugs—and most other pests. Deterring stink bugs from entering on the ground isn’t enough. They can fly right over sprayed pesticide to get where they want to be, which is inside your lovely home. 

Inspect Your Home

Start with a thorough home inspection, looking for any way a stink bug could sneak in. 

  • Walk around the perimeter of the home, checking for gaps and cracks in the foundation or cracks in door and window frames. 

  • Check window screens for any rips or tears.

  • Repair or replace any broken window seals

  • Examine any bug entry points like soffits, pipes, utility wire holes, dryer vents, chimneys, and siding.

  • Seal any gaps with caulk or mesh.

  • Move any leaf piles away from the house and clear vegetation where stink bugs can gather.

Put Produce Away

Stink bugs are attracted to fruit and vegetables, so rather than keeping a bowl of fresh fruit on your counter, tuck it in the fridge or put it in an air-tight container. You don’t want to make your home too inviting to pests. 

Stink bugs also enjoy helping themselves to snacks from vegetable gardens. If you find them munching away in your garden, consider giving them a space of their own with the next tip.

Give Stink Bugs Something Yellow to Gather On

File this one under strange but true. Stink bugs are attracted to the color yellow, so give them something yellow in the yard to gather on. Consider donating an old kids’ toy to the cause or planting some pretty yellow sunflowers.

Just plant your flowers strategically far away from the house to keep them from coming inside.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.