Summary: When is the best time to hire a professional to treat for stink bug control and what should be included in the treatment? Knowing the answers to these questions could save you time and a lot of aggravation. You can learn more and/or purchase stink bug control products here.
Jay; Rockville, Maryland
We just found about 10-12 dead stink bugs and 2-3 live ones. I don't mind spending the money for an exterminator to keep them from taking over our house, but do I spend the $400-$500 now or do I wait for it to get worse? Do I need a service contract for stink bugs?
Why wait till the stink bugs get worse? They are not reproducing inside the house, but they are finding ways inside via cracks and crevices. My suggestion is to do a combination of thorough mechanical exclusion and hiring a pest control professional to do a thorough treatment.
Buy a case of high quality expanding foam caulk. Be sure you understand how this stuff works. You don't want to pump in a bunch of foam only to watch it bow out your siding as it hardens. Silicone caulk is, still another sealing product. I really like the abrasive filler called Xcluder. It's cheap and easy to use. Use products that will last a long time. The better products have great help lines you can call should you require assistance. Pay attention to the west and south sides of the house first. Those are the "sun" sides and the warm surfaces attract insects.
Caulking and sealing requires time and patience. A good extension mirror is a big help when you are trying to find all the nooks and crannies where stink bugs can enter. Instead of leaning out dangerously on a ladder, use the mirror to do the reaching. Professional inspectors also carry a really powerful flashlight to inspect inside dark crevices.
After you have completed your part of the anti-stink bug project you can call in a professional pest control company to do the pesticide application. The pros will often try to sell you an ongoing program. It's their job. But, stink bugs are occasional invaders. They do not reproduce inside, so there is no worry about finding one stink bug and thinking that their population will suddenly explode. The only reason you will discover more is if your house happens to be in the way of their migration path. If that is the case, stink bugs will land on your house and find their way inside. That's why you are going to instruct your exterminator how you want your treatment to proceed.
Be very specific about what you want. Make your exterminator understand that you have done your research about stink bugs. You want him to use a pesticide dust like Tempo 1% in the attic spaces. This is not a dusting of the general spaces, but a specific treatment of the spaces between the roof rafters at the gable ends. That is the lowest part of the attic where the roof line comes down to meet the floor. It's tough to treat, but a prepared pro should carry a dusting tool with a long, extension pole. The tool is called a "dust stick". Make sure to tell them to bring one along to the job. That ought to impress them.
You will also need to ask the pest control company if they do roof treatments. Not all pros carry ladders, but you want your roof treated with a product like Talstar Pro, Temprid SC or a long lasting product like Suspend Polyzone that is said to last 90 days outdoors. You want to get some protection under the roof shingles. Other areas to treat include under the siding and around windows and doors. You are trying to set up the most complete insect barrier possible to keep stink bugs at bay. If you have a pump sprayer you can do the treatment yourself.
To make sure your exterminator knows you are serious by requesting that he bring you a copy of the label of every pesticide to be used at your home. All pest control pros are required to keep copies of labels of all their pesticides. It means a little extra preparation work for them, but it is your right to ask. It is good to have the label to check to see if the pesticide being used is meant to work as promised by your exterminator. Do not let him begin the work without first giving you the labels.
Make your exterminator work for his dollar. Watch him the entire time he is at your home to make sure he is thorough, yet careful. Don't let him get sloppy when he is applying the pesticides. It's your home and you have to live there. Don't worry about looking over his shoulder. He needs to know you want results.
Lastly, you do not need a service contract for stink bug control. You only need to do this service when you are finding the stink bugs. If you have done a good job on the mechanical exclusion and your pest control company has done a thorough application, you should be set. Plus, the pest control service should carry a 30 day free call-back period. They may not want to guarantee their work because much of the success will be dependent upon your exclusion efforts. I would not offer a money-back guarantee if it were my pest control company doing the work. But, they should honor the free 30 day call-back period. Insist on it.
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