Monday, May 2nd, 2011...7:01 am

How to Eliminate the Stink Bug

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug by e_monk

Last week my son had lunch with a friend who is an emergency room doctor in a New York hospital. They got around to talking about some of the more numerous insects in New York. One of those insects seems to be found in nightmare numbers. But the interesting thing about this insect is that, though creepy and an insect that no one wants in their house or apartment, it is not known to cause any real diseases to people. It does bite people and can make you itch. Yet scientists have never found this insect to carry any disease. But this young doctor says he is seeing many people in the emergency room because of the insect. Why? Because people don’t want the insect and have been buying toxic chemicals to spray or spread in their apartments. The people are getting sick from the chemicals they are using to try to get rid of this insect. The saddest thing is that mostly all the chemicals that they are using that are poisoning them are ineffective in getting rid of the insect they want to kill. This young doctor told my son that he is seeing numerous cases of poisoned patients.

There is another insect that is considered benign that has been coming into people’s homes in great quantities to over winter. This is an insect in the stink bug family known by scientists as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug – Halyomorpha halys (see here). Most other stink bugs overwinter in dead leaves, but the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug discovered that it can get into your house through numerous cracks or through window air conditioners and be comfortable hiding in a warm comfortable house. You really don’t see that many until it warms up outdoors and they want to leave in the spring because they are starving after a long winter of no food. Sometimes they are fooled into thinking that it is spring when lights are on indoors. Though this bug is considered a nuisance more than a disease carrier, no one likes finding them in the house. Have you ever been to a dinner party when they came out and in their confusion dive bombed the guests? TheGardenLady has and it wasn’t pleasant.

So how does one get rid of them?

The first advice is to try to seal every crack in the exterior of your home. Then if you have window air conditioners, to take them out for the winter because these stink bugs can crawl in. When you see them you should not squash them because they exude a smelly chemical.  (See here)

It is not advisable to vacuum them in your good vacuum cleaner because the smell can get in the vacuum cleaner. You can use your shop vacuum. If you catch them, DON’T squeeze them or they will make you smell. Do NOT throw them outdoors while alive- they will breed. Do not flush them down the toilet because you will be wasting water which is our most precious commodity and we are in short supply on this planet. You should take a jar with a tight fitting lid- like a screw on lid. Fill the jar about 1/4 full with rubbing alcohol. When you catch a stink bug throw it into the alcohol and shut the lid. Shake the jar to be sure the stink bug falls into the alcohol. Continue putting more of the caught stink bugs into the same jar. When you have filled the jar, then you can toss the jar with the alcohol and stink bugs into the trash and start all over again with a new jar and alcohol. But I hope you don’t have so many that you have to start on a second jar.

If you do have a major infestation of these Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, you might feel that you want to get a chemical to eradicate them. TheGardenLady is not aware of any chemical that is truly effective and many chemicals are very dangerous. Be extremely careful when using pesticides. You do not want to go to an emergency room because of toxic pesticides that might not be totally effective against the insect but might be very effective against you, family members or pets.

If TheGardenLady were to use a chemical, she would use one that claims to be organic. But even organic chemicals can be harmful to the user. So BUYER BEWARE.

There is an organic pesticide manufacturer that claims to have an organic product to get rid of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. TheGardenLady does not know how effective it is.  Because she likes other Safer products, she has allowed them to write an article about their product for this blog (see Wednesday’s post).

Please, if you decide to use the product, read all the directions carefully and follow them. I know the Brown Marmorated Stink bug is benign so I just hand pick the ones I see when they emerge. I never use chemicals, toxic or organic.



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