In recent years we have been invaded each fall by a wave of new insect pests that get into our homes, vehicles, storage areas, and drive us crazy. These flying pests smell terrible when crushed or even injured. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an insect that was accidentally introduced into this country from Asia and has spread throughout the mid-Atlantic area. They feed primarily on fruits and vegetables through the growing season and can produce multiple generations in one season. While harmless to humans and to structures, stink bugs are a serious pest to agricultural crops and a major nuisance in and around homes during their fall search for over-wintering sites.
Stink Bug Control in the Garden
Stink bugs can cause serious damage to fruits and vegetables in the garden. Apples, peaches, tomatoes, peppers, blackberries, corn, beans, and many other crops are favorites for the juvenile stages of the stink bug. These plants can be sprayed as needed to control damage. Treat with a product such as Eight which contains permethrin. This has been shown to be quite effective at killing the insect, but is registered for use on most food crops. As always, check the label for restrictions on when you can apply the product and on which plants it can be used.
Stink Bug Control in the Home
The best way to control stink bugs in the home is to prevent them from entering the home in the first place. A good quality silicone caulk should be applied to seal up any crack or holes in the exterior of the home. Repair or replace any damaged screens on windows and doors. Sealing up access points is the best way to manage stink bugs in the home. Spraying the exterior of the home with products like Bonide Caterpillar Killer which contains lamba-cyhalothrin may offer some control of the insects that have accumulated on the outside of the structure. The spray may also offer some repellant properties, as well, which will help to keep more insects from returning. Sunlight breaks the chemical down rapidly, however, so you may need to repeat the treatment at regular intervals for best control. Another excellent option for spraying outsid ethe home is Monterey's Bug Buster.
Once the insects have entered the home, you can treat them with a permethrin-based product such as Master Nursery Rose & Flower Insect Spray. Be sure the product you choose has been labeled for interior use. The spray will kill the insects on contact, but, as with any insecticide, use the product with care and caution inside the home. St. Gabriel Lab's Stink Bug Killer is an organic alternative made from various plant oils. Live and dead insects can be collected with a vacuum cleaner, but the insects may impart their strong scent to the vacuum cleaner, so do this with care.