There's just no easy way to put it. Stink bugs stink! Not only do they damage the fruits and plants in your yard, but when the chill of fall comes, they think your home is their winter home, scaling your walls like a counter terrorist squad, and squeezing in through the cracks--sometimes by the hundreds! Why so many? Because the brown marmorated stink bug is not indigenous to the United States. That means the predators that would normally feast on these little buggers, live in China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, where the bug originated. Without these natural predators stink bug numbers in the United States have risen, mostly unimpeded, for years.
There are some things you can do to stop these fall invaders. But first, let's make sure we have the right critter. Brown marmorated stink bugs are shield shaped and brown in color, with stripped antenna, and light distinct markings on their shell and underside. From a distance they look like a beetle armed for war. And, when scared or stepped on, they produce a nasty smell from their underbelly.
Okay. So how do you keep them from coming in?
Some entry points are easy to recognize, like: rips in the edge of your screens, weather sealing around doors and windows, cracks in wood under vinyl siding, and gaps around electrical power conduit. These are popular routes for stink bugs. Their mandibles allow them to scale practically any surface, so you'll need to search high and low when identifying entry points.
Now that you have identified the pest, here are some easy preventative measures you can take to keep them out of your home. Caulk cracks and seal up gaps that allow entry. Check weather stripping around doors, and install or fix door sweeps, to prevent access. And, fix all your door and window screens.
If you're still finding bugs in the house, don't squash them, or try to snatch them up with a wad of paper towel. The scent they put off is a self defense mechanism, and it is unpleasant. Try taking a plastic soda bottle, cut the top three inches off, flip it, and set it back inside the bottom section. This will create a funnel that stink bugs can fall down into. Put the large opening over the bugs and wiggle. They will slide down the funnel and into the bottom of the bottle, unable to get back out. If you're laughing right now, it is probably because your house is teaming with stink bugs, and this trick isn't even going to touch the problem. That's okay. You can suck them up with a vacuum or a dust buster, if you have a ton of them. For a more permanent solution, call a professional to get rid of stink bugs.