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Brown Stink Bugs

Summary: Brown stink bugs infest homes every year as cooler temperatures arrive. Learn to set up a good defense before stink bugs can invade your home. 

Over and over again I get requests for help with stink bug infestations. Over and over again I say the same thing. Exclusion is the key to success. That, of course, is easier said than done and herein lies the problem. Homeowners suffering from stink bug infestations are not doing a close-up inspection of their homes to determine how these bugs are entering.

A thorough inspection of possible insect entry points must include the following tools. You'll need a good, sturdy ladder to inspecting around window and door frames. You'll need an extension mirror to help you look for cracks in places you cannot possible get your head into. And, you'll need a good flashlight with an adjustable beam to inspect shaded or recessed areas. As you can tell, this is not a project that you can knock out in fifteen minutes. This is one of those all-day weekend projects.

Where to begin? We know that stink bugs are attracted to light. That means they may be attracted to outdoor lights on your porch or decorative lighting fixtures or even interior lights shinning through windows. Once the stink bugs get to the lights they start moving around looking for warmth leaking out of the house. They want the warmth to protect them from cold nights or the changing seasons. Keep in mind, these are fairly small, flat insects, so it does not take a large opening for them to get inside. If they fly toward window light they will attempt to get behind window frames. If they fly toward a porch light they may find entry behind or under the base plate where the light is attached to the house.

One person wrote me convinced that she could kill all the stink bugs in her house using insecticide foggers, also known as total release aerosols. Manufacturers of this foggers love to promote their products showing clouds of pesticides magically spreading throughout the room, getting into every nook and cranny, chasing bugs out of hiding. The reality is the fog rises into the air, then settles back down on the floor. If an insect is exposed to the pesticide it will be killed. However, most insects seek hiding places away from direct daylight, so unless you are pointing the fogger into a crack where the insect is hiding, the fogger will not make contact and the insect will survive. Don't waste your money.

There are several other things you can do to control brown stink bugs. You can treat your garden with a pyrethrin insecticide product that won't harm your plants, yet will knock out any stink bugs. Be sure to use a product that specifically says it is safe to treat on flowers and vegetables.

As stink bugs land on the exterior walls of your house they will crawl up (or down) to window and door frames. You can treat the sides of your home using a product called Talstar Pro. You can also use a longer lasting product called Suspend Polyzone. It's said to last up to 90 days between treatments. To treat a small area, a product like D-Force HPX can be purchased in an easy-to-use aerosol.   If you are in a highly infested area you would be better off using a treatment that will require some type of pressurized sprayer and a fan-spray nozzle. Focus your treatments on the most logical entry points like around those windows and door frames, air vents or any pipes or wires coming through the outside into the house. Spray three feet up the wall starting at the base of the foundation to put down a protective barrier. Test a small, unobtrusive area to make sure the product does not leave a stain. Do not over-apply the material. The label tells you exactly how much to use. Applying any more is simply a waste of money and a label violation, as well.

Voids like those found behind light fixtures or around pipes coming through foundation walls can be treated with an insecticide dust like Delta Dust. Again, you'll need a bulb duster to apply the stuff. They can be purchased on-line or in many lawn and garden stores. Need I repeat, follow the label instructions to do it right and for heavens sake don't stick the metal tipped end of the duster any place near an electrical socket.

That's a whole lot of work I just assigned, but it is what is necessary to fight these annual brown stink bug invasions.  If you don't have the time or inclination, pick up the phone and call a pro.

Click here for more articles on stink bugs.

photo credit: <a href="<a "="" href="'">Mean'>">Mean and Pinchy</a> via <a href="<a "="" href="'">photopin">photopin</a> <a href="<a "="" href="'">cc">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="<a "="" href="'">play4smee">play4smee</a> via <a href="<a "="" href="'">photopin">photopin</a> <a href="<a "="" href="'">cc">cc</a>

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