When the warm weather starts to arrive, large green or brown insects known as stink bugs can appear, crawling on the walls or flying around the windows of your home. If you live in an older DIY home, you’ll probably see them everywhere, now that the sun has become brighter and stronger. If you don’t know what they are, you can kick or stomp them, but once you do, you’ll know what you’re bothering with, thanks to the horribly unpleasant smell.
These annoying little creatures stay hidden throughout the winter, but when spring comes they start to move around, looking for a way out, and in doing so they often return home. They also look for hiding places in attics, crawl spaces and inside wall voids. The insects are rather large and oval in shape – and are aptly named after the smell of the chemical produced in the glands on the abdomen – this terrible smell is supposed to be a defence against predators. As you probably know, it does a very good job.
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The most effective way to prevent bedbug invasions is through prevention. Ideally, you should do a thorough inspection of the outside of your home before you allow it to winter. Check doors and windows for cracks and torn screens, and consider using weather stripping to seal gaps under exterior doors. Also inspect attic and crawl space vents for torn or missing screens.
Of course, if you’re past the point of prevention, what do you do? Obviously, it’s best to avoid crushing and trampling them, and pesticides come with their own, often worse, problems. After all, you don’t want harmful chemicals invading your home either. Many people choose to vacuum up stink bugs, but this can cause them to release their foul odour into the hoover.
You may think you’re out of luck – there are some natural and effective options for getting rid of these stinky, smelly bugs.
- Seal all access points now
If you haven’t already done so, the first thing to do is to seal all access points to prevent stink bugs from getting in. Fill in all cracks and holes as mentioned above, think about exhaust fans, ceiling lights and the back of skirting boards too.
- Remove obvious pushpins
Whenever you see a bedbug, remove it by taking it in a paper towel or plastic bag and flushing it down the toilet. Be very careful not to squeeze it, or the smell will be released. If you’re worried about them dragging, apply a hairspray directly to them, which will render them helpless. Make sure you pull them at a narrow, direct angle, then you can easily pick them up with your plastic bag or a paper towel to dispose of them.
- Make a garlic spray
The acidity and smell of garlic offends bedbugs and keeps them away. Create a powerful stink-fighting solution by combining 4 teaspoons of garlic powder with 16 ounces of water in a spray bottle. Spray around doors, windows, and any other areas where stink bugs might enter.
- Mix a peppermint spray
You can use peppermint as you would garlic. Although we can enjoy the scent of this fragrant herb, it repels stink bugs. All you have to do is add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to 16 ounces of water in a spray bottle and spray it, like the garlic solution, around doorways, windows and other entrances.
- Soap and water
Soap and water may be basic, but it’s a very effective remedy, especially if stink bugs are crawling on your curtains or walls. Simply fill a half-gallon or gallon container straight up, about a quarter full of water, then add a teaspoon of dish soap or laundry soap. When insects are disturbed, they usually fall out. So you can place the bucket underneath their location and knock it against the wall, curtains, screens, etc. with a broom or other type of brush. They will be unable to escape once they fall into the container and will eventually drown.
Although vacuuming up stink bugs will leave your hoover smelly if you vacuum them up in a bagless vacuum, if you have a serious problem with the bugs, many people who live in some of the worst affected areas invest in a small / dry hoover that they use just to vacuum up the bugs. Immediately after picking them up, you can empty the contents of the vacuum into a large rubbish bag and seal it tightly until rubbish day. If you find more in the meantime, you can simply open the bag again and add more.
- Neem oil
If you have a garden and you have bedbugs in your house, you probably also have bedbugs invading your garden. Using a neem oil solution will not harm your plants, but it will help keep them away from the stink bugs and you can also use it at home to eliminate them. To do this, combine two tablespoons of neem oil with about half a cup of water in a spray bottle. Be sure to spray your window panels, doors, etc., in addition to plants in your garden and anywhere you might find bedbugs.
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