By Steve Graham, Hometalk
The name says it all: the smell of a squished stink bug can clear the room. However, the odor is the stink bug’s greatest danger to most homeowners. They are not known to spread disease (though isolated cases of allergic reactions have been reported) or eat clothes, food or other material. They do not even reproduce in the home.
On the other hand, harboring stink bugs can lead to larger problems for gardeners and farmers. If stink bugs are allowed to take shelter indoors over the winter, they are likely to find food outdoors in the spring. Various species of stink bug have been blamed for extensive damage to apples, peaches, tomatoes, peppers and many other valuable crops.
Home stink bug prevention
Therefore, it’s important to keep stink bugs from entering the home before winter. To keep out stink bugs (and many other types of bugs), seal any potential entry points. The most common stink bug entry points are cracks around baseboards, exhaust fans, lights, windows and doors. Caulk any such gaps, and fix damaged door and window screens.
In a stink bug fact sheet, Steve Jacobs of Penn State Cooperative Extension suggests using a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide outside the house in the fall if the home can’t be completely sealed. Jacobs said only professional exterminators should apply the spray. The spraying also needs to be timed carefully as the insecticide breaks down and becomes ineffective within days.
On the other hand, Jacobs warns against using insecticides inside the house once stink bugs get into the house. They will likely be ineffective long-term, and could inadvertently create larger problems. Dead stink bugs in wall cavities and other spaces may attract carpet beetles, which can eat through wool clothes and stored food.