Stink bugs are starting to gather on my screens and I know they are looking to get inside and escape the cooler weather. What can I do to keep them out?
University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp says scientists are expecting this to be a banner fall for stink bugs – the worst since they began to appear in 2010. Homeowners are likely to see them hanging on screens, curtains and lampshades inside the home in the weeks ahead.
The stink bugs are searching for high energy foods to store before hibernation, but as those food sources dry up and daylight hours wane, they will search for a place to over-winter.
Without any natural enemies, stink bugs are difficult to control. But here are some tips for preventing hibernation and interrupting their life cycle, courtesy of the Garden Media Group.
•--Seal off entry points, especially around siding and air conditioning units, behind chimneys and underneath fascia. Use caulk to seal cracks and holes.
•--Check for damaged window and door screens and for torn weather stripping and loose mortar, and repair.
•--Hang a trap outdoors. There are retail traps that you can purchase or you can make your own by following directions posted on youtube.com under "stink bug trap." The traps use light to attract the bugs, so keep outdoor lighting to a minimum.
•--Ventilate basements, attics, garages and crawl spaces to eliminate places where sting bugs can seek shelter. Consider using a dehumidifier.
•--Think before squishing. When disturbed or crushed, stink bugs can release a bad-smelling odor as a defense measure. Pick them up gently with a tissue and flush them down the toilet. Don't release them outside, they will simply return.