Springtime is not only the season of nature’s rebirth but also a great time to start worrying about pests, as you can see from our latest article. If you want to keep your crops, plants, flowers, and gardens safe from dangerous insects, here is all the necessary information you need.
Identifying stink bugs
Stink bugs get their name from the odor they release when they are crushed, killed, or when they sense a threat. More than 200 species of this pest are known to live and thrive in North America, preying on plants, fruits, and crops, which makes them a threat to gardens and farms all over the country.
They seek out comfort, especially warm temperatures, which is why you will mainly see them from late spring to late fall, depending on the average temperatures in your state. However, come winter, they will seek shelter indoors, which makes them a threat to all your inhouse plants as well.
As we previously mentioned, there are over 200 species of stink bugs commonly known to live in the North American territories. The Brown Marmorated stink bug is the most common type found in the United States, and it is known to have traveled from Asia only a few decades ago.
Although they don’t reproduce inside buildings or cause damage, these stink bugs remain a threat for many fruits and crops, from apples to peaches, beans, tomatoes, and corn.
The Southern Green stink bug can be mainly found in the south-eastern states such as Virginia, Florida, and Texas, are known to live up to 70 days, and usually feed on cotton, soybeans, and peas.
The Dusky variety is spread across the country but is usually spotted in fruit-growing states. It attacks apples and peaches.
When and where can you find stink bugs?
Although they don’t pose a threat to humans, stink bugs can still cause significant damage to crops, almost all-year-long.
As the seasons change, you can find them seeking shelter in warmer places, including the inside of your house. Easy entry points in any commercial and residential buildings include holes in screens and siding, walls with enough sunlight, eaves and vents, window air conditioners, doors, and window frames, as well as any other space that is large enough for stink bugs to fit through.
The good news is that, unlike termites, stink bugs won’t cause structural damage to your building. Their eating and mating behaviors are also completed outdoors but the main issue relating to these bugs remains the smell they leave behind when crushed.
The pests are also sensitive to seasonal changes so that you will mainly see them looking for warm shelters during September. They don’t feed or mate while inside, which means they might get unnoticed until January.
Once your heating system is turned on to protect you against the cold temperatures, you can notice stink bugs becoming active again. Spring, and, most likely, May, will launch these insects into their next reproductive cycle, as they seek crops and plants to feed on and lay eggs.
How to keep stink bugs away naturally
If you want to prevent these creatures from becoming a risk to your crops and gardens, there are plenty of suitable solutions that don’t involve the use of harsh chemicals and pesticides. Amongst them, here are the most efficient.
Throughout the centuries, essential oils have proven their benefits in various areas, from the cosmetic to the pharmaceutical industries. Keep in mind that strong smells are often natural repellents for all kinds of bugs and insects, and stink bugs make no exception.
Mint, rosemary, and lemongrass essential oils provide the highest success rates when it comes to deterring pests. However, keep in mind that these plants are mainly repellants, which means they won’t kill the stink bugs but only send them away.
To prevent your home from being infested by stink bugs, you can use a few drops of essential mint oil mixed with water. Spray the substance around doors, window frames, and other entry points around the house. The good thing is that you’ll also keep your home smelling fresh, and prevent other insects from entering inside and become a threat to you, your family, or your pets.
Diatomaceous earth represents a natural sedimentary rock, known for its beneficial effects in terms of keeping pests away, including termites, ants, and stink bugs. The compound contains silica, iron oxide, and alumina.
The process of evenly distributing the powder-like compound is slightly complicated, so make sure you apply it around the walls, windows, and doors, as well as in any cracks around the walls and doors, to kill stink bugs and more dangerous pests.
You can also use it for your garden to keep insects away from your flowers, crops, plants, and grass, but make sure to apply it on dry surfaces. Don’t try to use diatomaceous earth 24-48 hours after it rained or when it’s windy outside because it won’t have the same effect.
Also, avoid watering your garden and plants for 24 hours after scattering diatomaceous earth to allow it to sit and work its magic. You should also repeat the process every week to enjoy a pest-free season.
Garlic won’t only repel vampires and other mythical creatures from your house but can also be used as a natural deterrent for stink bugs. Its strong smell may be delicious in the kitchen but most pests will disagree.
Spread garlic cloves around the doors and windows of your home to prevent pests and evil spirits from coming inside or mix a few cloves of crushed garlic with water and lemon juice and apply the spray around the same areas.
However, as with most other natural ingredients, garlic won’t kill stink bugs but will merely keep them away from your home once the temperatures start to drop. If you want a more permanent solution for your problem, you can plant spicy herbs like oregano, mint, and rosemary in your garden. Planting garlic has a similar repellent effect, aside from being one of the key ingredients in any delicious home-cooked meal.
If you don’t want your clothes and rooms to smell of garlic or essential oils, another easy method to remove stink bugs from your property is to constantly vacuum.
Thoroughly vacuum the floors, carpets, curtains, and other surfaces around your house, insisting on the crevices around the windows and doors to gather all the dirt, dust, debris, and pest eggs, as well as stink bugs.
When “hunting” for stink bugs, make sure you don’t crush them but scoop them inside the vacuum container to prevent their odor from being released all over the house. Discard the trash bag directly outside, in the bin, and keep it sealed so that the bugs won’t get away. You can also choose to place the bag in soapy water, which will, ultimately, kill the insects.
Electric insect traps
Electric insect traps have the main advantage of being easy to use. All you have to do is plug them in and they will attract all kinds of insects and kill them, without any effort. These devices can be successfully used in removing all sorts of pests from your property, both indoors and outdoors.
Electric insect traps can be used for cockroaches, wasps, yellow hornets, mosquitoes, flies, stink bugs, and other pests to clear your home and backyard.
Turn it on at night but make sure to keep a distance from the trap as it can make quite the noise whenever it traps an insect. Don’t forget to turn it off in the morning and vacuum the remains of all insects.
Cut off food access
Whenever the temperatures drop, stink bugs will seek shelter in a warm and cozy environment, preferably with quick access to food. If you want to avoid turning these pests into a problem, be extra careful with the cleaning process in your kitchen and pantry.
Seal tight all food containers and remove all the scraps, crumbs, and leftovers from the table and floors.
Remember that stink bugs feed on plants, so any interior plants and decorative trees you might have, need to be trimmed, cut, and paired down.