Stink bugs begin seasonal trek into metro homes: Tips to keep the bugs at bay

LEAWOOD, Kan. -- As the season changes and the weather gets cooler, many are finding unwanted guests in their homes -- stink bugs.

Somehow, some way, they always seem to get inside. Alex Shaw's home in Leawood is no exception.

"A massive amount of stink bugs showing up at my house," Shaw said.

Stink bugs are sneaking in and settling down for the fall.

John Bauer, an operations manager with Blue Beetle Pest Control, took a look at Shaw's house.

"Anywhere where there's loose screens, utilities that are going into the house, garage doors where weather stripping could be better - those are all opportunities for bugs to get into the house," Bauer said. "Even around the chimney openings, they can get in."

Keeping the bugs at bay

Despite the insects' resourcefulness, Bauer said there are some simple ways to keep the bugs at bay.

"If you're a homeowner, and you have a lot of vegetation that's touching your house, not only is that a highway for stink bugs to get in, but ants and any kind of insects, so keeping vegetation away from the foundation if possible," Bauer said.

Here are some other tips and facts to consider:

  • Change your outside lights from white to yellow. The bugs aren't as attracted to the colored lights as they are to  the white.
  • Fruit trees attract the insects. Be aware that apple or peach trees are their favorites.
  • They also like to hide in crops like corn and soybeans.
  • The longer the summer is, the more the bugs can multiply.
  • They like to be near water, so pools, potted plants, and puddles will be attractive to them. Check your plants when you bring them in for the winter.

What's up with the 'stink' part?

Now, about that smell. Bauer says it's meant to attract other stink bugs.

"Really they release that odor when they're in a safe environment," Bauer said. "When they get into your house and they feel safe, they release that odor, and that's an indication for other stink bugs that they're in a safe spot."

Bauer says the best thing to do is vacuum them up instead of smashing them with your shoe.

"We treat around the foundation of the house with repellent to kind of keep them away from those areas," Bauer said. "Once they get inside, the best method is for the homeowner to kind of vacuum them up. Kind of collect them before they hibernate inside."

Shaw said he has had enough and is ready to do what he has to in order to give the stink bugs their marching orders back to the backyard.

"I hate them," Shaw said. "They're all over the place. They get into every nook and cranny of the house. They sound like a tank when they're running around, inside and running into walls and windows and everything else. Get out."

Bauer says if the bugs are already in your home, the best way to trap them, besides the vacuum, are tape traps. You can place them behind bookshelves, or under tables. The bugs will walk across and get stuck. Then you can throw them away instead of squashing them.

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