Q. This year I have been overrun by stink bugs in my house. I was told that all I could do was vacuum them up. Is there anything that I can do when the weather warms to prevent this from happening again?
Carol from Youngstown
A. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) has become a major nuisance in our area. When fall temperatures begin to cool, adults seek shelter inside available buildings, like your house. Although these true bugs do not reproduce inside your home or bite or transmit disease to members of your family, they are nuisance pests that produce a foul odor if handled or squished.
The best way to prevent problems with the BMSB is to eliminate potential entry points into your home and control the things that attract these bugs to your house.
Getting rid of entry points can provide some fulfilling summer projects. It is important to remember that very small openings are required for the entry of BMSBs. Caulking windows and weather stripping doors are a start. Look for cracks in the foundation and seal them; look for plumbing and utility entry holes in the foundation. Caulk smaller gaps and fill larger areas with steel wool. Cracks in siding and damaged screens can also provide entry. If you have a fireplace, cap or screen the chimney to prevent pest entry.
Proper landscape maintenance can eliminate sites attractive to these bugs. Remove plant debris from your foundation. Keep branches and shrubbery well-trimmed. Make sure that stored firewood is kept away from the house and properly elevated.
Finally, keep the use of external lighting to a minimum. Stink bugs are attracted to light and adults tend to cluster in the vicinity of artificial lighting. Reportedly, they are highly attracted to outside lighting in late summer and early fall.
Always remember, if encountered in your home, it is better to vacuum than to squish.
For more information, see go.osu.edu/stinky.
This week’s answer provided by Bill Snyder, Mahoning OSU Ext. Call the office hotline at 330-533-5538 from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Thursdays to submit your questions.