Monday, February 18, 2013

How To Control Stink Bugs

 It's almost that time of year.  The return of the stink bug.  I am hoping I am wrong and that all of ours have died off. But just in case, I am sharing what I have learned.  They are ugly and they stink. There you go, that's all you need to know.  I wish!  These hideous creatures came into Allentown, Pa. in shipping containers from China.  They have no natural predators and they multiply faster than rabbits.  In the Fall when the temps begin to drop, they seek out their winter hiding places.  They look for any crack or crevice they can find.  They hibernate through the winter and as soon as the first warm Spring temps arrive, these neanderthals start to emerge to do their damage.  And damage they do!  I have not planted a garden in 2 years because of the devastation they caused.  This year I am going for it again and hoping the stink bugs have moved on.

 This past Fall I noticed there were significantly fewer of them. Plus, we had very cold temps which might have killed a lot of them off. I hope! For those of you who are living with the horrible stink bug invasion, I have found a few things that help.  The first one is from Christer who sure knows how to kill a bug.  He told me to mix liquid dish detergent with a bit of alcohol and water and spray them.  When he told me this, I had been using industrial chemical poison which made the bugs laugh at me and flip me the bird.  I sort of doubted that Christer's method would work but I was desperate and ready to try anything.  It was a miracle!  You mix the solution in  a spray bottle and spritz them and bam, they drop dead.  Apparently these little beasties breathe through their shells.  When you spray them, the liquid detergent coats the shell and suffocates them.  The alcohol makes the detergent spread easier. This is the tricky part.  You don't want to squish them or step on them because they release a liquid that attracts more stink bugs. The Blog Tech thinks they smell like crayons.  He is right. They smell like really stinky crayons. And they leave drops of brown liquid to attract more of their buddies.

When I was living through the height of our invasion, I was obsessed!  Bugs in my house?  How awful!  I live in a  very old house with very old windows.  They were coming in through the spaces in my windows.  They tend to swoop in late in the afternoon to find a place to spend the night before the temps begin to drop.  I would wait on my front porch for them and squirt them as they landed before they could get to the cracks.  This helped significantly but not totally.  Something that really helped was buying Xcluder.  It is a metal mesh fabric that you can cut into strips and place between you window and the ledge.  It prevents them from crawling in.  I also used painters tape to seal around the windows. I have read endless articles about stink bugs. It seems that in northern climes, we just have to suffer through a time period until these bugs realize they have to move south to survive.  Eventually they will end up somewhere warm that provided lots of food.  They have devastated apple production in our area for years now.  So, to end a very long post about very yucky creatures, if you have trouble with stink bugs this year,  try some of my tips.  And if you live in the south...get ready!

20 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Sounds terrible. I suspect our winters in Canada are too cold for them. Although global warming may change that. And three cheers for Christer the Bug Slayer!

Patty Woodland said...

We have a slightly different type and they are part of Montana. They come every year.

I hate the little buggers. I have started flushing them down the toilet.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

They are nasty! We were very lucky this year, but I found a few this winter - that did not make me very happy!!! I'll try your trick!

Robin Larkspur said...

Good info. Damn the stink bugs!

~ Janis said...

So that's what they look like!!!
We have them up here in Vermont too, but not many. One other method of eradicating them is the use of the "ultimate" weapon of pest destruction----DUCKS. I got my 2 ducks because 20 million SNAILS decimated my garden in 2011. Last summer the 2 ducks eliminated every snail, slug, horn worm, bug, and even chased the woodchuck off, all by July 1st. Then I herded them to the asparagus beds and they feasted on Japanese beetles for 5 days til the last one was consumed. Also for the first time in FIFTY years there were NO ants in the laundry room, mud room or kitchen. An unseen benefit for sure! The ducks are comical, good watch dogs, are well trained to come when I call and will do anything for peas or berries. The hens do not eat the variety of bugs that the ducks do, but they do lay great eggs. Drop by and meet the Vermont flock when you have a chance; www.tailgait.blogspot.com

Debra She Who Seeks said...

All hail Christer the Bug Slayer! Should make a good movie.

Lisa said...

I live in south central PA and they have been a real problem for a couple of years. Thanks for the advice - I will be giving it a try!
xo,
Lisa

thecottagebythecranelaketwo said...

I hate it when my comment just vaish in to thin air like it did just now! Well I better start all over again!

I'm afraid that the winter You've had this time is just what the stink bugs love, but I sure do hope I am wrong! It's relatives up here in northern Europe, we call them Berry Farts :-) are harmless compared to the stink bug.

But we have the Spanish Forest slug instead! They are so sticky and slimy that no animal will eat them, not even hungry ducks! Some can pick over 500 in the eveing in their gardens and then over 500 in the morning again. They eat everything especially if it has a strong smell. So far no in my village and I do hope it will stay that way!

Have a great day!

I do like the idea of Christer the Bug Slayer :-) :-) :-)

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

THANK YOU!!!!!

Looking at them, I don't think the invasive beetle-like bugs we have, are them. These do the same dance... Invade a house. Hibernate. Warmth brings 'em out again. UGH...

But you can squish them, without stink! And they aren't as flat as the Stink Bugs.

YIshhhhhh...

I take it, that they eat up ones veggies crop, kinda' like locust...?

Nellie said...

We didn't seem to have any problems with these pests until toward the end of the season. In the fall, they began gathering around our doors and windows (how do they know that's a good place for entry?), and some of them managed to sneak inside. We have sent a few to a "watery end" at points during the winter. Thanks for the tips for the spray!

Ann said...

i've never seen one.
here,in my area of so. California..we get SPIDERS!! we had a number of black widows a few years back..makes my skin crawl to think of them!

Sonia Rodriguez said...

Oh my we have them here in Texas my husband said. Now I will be on the look out for them with the concoction you stated. Thank you! You always have greats tips and tricks with recipes lol.

Sonia

Santas Haunted Boot said...

These bugs are truly scary. We had a number of them in our old home. We just got our windows replaced this last year (a year after leaving in the house.) We HAD to And because of it, we've been warmer and I don't have to worry about kids going to slice their hands off because an old window broke on them. But we still get bugs. YUCK! When you're up at night to get a snack and one of these little buggers pops out at you to say "hey, do you know a way outta here?" it totally freaks you out. I mean they're pretty big. I also hate box elder bugs. Get loads of them here in Michigan. But Spiders scare me more than any other bug. Seriously, if I had to take my pick between a gross hairy spider and a stink bug. It's the stink bug.

Barb said...

Oh dear!! I haven't seen any of these yet. The thought makes me cringe. With our mild winters, they might never die!!

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Heavens but those are strange looking "stink bugs!" Ours here in California are black and have a hardish shell..are large and totally horrible. I can't even bring myself to step on one of them. White stuff goes all over the place.. I haven't seen one in a very long time and that is just fine with me.
Yours look prehistoric...well..actually I guess both of them are! :)

Jeane M. said...

Brilliant! Hope to try out your solution as well as Janis pest destruction tool -ducks. Last laugh will be mine now. Thanks. Got my eye on your next posts.

Ina in Alaska said...

Those are some ugly bugs! Great tips Joyce! I don't think I have seen any stink bugs here in ANC but I know I have seen them at my sister's in Brick NJ. I will pass along the detergent spray tip!

Carl Belken said...

We too have had our battles with these awful invaders. Please, would you share the amounts of each ingredient in the spray.

We had relatively moderate impact on these destroyers last year, seemingly, with another home mixed spray, still they thrive. I say, seemingly, as we also daily went through the squash type plants and squishing the retched things. Also we checked the leaves, especially their underside, where they lay their eggs, tearing that section from the leaf, and then grinding/destroying the eggs and leaf section into the ground. Is a yucky process, so am not sure which worked the best, the spray, the removal, or a bit of both.

Surely did not know, that their dreadful odor lured others, so need to rethink the squishing process.

In years past, they have totally destroyed our squash family plants. Though dreading their arrival, with more information we hopefully will be better prepared to deal with them. Thank you, for this post.

Gracie

Shannon said...

Thanks for posting the soapy water/alcohol tip!! At this point I'd try anything. We've had a plague of the damnable things for years now. Wretched creatures. I learned the hard way to never, ever vacuum them up, even if I find one that's been dead for awhile. The vacuum cleaner motor is nice and warm and disperses the stink.

I've found that keeping a plastic cup of soapy water around helps. They are terrible flyers *but even worse swimmers* and it's pretty easy to sweep them into the water. After I get a bunch in the cup they get a rather unceremonious burial at sea.

Bonus: they're dumber than a sack of old doorknobs, so tricking them into diving into the cup is also easy.

The one thing I'd never advise anyone to do under any circumstances barring extreme desperation is to set up a bug zapper. The smell intensifies when heated and they tend to pop, littering the area (and whomever happens to be standing nearby) with stink shrapnel.

luckybunny said...

We don't have those here, but I've seen em! Lots of fun huh? This is great information!