How to get rid of stink bugs in your home and garden

sink bug on window sill
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

You’ll want to know how to get rid of stink bugs in your home and garden. Stink bugs literally get their name from its smelly odor they release once they are crushed or disturbed.

What's more, the pheromone they produce not only protects them from predators, but attracts more stink bugs. This is why it’s so important to know how to get rid of stink bugs the right way to prevent an infestation.

So what are stink bugs? The brown marmorated stink bug is a common pest in households. Typically, they're known for their distinct ’V’ pattern on the back, these critters can make their way into houses or structures once the weather turns cold, to seek warmth and food. In addition, this type of stink bug is harmful to gardens as they can suck the sap from native plants, and feast on homegrown fruit or vegetables, especially if you’re growing tomatoes

If you haven’t spotted one yet, you’re likely to find stink bugs hiding under rocks, windowsills, furniture or cracks in the walls. While getting rid of stink bugs can be tricky (you don’t want to cause an unpleasant smell!), there are some simple ways of keeping them at bay that will take no time at all. So, if you want to avoid an infestation, here’s how to get rid of stink bugs in your home and garden for good.

You might also want to know these 7 active pests to watch out for in the fall or how to get rid of fruit flies.

1. Keep outdoors clean and clutter free 

Raking leaves on lawn

Raking leaves on lawn (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Remove any weeds, overgrowth or any other outdoor debris to keep your backyard tidy. Rake up piles of leaves and throw them into the compost, and clear any stacks of logs on the ground. Stink bugs love to hide under logs, leaves and other garden materials, so you want to make sure you eliminate any potential hiding spots. 

2. Seal off any potential entry points 

Caulk gun sealing window base

Caulk gun sealing window base (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you have stink bugs in the home, locate any possible entry points or openings. These are usually cracks and openings in exterior walls, door or window frames, or even electrical outlets and fixtures. Just like learning how to get rid of ants, seal up any gaps with caulk (a silicone-based formula is advised for glass), or make necessary repairs to fix larger openings. In addition, close all windows and doors or add screens on them to prevent stink bugs from entering the home.  

3. Create a natural repellent 

White vinegar and spray bottle

White vinegar and spray bottle (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you don't want to use insecticides, you can make a simple, homemade solution to deter stink bugs. Simply add one cup of white vinegar, and ½ cup of dish soap to two cups of hot water in a spray bottle before spraying directly onto the bugs. When using outdoors, avoid spraying it on sunny days, which can scorch your plants. 

4. Turn off exterior lights 

Signature Garden Solar Garden Lights on sidewalk

Signature Garden Solar Garden Lights on sidewalk (Image credit: Signature Garden)

Typically, stink bugs are attracted to exterior lights, so avoid leaving your lights on when not required. Alternatively, you could invest in some motion sensor outdoor lights such as these BAXIA TECHNOLOGY Solar Outdoor Lights Wireless Security Motion Sensor Outdoor Lights ($29, Amazon). In addition, close any blinds or drapes after dark, so the light from inside your home won't attract these critters.  

5. Make a stink bug trap 

Stink bugs on surface

Stink bugs on surface (Image credit: Shutterstock)

This DIY trap might come in useful if you have stink bug infestations. Simply fill a foil cooking tray with two inches of water, and stir in a drop of dish soap. Next, angle a lamp to shine onto the surface of the tray and leave on a flat surface overnight. Since bugs are attracted to light, this should lure them into your trap to be captured and ready to be disposed of. This is usually done by  flushing down the toilet.  

6. Fill the air with essential oils 

Essential oil bottles

Essential oil bottles (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Stink bugs hate the scents of essential oils, particularly, clove oil, lemongrass oil, spearmint and Ylang Ylang oil. Simply add a few drops of essential oil to water in a spray bottle, and apply around areas where you've spotted stink bugs. What’s more, the oils will leave the air smelling fresh and fragrant, which is far better than the stink bug!

7. Eliminate food sources 

Fruit bowl with bananas

Fruit bowl with bananas (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Like most pests, stink bugs are attracted to traces of food and food sources. Be sure to store perishables in airtight, sealed containers, and dispose of any rotten or overripe fruit in the bowl. Ensure you clean up spills on countertops immediately and wipe down daily. In addition, sweep floors or use one of the best vacuum cleaners to eliminate crumbs and keep it spotless.   

If you’ve tried all of the above, and still no luck, it’s time to call in the professionals to help you get rid of stink bugs for good.  

What time of year do stink bugs appear? 

Stink bug on screen

Stink bug on screen (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Stink bugs frequently enter homes from fall onwards, once the temperature drops. This is primarily to seek a warm place during the winter. Although stink bugs are not dangerous to humans, they do quickly multiply, which can be a nuisance around your home. In fact, the brown marmorated adult stink bug can live for about 6-8 months in your home. So be sure to take the necessary precautions to prevent them from invading your property.  

When you're done here see our guides on how to get rid of fruit flies fast, how to get rid of spidershow to get rid of silverfish, and how to get rid mice in your home.

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!