Stink bug or BMSB are the common names for the brown marmorated stink bug or Halyomorpha halys. Native to Asia, the BMSB is an invasive species to the United States. They were first discovered in 2001 and now inhabits 30 states, according to the US Army. Although stink bugs do not transmit diseases or sting, they produce a powerfully offensive odor when the bug is injured or threatened. Eliminating stink bugs from households requires a multi-faceted approach.
It’s much easier to prevent stink bugs getting inside of a home than to remove large numbers of them. Fix any openings that stink bugs can use to get into the home. Stink bugs often enter a home by the window, which is why they are found on drapes and curtains. Repair or cover up any holes in mesh screens in windows or doors. Use household silicone-latex caulk to fill in any cracks around windows, utility pipes and doors.
Identify stink bugs on the drapes to avoid killing the wrong type of bugs. Some similar-looking bugs such as the spined soldier bug are helpful to the environment, argues Purdue University entomologist Ric Bessin. BMSB are arrowhead-shaped brown and grey insects with long antennae clearly banded dark and light colors.
Gather broom or dustpan and brush and paper towels to remove stink bugs from drapes. Gently push the bug with a brush into a dustpan or paper towel. Do not crush, kill or vacuum the bugs or they will release their terrible scent. Release bugs outside or flush down the toilet. Launder drapes if they smell like stink bug musk.
What About Insecticides?
Using pyrethroid insecticides on the outside of the home can help control stink bugs, notes Penn State Entomologist Steve Jacobs. Types of pyrethroid insecticides that kill stink bugs include cyfluthrin, sumithrin or deltamethrin. These insecticides break down rapidly in sunlight and so need to be reapplied once or twice a week.
Never use total release insect foggers or “bug bombs” to kill stink bugs. These products are not only flammable; they will not stop stink bugs from entering a home. Foggers and aerosol sprays can kill bugs on contact, but dying bugs will release their odor. Pets, children and people may become ill from exposure to any insecticide product used inside of a home.