How To Get Stink Bugs Out Of Your House and Yard

When the leaves start to fall, it’s time to prepare for winter. The air grows crisp, and the smell of apple pie fills your home, as soon as the leaves begin to change.

However, there is another not-so-favorable indication that the cooler months are upon us – the arrival of stink bugs. Stink bugs invade homes in the late summer and early fall as they migrate to find a place to spend the winter. While they don’t bite or damage property, these little pests can be a nuisance with their unpleasant odor.

If you’re like most people, the sight of a stink bug sends shivers up your spine. And if you’ve ever had one invade your home in the autumn and winter, you know just how unpleasant they can be. Not only do they smell bad, but they can also be difficult to get rid of.

But is there anything one can do about them? Ridding your house and yard of stink bugs can be a daunting task, but with these tips, you’ll be well on your way to getting them out for good. With a little bit of effort, you’ll have those pesky critters gone in no time!

What Are Stink Bugs?

Stink bugs are small, brown bugs that release a bad smell when they are disturbed or crushed. The most common stink bug that people see is what’s known as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, or Halyomorpha Halys.

They are native to Asia, and particularly China, Japan, and Korea, but have been found in the United States since at least 1998. Since then, they have been established in every part of the United States and throughout North America, and have since been introduced in Europe and South America as well.

Both nymph and adult stink bugs feed on over 100 different types of plants, including a lot of crops used for agriculture. For example, in the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA, where stink bugs are most egregious, over 37$ million in apple crops were destroyed in a single year by this pest, and stone fruit producers were known to lose over 90% of their crop.

What Do They Look Like?

Adult stink bugs are about 1/2 inch to 3/4 of an inch long and almost as wide, which results in them having a body shaped like a shield or a garden shovel. They have a wide, flat head, and their antennae are as long as their body.

They are often a dark brown on their top side and have a creamy white-brown underside, although individual insects are various colors of red, grey, light brown, copper, or black. “Marmorated” refers to a variety of veined or variegated marble, such as the various marbled marking seen on the top side of the shield-like body.

Nymphs (young stink bugs) look like smaller versions of adults. At that stage they are mostly very dark brown or black.

Why Are They In Your Yard and House?

Stink bugs enter homes and yards in search of shelter during the fall months. As the weather cools, they move indoors to escape the cold; they like the warm environment a house or sheltered yard provides. And once inside, they can be difficult to get rid of because they are very good at hiding.

While stink bugs don’t typically bite or damage property, if you see them in your home, it is likely they will end up damaging plants when they begin feeding on fruits and flowers.

So, if you have fruit or vegetables around the kitchen or out on the counter, these could be attractive to stink bugs and they might choose your house over another. Indoor plants also draw stink bugs inside your home.

Although stink bugs can migrate indoors without any warning, another sign that your home may be invaded by the pests is finding clusters of them on outdoor surfaces. Since stink bugs tend to hide, you probably won’t see them unless they happen to fly or crawl across a window. However, if you have an infestation, the smell is typically a dead giveaway.

How to Get Rid Of Stink Bugs

So far we’ve learned what stink bugs are, where they’re found, and what they look like. Let’s now take a look at the some tips on how to get rid of them. There are a few ways you can go about it, with both natural or organic methods, as well as chemical pest control.

Natural Solutions

The best way to get rid of stink bugs is to use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any live bugs you see. Do NOT squish them with your hand or any other object, or else they will release a foul smelling odor which helped give them their name.

Another all-natural method is to encourage the population growth of these insects’ natural predators. Keeping predatory bees like wasps, or putting out a bird feeder to attract more birds, would be a good option that can control the stink bug population.

Natural solutions tend to take longer, and you have to put more effort into them, but they are safe for pets and children.

Chemical Solutions

Stink bugs, on the other hand, are resistant to a wide range of insecticides because they insert their probosces below the fruit’s surface (where the insecticide is) to eat from it. Stink bugs are also highly mobile, and a new infestation may arrive after the existing one has been eliminated, making complete eradication difficult, if not impossible.

Because there are no authorized pesticides available for control, this pest species is difficult to manage. Spraying around the outside of a yard may be the most efficient approach to keep stinkbugs from defacing your grasses and plants, but even this is not definite.

If you do use a chemical pesticide, try to find one that uses oxamyl, as these have a high rate of effectiveness.

On a safety note, chemical solutions can be dangerous so use caution when using them.

How To Prevent Stink Bugs From Returning To Your Yard

First, make sure to seal any cracks or openings in your home where the bugs may be entering. You should also repair and holes in your walls or screen doors and windows, as even the smallest openings can be used for them to get in. You should also keep your lights off around your house when it’s dark outside, particularly in the winter, and try to keep the window shades drawn as the light from inside lamps can also attract them.

You should also look around your home to reduce any sites of moisture or dampness, such as leaking pipes, clogged drains, or runoff. These areas tend to grow mold and breakdown organic material, which the stink bugs love to feed on. A dehumidifier could also go a long way to helping if your house is damp or moldy throughout the winter.

Removing any potential food sources, such as any old plants, should be a priority as well. Don’t leave fruit or vegetables out on the counter, but store them in airtight containers or in the fridge, so the bugs don’t know about them and can’t seek them out.


In summary, stink bugs are no fun at all to have flying about your yard and inside your home, being and nuisance and potentially harming your plants, grasses, and garden vegetables. And the smell! Whatever you do, don’t smush them – they will release a vile odor that is both hard to get rid of and attracts other stink bugs, leaving you with more of an infestation on your hands.

The best ways to get rid of stink bugs are those that we have outlined above. We hope this article has given you some insight as to what stink bugs are, why they are found in your home and backyard, and how to eliminate them from those areas. We wish you good luck with getting rid of these pesky insects!

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Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.