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Homemade Stink Bug Solutions

Many people have shared many-a-story online about their battles against stink bugs. Some neighbors swear by certain plants, while others use magic spells (they're the weird neighbors, right?). But, there may be a little validity in some of the homespun attempts at getting rid of bugs of the stinky variety, especially those that use common sense (blocking entries, etc.). Here's a rundown...

lookin for stankbugzimage via foobean01, available through

Preventative Measures

Destroying the eggs can go a long way in mitigating a stink bug infestation. This can be a little tricky, though, as you'll need to track down the bulk of the eggs, usually found on the undersides of leaves. Should you have a number of tall trees, getting to those eggs could be dangerous. As many pesticides don't affect the eggs of stink bugs, physically scraping eggs into a bucket of bleach or soap water will destroy the creatures.

Beat 'em Back

First thing's first, you've got to seal off their entryway into your home. Take some time to watch the offending bugs, and try to find how they're entering. Once you pin down a path, you'll know where to plug. Start by caulking or using an expanding foam sealantexpanding foam to block their thoroughfare. Make sure screens and storm windows are intact, and door sweepsdoor sweep can really help as well.

New Jersey Trappers

Additionally, a good old fashioned vacuum and broom are pretty effective at dealing with stink bugs. You may want to use an older vac (or a shop vac) as the bugs will undoubtedly stink up your appliance. A bit of diluted bleach in water will kill trapped bugs, as will most detergent and dish soap. The chemicals within the soap breaks down the exoskeleton and drowns the insect.

vacuumimage via Rissmu, available through

Julian Smith of New Jersey has invented a trap akin to the "minnow" or "fish" traps many of us learned from our grandfathers back in the day. Essentially inverting the top of a plastic bottle back into itself, with a light lure in bottom, a stink bug trap can be created by relying mostly on gravity.

Another New Jersey resident, Jody Williams, has designed a stinkbug trap that uses several small planks of wood and some cardboard (a supposed attractant of the brown marmorated jerks).

It's true that light seems to attract the insects, so many home traps utilizing a system that allows entry, then prevents exit should be effective. Sticky traps are also available, however their efficacy is debatable.

Clean Up, Ya Slob

Stink bugs like to hide. If you remove some/much of what they tend to hide within or behind, you're helping to cut down on places stink bugs might breed or hibernate. It sounds simplistic, but it all adds up in the fight against this insect. Reduce your clutter.

Options from the Kitchen

Though much of the following are not proven, many people claim they have bug-repelling properties. If you're like most, you'll stop at anything to get rid of your stink bug problem, so trying out a few unconventional options shouldn't turn you off. The following have are all purported to a variety of repel pesky insects. Give them a try, and let us know about their efficacy in combating stink bugs:

  • Vinegar
  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Lemongrass
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic
  • Citronella
  • Marigolds
  • Cinnamon
  • Baby Powder
  • Chalk
  • Onion
  • Citrus Peel
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Eucalyptus
  • Tansy
  • Bergamot
  • Sagebrush

Welcome the Wasps

waspsimage via mordoc, available through

Certain small, parasitic wasps are especially effective at dealing with stink bugs. They hunt the bugs down, then inject their offspring into the abdomen of the bug. Like something from a sci-fi movie, the adolescent wasp later erupts from the stink bug, killing it.

Embrace the Blues

A Southern tradition for decades, the practice of painting a porch ceiling or other outdoor facade blue has made a comeback in recent years. Many people believe a blue ceiling or wall has a spiritual significance, yet others believe the hue tricks or fools insects, birds and other pests into believing its the sky. The invaders just keep on going without making nests nor laying eggs near the blue. The evidence for this solution is anecdotal at best, but if you're looking to redecorate, a calming "haint" blue color might be right for you (and possibly, your bug problem).


Not all of the aforementioned approaches may work. In fact, a small number might work. Personally, I've not had the opportunity to test them all myself. Merely, I'm just passing along some info that many folks have put forth as their own anecdotes to stink bug (and other insect) problems. The bright side to these tips, tricks and methods is they're cheap and accessible. And keep in mind, some very effective home remedies have been offered up in years past in dealing with other types of pests (see: ammonia repellent for vermin, mothballs to keep away snakes, etc.). Best of luck, and keep us posted on your progress!

See the next article, "The Green Foxtail Fungus" »

Sources used in the research for this article:
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At a glance

Homemade Solutions:

  • Start early.
  • Seal off entrances.
  • Seal and caulk holes and cracks.
  • Jersey Trappers know what's up.
  • Tidy up around the home.
  • Try some cupboard options.
  • Welcome the wasps.
  • Paint it blue.