Get rid of stink bugs in house.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in the House (Naturally)

So, your house is full of stink bugs and you’re tired of seeing them all over your furniture, appliances, and countertops.

These bugs don’t bite or lay eggs inside, but they’re like walking stink bombs because once you smash them, they’ll release a foul odor that’ll linger for hours.

You can’t squish them. You can’t smack them. You can’t even pick them up without the fear of crushing them!

Why are all these stink bugs in my house? You ask.

You’ll learn why in this guide. You’ll also read about:

  • Why you have so many stink bugs
  • What’s baiting them into your house
  • How to get rid of them naturally
  • How to keep them out of your house
  • And more

By the end this guide, you should have everything you need to know to control, manage, and eliminate them for good.

If you have any questions, just post a comment and let me know (as usual).

Sound good?

Let’s dive in and get the stink out.

Why are there so many stink bugs in my house?

Stink bugs think your home is their home. They come indoors during the wintertime to hide from extreme cold.

The most popular one is the Brown Marmorated stink bug, which belongs to the Pentatomidae family of bugs. Other similar bugs include the green stink bug in the same group.

There are over 4700 insects in the same group that all have shielded back and terrible stink!

Or during the blazing hot summer to cool off. They may also wander inside looking for food, water, or a place to take shelter.

Some stink bugs get into the home from plants purchased at a nursery unexpectedly.

Others will enter through cracks, crevices, windows, drains, under doors, through electrical inlets, plumbing outlets, or they might even be smuggled inside on your clothes.

They work on a yearly cycle and can detect the change in seasons.

When days get shorter and the sun sets earlier, stink bugs know that it’s time to find shelter before the winter’s here.

In the wild, they’ll find a nice piece of bark, foliage, or mulch to hide under.

But it’s nicer to infest a home because there’s plenty of places for them to hide. This is why stink bugs come into homes.

It’s mainly to protect them from the sudden change in temperatures as they dip down into cold ranges.

Conversely, after they’re done overwintering inside your property, they’ll need to make their way out as well.

When winter’s over and summer is here, they’ll detect the change in temperature with longer sunlight periods. This means it’s time to go back outside to eat, feed, and mate!

You may suddenly see a sudden influx of stink bugs appear during this time as well.

So it’s twice a year that stink bugs are spotted:

  • When winter is coming so the temperatures drop and stink bugs struggle to find a place to overwinter
  • When spring/summer is coming so the temperatures rise and they look for a way out of your home

The best way to stop them?

Don’t let them get inside in the first place. If there are no stink bugs to start with, you’ll avoid seeing them go out when spring comes around. It’s that simple.

This is why you keep seeing stink bugs in your house. It’s twice a year where they’re most actively found crawling around on the furniture, but those could be early migrators or late stragglers trying to get IN or OUT of your house.

What attracts stink bugs in your house

Stink bugs like the stable temperature, humidity, and protection from predators inside your house.

So it’s no wonder that they show up to ruin your day (or night). If your home is full of entry points, they’ll just follow their senses and find their way into your nice, cozy home.

This is why pest exclusion is such an effective way to prevent stink bugs in the first place- we’ll talk about this more later in detail.

If your home had zero insulation and was the same temperature as the outdoors, stink bugs may pass on it since it doesn’t give them the warmth they’re looking for during those harsh winters.

Why do I keep finding stink bugs in my house?

You keep finding them inside your house because it’s stink bug diapause season. They’re done mating, feeding, and doing other stink bug activities for the year.

So now they’re looking for somewhere to settle for the winter season. Your home is a perfect environment. It’s warm. It’s free of pests (hopefully). And it’s full of hiding places for them to shelter themselves.

You’ll often find a ton of them during the seasonal change from fall to winter (coming into the house) and winter to spring when they find their way back out to the wild.

Lots of people are finding stink bugs in their homes in the year 2020.

Why is this? It’s probably because everyone’s stuck at home and only beginning to notice them.

In reality, the bug cycle is cyclical. They’ve likely been coming into your house for years but you’ve never noticed it because you were out or at work.

But hey, that’s just a random theory. It could be a peak season for stink bugs based on some reports online.

Where do stink bugs hide in your house?

Stink bug on window of house.

Stink bugs don’t just come into your house to sit around and sleep over the winter. They’ve got work to do. Stink bug work.

When they get inside, they’ll start to slowly start to infest your property. They’ll come out and explore your house to find and seek warmth.

You may end up finding stink bugs in the most uncanny places, such as:

  • Your bed
  • Clothing
  • Closet
  • Couch
  • Sofa
  • Counters
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Appliances
  • Oven
  • Microwave
  • Fridge
  • Curtains
  • Blinds
  • Tables
  • Lights
  • Or your coffeemaker

These pests are poor flyers, but will still try and bump into random objects.

They’ll get into your food, dive into your favorite drink, and crawl all over your laptop and TV like they’re dumb.

These stink bugs exhibit what’s called diapause, which is basically like sleepwalking. They’re not completely hibernating during the winter, but they’re tired and weary.

Because of diapause, they’re very clumsy and will crawl anywhere their primal sense tells them to. This is why you may find them in weird places in your house.

But don’t worry about seeing one in your bedroom- it doesn’t always mean there are more in the same area.

Does one stink bug mean more?

If you find one stink bug in your home, garden, attic, bedroom, basement, or anywhere else, it likely means there’s more.

But it doesn’t mean they’re all infesting the same place. There are likely dozens of them around your home but hiding in different places.

This is why there’s no point to use those gas bug bombs or diffusers.

They may kill all the pests in one area, but that doesn’t mean they’re all there. If you see one stink bug, it’s safe to assume your entire home is infested.

Do stink bugs lay eggs in your home?

No, they don’t. Stink bugs are going through diapause and during this cycle, they don’t reproduce.

They also don’t feed or eat anything, so your kitchen pantry or coffee beans, or dry goods are completely safe.

Unlike other pantry-eating insects (such as pantry moths, larder beetles, and rice bugs), stink bugs will leave those foods alone during diapause. They’re just here for the warmth your home provides.

Stink bugs leave on their own when spring comes around, which they’ll exit diapause and start eating everything and breeding.

How long will stink bugs live in your house?

Stink bugs will stay in your house until the winter is over. They come in during the autumn to early winter and then will leave in the spring when the temperatures pick up.

After that, they shouldn’t stay in your house any longer. They’re only in there for a short period of time because they don’t want to get killed by the cold. That’s all there is to it.

If you still see stink bugs in your house during the summertime, they could be hiding inside from the extreme heat outside.

Or they may be trying to find their way out because they’re stuck.

Regardless, there are things you can do to effectively get rid of them and keep them out of your house permanently.

Can you flush a stink bug down the toilet?

While your toilet can probably handle a stink bug no problem, your drain plumbing may not.

Stink bugs have a thick, rugged shell on their back (called a shield) that protects them from predators.

If your plumbing is a small diameter or already clogged with some sludge, the stink bug may get stuck and back up your entire system.

Don’t flush stink bugs down the toilet if you want to avoid getting a clog. And never flush more than one at the same time.

Yes, they stink if you throw them into the trash.

That’s why you should use scented trash bags to avoid the smell of dirty socks.

Alternatively, you can toss them outside into your garden to use as compost if you have a large garden.

Whatever you do, don’t flush them down the toilet.

And don’t throw them away into a garbage bin outside your home. They’ll stink up your whole house quickly.

How to get rid of stink bugs in the house naturally

Brown Marmorated stink bug on the carpet.
Brown Marmorated stink bug in the house.

Here are some methods to get rid of stink bugs in your house.

The majority of them are natural DIY remedies that you can easily do at home with ingredients you likely have in your kitchen drawers.

The tips and tricks listed here should help you get rid of them with some effort.

The key to getting rid of stink bugs is to:

  • Exclude them from your house so they can’t get in
  • Set up natural repellents if they do get in
  • Kill or eliminate ones that are hiding inside
  • You should always avoid squishing them because they stink and will stain your surfaces and furniture if you do.

The best way is to put them all into a scented garbage bag and dispose of them before garbage day if you need to kill them.

Let’s get started.

Manual removal

Vacuum everything to keep your house clean.

As previously noted, you should avoid trying to kill stink bugs in the house.

This will just smear their stinky guts all over your surfaces and the smell is hard to get rid of once you squish it.

So that leaves us to remove them manually by hand or tool so we don’t end up squishing them.

Use a vacuum

The easiest way to do this is to use a vacuum.

If you have one of those handy little portable handheld vacuums, you just need to make sure the nozzle can handle stink bugs.

If it’s too small in diameter, the stink bugs may get stuck and then crushed. Then your vacuum will stink.

A canister or shop vac works best. If you have these tools handy, go ahead and suck them up as you come across them.

You don’t have to empty the canister every time, but if you suck up a lot, you should.

The stink bugs will run around inside and can find their way back out depending on your vacuum’s seal.

So I’d suggest keeping it OUTSIDE of your house just in case they sneak out.

Empty the bag or canister or vessel directly into a lockable garbage bag and toss it.

Alternatively, you can empty it after every use so it doesn’t stink up the vacuum.

Note that you should expect some bugs to get crushed when being sucked in, so don’t use a vacuum that you want to save.

By hand

You can also use your fingers to manually get rid of them.

Put on some gloves and pick up the stink bugs and toss them into a bucket of soapy water. This will kill them instantly.

You can mix a few drops of dish detergent into a quart of water. The soap will suffocate them without releasing their stink.

Try not to crush them when you pick them up. You can also sweep them into a dustpan if you’re squeamish to catch them.

Make a stink bug trap

Stink bugs are attracted to light (phototaxis) so you can use this to lure them into a trap.

These kill stink bugs in the house without using any dangerous compounds.

A simple pan trap can be made using household materials and can be used anywhere over and over as an effective stink bug killer.

Here’s what you need to build it:

  • A large, flat pan with raised edges (laundry pan, baking pan, etc.)
  • Dish detergent
  • Water
  • Some kind of desk lamp that’s safe to run overnight

How to make it:

  • Get the pan and lay it flat. Put it whenever you suspect stink bugs to be crawling around.
  • Fill it up with water so that the water level meets the edges, but doesn’t overflow. Allow about 1 centimeter of space before reaching the crest of the edge.
  • Add a few drops of dish soap.
  • Mix well. You can also premix it before you pour if that’s easier for you.
  • Get the lamp and point it at the pan.
  • Turn it on. Make sure it won’t topple over into the solution and that’s it’s safe to have on for hours.
  • Leave it alone overnight.

How it works:

  • The bugs will be drawn towards the light and the warmth of it at night. They’ll crawl into the pan and fall into the solution.
  • The soap will drown the stink bugs when they fall into it. You can put these traps anywhere you like.
  • Just be sure to clean them up when they’re full of bug bodies.

Use diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth DIY pest repellent.
Diatomaceous earth is an awesome pest killer and repellent.

Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled around your home to kill stink bugs. It works by piercing their hard exoskeleton and drying them out over time.

While it doesn’t kill them instantly, they will slowly become poisoned by DE.

Additionally, you can get DE for bulk for cheap and use it in even the tiniest of cracks where stink bugs may be hiding.

When it comes to buying, don’t buy the “pool grade” diatomaceous earth. Get the organic one that’s suitable for consumption. People eat DE.

Sprinkle it around areas that you see stink bug activity.

You can put it against baseboards, inside closets, bathrooms, kitchens, perimeters of rooms, or on your countertops. Reapply when necessary.

Here’s a cool tip: When you put the powder down, you can use it to “track” their movements.

As they scurry around the DE, the stink bug will leave behind a trail and you’ll see that the DIE has been disturbed.

That way you know that there was a stink bug in this area.

Pretty cool way to see where they’re taking shelter in your house 24/7. Then you know where to focus your efforts to get rid of them for sure.

How to get rid of stink bugs with essential oils

Stink bugs are repelled by essential oils DIY style.
Essential oils are a completely natural way to get rid of them!

Essential oils are awesome. They’re natural and make your home smell good while at the same time repelling and deterring these pests.

You can pick up a variety of essential oils at your local arts and crafts store. Get a completely pure one (get organic if possible).

Once you get a bottle, it’ll need to be diluted with water before you spray. The oil doesn’t kill them, it just helps keep them out and away from your house.

If you have a specific area in your home that seems to always be infested with stink bugs, essential oils can help deter them from that room. Bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms are all fair game.

There are many different types of oils you can use. It’s your job to find one that works.

Some of the most popular choices to use for stink bugs are:

  • Lavender oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Peppermint oil

When you buy a bottle, find a recipe online to find out how to dilute it properly.

You can experiment with the ratio of water to oil to see what works.

Generally, more water means less oil and the concentration goes down, and vice versa.

If you find that the oil isn’t working, you may want to use less water and more oil. Common sense.

Read all directions before use and use as directed.

Some essential oils can be harmful to people or pets that are sensitive, so be sore to do your research.

Also, pick out one that you’ll enjoy smelling all day.

Essential oils are highly concentrated VOCs, which will release their scent for a very long time. If you can’t stand it, then dilute it more or use it only in rooms that you don’t frequent.

They can also be sprayed outside in entry points that bugs can be used to get inside your house.

Try neem oil

Neem is the king of essential oils. This is derived from a plant (called neem, who’d have guessed?).

It’s a powerful insect killer/repellent that’s commonly used for a variety of purposes.

It can kill many different bugs because of its ability to penetrate hard-shelled insects (including shield bugs like stink bugs).

Neem can be purchased by the bottle and diluted to concoct a powerful recipe that kills stink bugs or keeps them out of the home when sprayed in key locations.

There are many different recipes you can use, just search for them.

For example, this one:

Typically, you dilute 1-2 teaspoons of neem per 32 ounces of water then you’ll spray it around the home’s perimeter to keep bugs from getting in.

Some areas to consider are:

  • Around the foundation of your home
  • Near electrical inlets
  • Plumbing inlets
  • Cracks in the wall
  • Crevices or crawl spaces
  • Porches and patios
  • Indoor furniture
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Storage
  • Garages or basements
  • Vents or grates

Neem is also very effective when sprayed on plants.

If you have stink bugs outside crawling all over your edible veggies, fruits, or other greens, you can spray it on plants to keep bugs off.

Note that you should never spray it when the sun is out because it’ll suffocate your plants.

You should also rinse them off when you’re done spraying.

Neem forms a light residual layer of oil that keeps bugs off and protects them, but it also interferes with photosynthesis and traps your plant’s ability to release waste products.

You can use neem oils for a variety of insects, including:

Neem is dangerous when not used properly. You should adhere to all warning labels and use them as directed.

It’s dangerous to some pets like cats and sensitive individuals.

If you have pets or kids, you should avoid spraying it indoors and only use it outside your property where you know they won’t come into contact with it.

Dryer sheets

Dryer sheets have commonly been used as a DIY remedy to get stink bugs out of the house.

You can crumble them up and push them into tight cracks you can’t reach or wedge them between crevices.

They can also be hung near window screens or other points of entry that pests are using to get inside your home.

The odor from these sheets tends to keep pests away because they hate it. It works on stink bugs in the car, stink bugs in the garden, dock spiders, and even scorpions.

Sticky tape

Sticky tape can be an excellent, passive way to catch stink bugs without stinking up the place.

Align the tape around areas that they frequent, such as baseboards, countertops, under furniture, around appliances, or the perimeter of rooms.

When they walk over the tape, they’ll get stuck and can’t escape.

This makes it a good choice to keep stink bugs confined to a specific room or keep them out of a room (like your bedroom). It also prevents squishing them so they don’t release their foul stench.

Be sure to replace the sticky tape when there are a few stink bugs on there.

Because if you don’t, it’ll attract OTHER predatory pests to eat them during the winter- think of centipedes, millipedes, and spiders in your house.

Practice insect exclusion

The absolute best way to stop bugs from getting inside your home is to exclude them.

Easier said than done, the exclusion is the practice of blocking off your home from pests. This is done by sealing up the points of entry.

This means doing things like:

  • Patching up damaged exteriors
  • Caulk any gaps or crevices in your walls
  • Fix any foundational cracks
  • Fix damaged window weather-stripping
  • Replace damaged windows screens
  • Block off crawl spaces
  • Caulking the gap around plumbing or electrical panels

You’d be surprised what basic maintenance can do for your property in terms of pest control. If bugs can’t get inside, then you have nothing to worry about.

Stink bugs can’t magically appear because they don’t lay eggs inside, so they need to be getting in from somewhere, right?

Do a complete evaluation of your home’s exterior, garage, basement, attic, or any other areas where bugs could be used as a possible way to get inside your house.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, hire an inspector to check out your home.

Clean up the garden

Clean garden.
Keep stink bugs out by keeping clean!

The next thing to do is to keep your garden maintenance, tidy, and well kept.

A garden that’s free of overgrown foliage that’s wild will bring in all sorts of bugs seeking shelter, food, and other bugs to eat.

Doing regular yard cleaning is necessary to help keep the insects out. If you just let your garden plants grow on their own and neglect regular pruning, this is asking for trouble.

Insects like a garden that’s overgrown with weeds and dense leaves because it provides them somewhere to hide.

They can also hunt other bugs that may be living in those leaves. And they have plenty of areas to breed and infest.

And guess what? Bugs in your garden mean bugs in your house! Including stink bugs!

So keeping your garden clean and sealing up your home are both extremely effective techniques to keep them out.

Practice regular yard maintenance to keep it free of insects:

You’ll find that a well-kept yard will be less likely to be infested with bugs.

Pair that with the power of pest exclusion and you’ve got a powerful, completely natural defense against pests.

Can exterminators get rid of stink bugs?

Brown stink bug on the wall.
Yes, they can be used as a last resort.

You should never avoid hiring a professional to take care of the problem for you because you don’t want to pay for it.

Sometimes, it’s worth the cost to get the job done right the first time.

It saves you time and money, so you need to weigh your own time’s worth. Many pest control companies promise the infestation to be under control and will repeat future treatments if necessary.

o your research. Hire locals. Find a company that has organic or green alternatives to conventional sprays. Read reviews.

Ask a neighbor or friend. There’s no shame in getting a pro to do it for you and save you time.

If you’re a busy person and you just don’t have time to mess around with these DIY solutions, get a professional to do it for you.

How to deter stink bugs from coming into your house

There’s no best way other than to practice exclusion. Keeping your property in good condition so that no bugs can get in is number one.

Keeping your yard well kept and pest-free is number two.

Both of these combined make a powerful, completely natural solution to DIY those stink bugs away.

Of course, you can always use the techniques outlined on this page as secondary measures to naturally repel them:

  • Spray essential oils around entry points
  • Shove mothballs into tight areas outside the home
  • Use fly tape under doorways
  • Use neem oil in cracks
  • Put diatomaceous earth around room perimeters and your home’s foundation

But you should primarily focus on sealing your home from entry points and keeping your garden tidy.

Having a clean yard will attract fewer bugs, produce fewer suitable breeding sites, and house fewer eggs.

A very clean yard will have a smaller pest population. A smaller pest population means little to no bugs coming into the house.

It all makes sense. This is how you keep stink bugs out of your house and keep them away for good.

Once you find them coming inside during the winter, you know that your house is poorly sealed from pests.

How to catch stink bugs in the house

Clean yard to eradicate crane flies.
A clean yard proves to be less attractive to pests.

Catching stink bugs is super easy. Either use dedicated traps or sticky tape.

Both of these will catch them passively without you needing to do anything after you set them up.

Of course, replace the tape after it gets littered with dead stink bugs, or else other bugs will come to eat them.

If you have a live stink bug running around, use a broom and a dustpan, vacuum cleaner, or the jar and paper method- put the jar on top of the stink bug and slide a piece of paper under it to catch it.

Then toss it into a bucket of soapy water.

You can also spray it down with soap water to kill it, then remove it.

Whatever you do, don’t squish it. This will stain your walls, furniture, paint, etc.

How to get rid of stink bugs in the attic

Stink bugs in the attic.
Keep your attic clean and blocked off from the outdoors.

Stink bugs in the attic are usually hiding there because it’s full of junk items that they can use to protect themselves from predators.

Most attics are full of storage crates, bins, old furniture, books, magazines, clothes, and other items that are perfectly suitable to keep stink bugs warm.

The first thing you should do is dispose of everything you don’t need. Toss it out. Recycle it. Sell it. This will help eliminate hiding places and free up storage space

Next, check your attic for entry points that they could be using to get inside. Caulk, seal, or fix them to exclude the pests from getting into your attic.

Here are some common places to check:

  • Vents and grates
  • Cracks or damaged roofing
  • Windows
  • Electrical outlets
  • Plumbing outlets

Check them out and seal up any possible entry points.

Lastly, you can put some up stink bugs traps, apply diatomaceous earth, or use sticky tape.

This will all help kill and catch any loose stink bugs in the area that are still hiding. You can also spray some neem oil or essential oils to help deter them from coming into your attic.

Since the attic is sealed from the rest of the home, you don’t need to worry about the smell of the oils disturbing you.

Of course, some essential oils may linger through your vents and leaky roofs right into your bedroom. This is expected.

But if your attic is poorly sealed, you should expect that you’ll be sniffing those oils all night.

So you may want to do a test before you spray. And make sure that whatever you spray is SAFE for people and pets inside your home.

Do your due diligence. Read the labels. Use as directed. Do NOT spray any oils in your attic if you don’t know what you’re doing.

You can stink up your whole house for weeks or cause adverse reactions in sensitive individuals.

The attic is a common hiding place for stink bugs because it provides them everything they need- shelter, protection from predators, and a warm cozy area to infest that has minimal disturbances.

The attic is also relatively easy to get into if it’s in poor condition.

Stink bugs can climb the exterior of your home and enter through a crack, soffit, or other damaged pieces with ease.

This is why it pays to keep your property in good condition and well kept.

Letting it fall apart due to being careless brings bugs. Don’t be that person, friend.

Further reading

Here are some other references you may find useful:

Did you get rid of the stink bugs in your house?

Stink bug on a leaf.
Send those bugs back outside. And keep them out!

Stink bugs stink. But you should now have everything you need to control, manage, and repel them from your home naturally.

With some patience and persistence, you should be able to effectively keep them out of your house and prevent them in the future from infesting your property.

Using a variety of DIY remedies, stink bugs can be eliminated, but every situation will vary and will require different degrees of work!

But it beats waking up in the night and stepping on one accidentally only to have your entire bedroom smell like…stink bug.

Do you have any questions? Let me know by posting a comment.

If you found this guide helpful, please let me know as well (or consider telling a friend or neighbor who may be suffering from stink bug problems).

Thanks for reading!

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