The Stink Bug: Facts, Dangers & Prevention

published Apr 8, 2016
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(Image credit: by pap)

Stink bugs get their name from —wait for it —the odor they emit when they are disturbed or stomped upon. It’s meant to ward off predators, and by predators I mean us humans with our descending boots, rolled up magazines, and scary vacuum suction hoses. (Hell, I’d spray us with noxious fumes too.) Here’s what else you should know about these delightful little creatures.

If you’ve never seen one, they are a mottled brown or grey color, with a shell-like exterior that’s pointed in the back. They are smaller than a breadbox, coming in at around 3/4 of an inch.

Stink bugs don’t really go for humans; they prefer stuff like fruit, leaves and other plant material for their hungry times. They are more nuisance than danger, with most damage happening to orchards and crops when they’re around.

They do like to congregate en masse, which means you might have some a bunch of unwelcome guests on the side of your house during warmer weather. In the winter, they sometimes head indoors like the rest of us. So don’t be surprised if you see them hanging out on your furniture or decor. (It’s more likely they’ll seek refuge in the basement.)

Preventing these guys from breaking and entering the house falls, for the most part, under regular home maintenance. You deter them the same way you do other bugs and household pests: sealing up your home the best you can:

  • Seal any cracks or crevices to keep them from entering the home.
  • Clear the perimeter around your home of leaves and burn any rodent nests.
  • Make sure you don’t have any gaps underneath your exterior doors.
  • Swap out regular lightbulbs for yellow bug safe ones instead.
  • Keep screens on all your windows and doors.
  • If you find stink bugs in the home, or around the house, consider calling pest control to spray insecticide.

If you do find them inside, vacuum them up to avoid unpleasantness, and empty the canister or bag immediately afterwards.