Stink bug control is a big issue these days in parts of the world where they were historically unknown. Originally found in east Asia (Japan, China and Korea) they entered the Unites States in 2001, probably in shipping containers, and have since spread widely, especially in the eastern part of the country. Stink bugs have no natural predators in the United States, and stink bug control and elimination can be notoriously difficult. While they do not directly harm humans, stink bugs do cause significant agricultural damage, and their noxious smell makes them a big nuisance. The stink lingers for sometime and is not easily dispelled even by washing. Some people are also alarmed by the bugs when they enter homes and fly about. But they do not damage structures or breed inside them.
In their native habitat, they feed on many different plants, including plants of agricultural importance such as peaches, figs, apples, citrus fruits, persimmons and mulberries. They suck out juices from these fruits and often leave disfiguring marks on the surface of the fruits, rendering them unmarketable. In the United States, stink bugs are becoming significant agricultural pests especially in the state of Pennsylvania. They have caused huge losses for peach and apple orchards. They have also been observed feeding on other crops such as soybeans, blackberry, corn, lima beans, green peppers and tomatoes.
Stink bugs belong to the family Pentatomidae, and emit their foul smell as a defense against predators, and they become a nuisance especially in the fall, when they leave the fields and come inside homes to seek warmth and hibernate.
How to get rid of stink bugs? First of all, do not crush them. If you do so, the stink is really bad and difficult to remove. You should try to kill them intact.
You can try to create an environment around your home that is not conducive for stink bug habitat. If you keep your garden free of weeds, that creates a less hospitable environment for the stink bugs as they can take cover under weeds, making it less likely that they will cross bare ground to enter your house. You can also scatter kaolin clay around your home or spray plants with a solution of kaolin clay. This will deter the stink bugs from laying eggs or feeding on these plants. Kaolin clay is non-toxic and can be washed off fruits and vegetables prior to consumption.
It is also important to seal your house well so that the stink bugs cannot enter your house. Seal any cracks or holes, put screens over your doors and windows. You need to do this before the onset of the cold nights in the fall, as that is the time when stink bugs start to enter homes.
Once stink bugs are inside the house, you can vacuum them up. Be aware, though that they may stink up the vacuum cleaner also. For this reason, you may wish to discard the vacuum cleaner bag after having swept up the stink bugs.
Applying pesticides outside the home may give you some relief from stink bugs. The pesticide should be a synthetic pyrethroid (such as cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, tralomethrin or sumithrin). These should only be applied by licensed home pest control services in the early fall, just before stink bugs start to enter the house. However, these pesticides get quickly degraded by sunlight, so their efficacy in killing stink bugs may only last for a few days.