How to get rid of stink bugs – in 3 speedy steps

Top tips on how to get rid of stink bugs and keep them out of your house once and for all...

Stink bug
(Image credit: Alamy)

Want to get rid of stink bugs in or around your home? Stink bugs can cause significant damage to garden plants and will happily munch through large volumes of commonly grown fruits and vegetables. And, as their name suggests, they can stink, so you definitely don't want them indoors.

Stink bugs can become a nuisance in any comfortable, warm areas of your home, so just like brushing up on how to get rid of fruit flies (another prevalent pest), you'll want to know how to alleviate the problem when winter rolls around.

'Stink bugs are most prevalent during the late fall months and into winter as they seek shelter from the cold,' says Andrew Gaumond, horticulturist and editorial director at Petal Republic (opens in new tab). 'However,' he adds, 'they can be a pest throughout the summer growing season, too.'

So what exactly are stink bugs and how can you keep them out of your house? Follow Andrew Gaumond's expert tips to tackle the problem below. 

How to get rid of stink bugs

'There are several varieties of stink bugs, but perhaps the most notorious is the brown marmorated stink bug,' explains Andrew Gaumond. 'It’s believed these were accidentally introduced from China around 30 years ago. Whilst relatively small insects, they are generally visible to the human eye and can reach up to 1.5 to 2cm in length when mature. 

'They’re particularly partial to fruit and citrus trees and garden vegetables, as well as being a menace to common agricultural crops.' In winter, they'll seek shelter indoors. This is how to get rid of them.

1. Seal any cracks in your home's framework

'Like many things, prevention is often the best starting point to keeping stink bugs away,' says Petal Republic's Andrew Gaumond.

'Stink bugs often access homes through tiny cracks and crevices in between windows, doorways, and extractor vents. It’s prudent to check the framework throughout your home and reseal where necessary with a robust silicone caulk sealant.'

2. Spray an insecticide

Chemicals and insecticides are another option in the battle against stink bugs.

Andrew says: 'In agriculture, farmers have taken to spraying insecticides liberally around the perimeter of fields to form a type of protective barrier from incoming stink bugs. 

'Where feasible, it’s worth spraying a store-bought pesticide or insecticide solution around the outside of your home (particularly around windows and doors), which may provide some protection. At the same time, pull out any vegetation you see growing from the foundations or very close to the home's exterior.'

Thankfully, there are natural alternatives to chemicals, with both homemade bug sprays and store-bought solutions effective against stink bugs. Mighty Mint (opens in new tab) is the top-rated, natural buy for repelling stink bugs, available at Amazon. Stink Bug Killer (opens in new tab) is stronger option, also highly rated at Amazon, and EPA registered to use indoors.

3. Think about your lighting

Rethinking your outdoor lighting ideas is also another consideration.

'It’s also believed that stink bugs are somewhat attracted to light sources after dark, so it’s worth turning these down after the sun sets,' says Andrew.

It may also be worth swapping out your exterior light bulbs for sodium vapor light bulbs, which are less attractive to insects – Amazon has a large range (opens in new tab).

What do stink bugs smell like?

Stink bugs will release a strong scent from an abdominal gland when threatened or squashed. 'I liken the smell of stink bugs to an acrid, chemical odor with sulfurous undertones,' says Andrew Gaumond, horticulturist and editorial director at Petal Republic.

How do you get rid of stink bugs once and for all?

'If sealing cracks, lowering lighting and spraying insecticide around entry points is proving ineffective, it may be worth reaching out to your local pest control service to see if they have a slightly more potent cocktail they could apply,' says Andrew Gaumond.

What attracts stink bugs inside?

Stink bugs are attracted to warmth and like to come indoors to hibernate in the colder months. They'll also happily eat ripe fruit that may have sat a little too long on the kitchen countertop.

Contributing Editor

Ruth Doherty is an experienced digital writer and editor specializing in interiors, travel and lifestyle. With 20 years of writing for national sites under her belt, she’s worked for the likes of Livingetc.com, Standard, Ideal Home, Stylist and Marie Claire as well as Homes & Gardens.