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Stink bugs seek warmth inside homes, here's how to keep them out

Autumn brings many changes with it, such as cooler weather, changing leaves, and- unfortunately- stink bugs.
Credit: The Ohio State University

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Autumn brings many changes with it, such as cooler weather, changing leaves, and, unfortunately, stink bugs. 

"Stink bugs are most prevalent during the late fall months and into winter as they seek shelter from the cold"' Andrew Gaumond, a horticulturist and an editorial director at Petal Republic told Homes & Gardens

Typically, the bugs find this shelter inside homes. 

The insects live up to their name as well, as they secrete a foul-smelling chemical when they're threatened or crushed. The exact "stink" of the stink bug is hard to pin down, with people claiming the smell is anywhere between cilantro to the spray of a skunk. 

Either way, most homeowners don't want these invasive bugs inside their homes. 

Native to Asia, the bugs were first recorded in Allentown in 1996. Today, they can be found in 44 U.S. states, in a very similar pattern to the spread of the spotted lanternfly

Luckily, stink bugs are more of a nuisance than an actual threat. They don't bite or carry diseases, according to Morton Arboretum, but they can be a threat to crops, particularly soybeans, sweet corn, tomatoes and fruits that grow on trees. 

Either way, in winter, the invasive species wants to invade your home. Here are the best ways to ensure that doesn't happen. 

Spray an insecticide

It may be the most obvious answer, but it's also one of the most effective. 

There are several natural top-rated stink-bug repellants to keep the insects away, typically sold online or in stores. 

"Where feasible, it’s worth spraying a store-bought pesticide or insecticide solution around the outside of your home (particularly around windows and doors), which may provide some protection," Gaumond told Homes & Garden. "At the same time, pull out any vegetation you see growing from the foundations or very close to the home's exterior."

Seal cracks

Any visible cracks and crevices in between windows, doorways and extractor vents can be easy entryways for stink bugs. 

Experts say that sealing where necessary with a caulk sealant can be a huge help in keeping stink bugs out. 

Be mindful of lighting

It's generally agreed upon by experts that stink bugs are attracted to light. It's recommended to keep outdoor lighting to a minimum. Additionally, during the evening hours, turning off the porch lights can be an extra easy step to keep the pests away. 

Eliminate open or exposed food sources

Stink bugs have a strong preference for ripe fruit, according to Science Daily. A fruit bowl with a few pieces of extra ripe fruit is exactly what the invasive species likes.

It's recommended to store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly to avoid attracting bugs. Additionally, wipe down counters and sweep floors to eliminate crumbs or sticky spill residue. 

Use a vacuum

If you do find stink bugs inside your home and you're wary of their scent, an easy way to eliminate that stress is a vacuum, it will easily suck up the bugs without leaving behind the odor. 

However, it's important to dispose of the vacuum bag shortly after sucking up the bug. Even dead stink bugs can leave a pesky residue. 

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