Over the last few weeks, my house has become a hotbed of stink bugs.

Usually, our son screams bloody murder, alerting me and my wife that another of these creepy bugs has managed to squeeze into our home.

So what are they? Where do they come from and how the heck do ya get rid of 'em?

The stink bug, also known as the brown marmorated stink bug or the Halyomorpha halys, is an insect that is native to China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian regions. I don't know the full story but the bugs were somehow accidentally introduced to America in September of 1998.

These monsters feed on over 100 different plants which makes them a real nuisance to some farmers. Google says that folks with orchards have the most problems with them.

Why do they stink? They have glands that produce their defensive chemical, so when you try to grab them or shoo them out of your home they release that nasty odor. Science says this is more of a deterrent to other animals so they're not eaten by birds and lizards.

So why do they come to your house... especially in the fall?

The stink bugs are just looking for a place to survive the winter. They can get in under your siding, into soffits, around window or door frames, and through your chimney.

Stink bugs attacking my house!
Stink bugs attacking my house!

Once the critters get into your house they can go into a state of hibernation.

While they are pretty much harmless, they are a pain to chase around your house and gross to look at!

So how do you keep them out?

My wife first created a concoction on Sunday that included some of her essential oils. Eucalyptus, lemon, Indian lavender, mint, and catnip all have a repellent effect on stink bugs. (Use one teaspoon of oil per two cups of warm water and use the mix in a spray bottle.)

That one only seemed to work for a short time so she found another one online that includes one part hot water, one part vinegar, and one part dish detergent. She sprayed it around the windows and that seemed to keep them off the house for quite a while. (Over time they seemed to slowly come back.)

We're told they're completely harmless, but you'd hate to see 50 of these things get into your house, right?

I called Tobey at Heming Pest Control for a professional opinion and he said they have an outside spray to use around doors and exteriors of the windows that will significantly reduce the number of bugs. It will take a little time, but the spray will eventually kill the pesky critters. (If you want to buzz him for help it's 563-582-1267.)

Hopefully, you're avoiding the shrieks and screams from stink bugs in your home this fall!

~Chris Farber


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