As warmer weather arrives, you may notice a familiar nuisance – stink bugs invading the garden. The stink bug will emerge from their wintering sites in your home, garage, and the garden shed. Officially it is called the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and at times referred to as BMSR – its acronym.
Following the emergence from the stink bug’s sleep-like state over the Winter, they will mate in about two weeks. So, they become active fairly quickly.
APPEARANCE OF STINK BUGS INVADING THE GARDEN
The Brown Marmorated stink bug has a shield shaped body like many stink bugs do. An adult stink bug is about ⅝ inch long. The adult has mottled brownish grey color with one antenna having a white band.
HISTORY OF STING BUGS INVADING THE GARDEN
A native of Asia, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug was most likely a stow away inside a shipping container. Destined for the US and landing somewhere in the Allentown, Pennsylvania area. This stink bug arrival occurred in the mid 1990s. Since then, the stink bug has become a significant risk to our garden and vegetable plants. So far, this has affected 44 states across the country.
STINK BUGS INVADING THE GARDEN FOUND IN 44 STATES
In the past 20 plus years, the stink bug has been found in 44 states. They munch on vegetables and plants in your garden as well as trees. A voracious eater they damage fruit, vegetable, as well as nut producing crops in the US. Help Stop the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.
Here’s a list of stink bug remedies to help protect your gardens and landscape from the upcoming Spring arrival.
TIPS FOR CONTROLLING THE BROWN MARMORATED STINK BUG
There are many ways to control the brown marmorated stink bug in your garden. We listed a few ways to consider in the effort to eradicate the stink bug from our gardens and homes.
Use Diatomaceous Earth to seal off any entry points into the house. Diatomaceous Earth is also known as D.E. or diatomite. It is a naturally occurring soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that easily crumbles into a fine white to off-white power. To be effective, the culprit must walk across the Diatomaceous Earth.
Lay a barrier of diatomaceous earth in front of all entry ways leading inside the home. Places such as foundations, basements, across window sills, by door thresholds, and around doorways. Although, these pesky creatures do fly and can sneak into the home as you walk in. Source – EPA Blog Source.
2. DISHWASHING LIQUID AND WATER MIXTURE
Mix dishwashing liquid with water in a 1 to 1 ratio. Pour the soapy mixture into an open container. Place near the location where you’ve seen the bugs. Stink bugs are attracted to moisture. They seek moisture then fall into the soapy water mixture and drown.
Another disposal method for bugs inside the home is to carefully sweep them into a pail, then fill with soapy water. Although they can try to escape and fly away.
3. GARLIC AND WATER MIXTURE
Make a water based solution in a spray bottle. First, gather a spray bottle, water, garlic powder or garlic cloves. Second, combine two cups of water with either four teaspoons of garlic powder or a handful of garlic cloves. Third, mix the ingredients. Fourth, spray the solution on indoor window sills where many stink bugs enter the home. From the Felicia Feaster at the DIY Network.
4. SURROUND CROP PROTECTANT
This method simply protects your garden plants and vegetables. Mix the powder in a spray bottle according to the instructions. Apply the Surround Crop Protectant mixture using a spray bottle to garden plants, fruit, and vegetables. Surround is made from 95% Kaolin Clay which is a naturally occurring mineral. The spray coats the plant in Kaolin Clay so that bugs do not notice that it is a plant. It basically is a deceptive means to conceal or mask the plant from bugs so that they do not feed on it. Stink bugs will bypass the plant.
Although, Kaolin Clay is not water proof. The clay coating can easily be removed with water or during a rainfall. Re-coat the plants, fruit, and vegetables after a rainfall and when the plants grow or new fruit is appears. Surround Crop Protectant can last between 3 to 14 days based on the weather conditions.
5. NIGHT TIME TIP FOR ELIMINATING STINK BUGS
At night time, light a desk lamp over an aluminum pan filled with soapy water. The light illuminates the water which attracts stink bugs. As the stink bugs approach the light filled area, they fall into the pan and are unable to crawl out.
DISPOSAL OF THE INVADING STINK BUG
Although we are inclined to squash stink bugs on site, they are known to stink. Hence they are appropriately named. Rather than swishing the bug, instead, vacuum the pesky invaders with a vacuum cleaner. Of course, this too has its drawbacks. As the vacuum cleaner can begin to smell of squashed stink bugs! So remove the interior bag from the vacuum cleaner and place inside a heavier weight trash bag. Immediately, dispose of it in a secure trash can. For households with an ongoing presence of stink bugs, consider using an inexpensive vacuum cleaner. One that is dedicated specifically to stink bug removal and not for weekly home cleaning.
Poison is an option however, there are consequences. First, the immediate killing of the stink bug can trigger their distinct foul odor defense mechanism. Second and even more important, the poison can hurt beneficial insects, pollinators, and other wildlife. Some of these chemicals may also be harmful to pets and young children. We do not recommend this method for controlling stink bugs or any other insects.
FALL TIPS FOR CONTROLLING THE BROWN MARMORATED STINK BUG
A few recommendations for preventing stink bugs from making their way into the home.
- Seal any crack, holes, or openings into the home, foundation, and basement using a weather proof caulk.
2. Repair damaged window screens. Replace loose weather stripping. Repair any caulking around windows both inside and outside.
3. In the evenings, turn lights off since the bugs seek light sources.
4. Repair any leaking pipes so that any bugs are not attracted to the water source. While insulating exposed pipes around the foundation and crawl space, caulk gaps and cover bigger holes with steel wool.
5. Cap or screen the chimney tops to fireplaces to keep pests from sneaking inside.
6. Dispose of food including crumbs or food pieces on the kitchen counters and floor. Properly dispose of trash regularly.
7. Remove and compost any remaining vegetation surrounding the home’s foundation. Vegetation that stink bugs may find appetizing.
8. Ventilate the attic, basement, and crawl spaces to eliminate any moisture. Seal crawl space areas from the outside.
BROWN MARMORATED STINK BUG (BMSR) IDENTIFICATION RESOURCE
For an identification resource to US stink bugs, take a look at this field guide with images in color. Identification Guide for Various Stink Bugs in the US. The title of the Virginia Tech publication is called Field Guide to Stink Bugs of Agricultural Importance in the US (PDF). This also includes a Feeding Injuries section of fruits and vegetables from pages 29 to 35.
So, this Spring the ongoing battle against the pesky stink bug continues. Many US areas had milder than usual Winters. This could indicate that stink bugs emerging from wintering sites may have a higher survival rate than in previous years. Nonetheless, we feel these tips and tricks will help in your effort to keep stink bugs away from your garden and home.
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