How to Get Rid of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: Effective Solutions for a Bug-Free Home

The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive pest present throughout much of the United States.

Native to Asia, it made its way to the US in the mid-1990s, possibly stowing away in a shipping container, and has become a concern for farmers due to its appetite for various crops, including fruits, vegetables, and grains.

How to Get Rid of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dealing with these pesky insects can be a challenge for both homeowners and gardeners, but there are effective methods to control their population and prevent them from causing damage.

In this article, we will explore some of the best ways to get rid of the brown marmorated stink bug without resorting to harmful chemicals or costly extermination methods.

Understanding Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

Origin and Expansion

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), scientifically known as Halyomorpha halys, is an invasive pest.

It originally hails from Asia and made its way to the United States in the mid-1990s. Experts believe it likely arrived via shipping containers1.

BMSB populations have since expanded throughout North America, causing significant concern for farmers2.

Identification and Characteristics

Easily identifiable, these stink bugs have a few key features:

  • Shield-shaped exoskeleton
  • Blotchy brown to grayish color
  • Length of 1/2 to 5/8 inches
  • White bands on antennae and legs3

Distinguishing them from native stink bugs, these markings set BMSBs apart.

Behavior and Diet

BMSBs are notorious for their unpleasant odor when threatened or crushed. Their diet mainly consists of fruits, vegetables, and crops such as:

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Soybeans4

They possess piercing-sucking mouthparts, which allow them to extract plant juices. This often leads to significant damage to both foliage and fruits5.

Preventing Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Infestations

Sealing Your Home

Brown marmorated stink bugs can be a nuisance in homes. To prevent them from entering, seal gaps and cracks on doors, windows, and walls.

Crevices can be closed using caulk and weather stripping. For instance:

  • Apply caulk around window frames and door frames
  • Install weather stripping around doors and windows

Maintaining Your Garden

To avoid attracting stink bugs, maintain your garden, especially during spring and fall.

Clearing fallen leaves and debris minimizes their hiding places. Be cautious with plants, vegetables, and fruits, as stink bugs are attracted to them.

Simple gardening tips:

  • Remove fallen leaves and debris regularly
  • Harvest fruits and vegetables as they ripen

Using Screens and Barriers

Another effective way to keep stink bugs out is by using screens and barriers. Install screens on doors and windows to block their entry points.

Pest control can also be helpful if the infestation is severe. For example:

  • Install fine mesh screens on doors and windows
  • Consider professional pest control services for extreme infestations

Pros and Cons of using screens:

Pros Cons
Effective in blocking entry points Can be costly for large homes
Easy to install Requires regular maintenance (cleaning)

Remember, keeping your home sealed and your garden maintained, along with using screens and barriers, can prevent brown marmorated stink bug infestations.

Just follow these simple precautions and maintain a pest-free environment.

How to Get Rid of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug:  Dealing with Infestations

Non-Chemical Methods

To get rid of stink bugs in your home, some non-chemical methods can be effective. For example:

  • Vacuuming: Use a utility vacuum like a Shop-Vac or a vacuum with a bag, and empty it right away to prevent odor.
  • Manual removal: Gently sweep the bugs into a container of soapy water to kill them.
  • Sealing entry points: Caulk and seal gaps around windows, doors, and other openings to prevent stink bugs from entering your home.

Alternative Home Remedies

These DIY solutions are eco-friendly, cost-effective, and can be easily implemented using household items.

  • Soapy Water Trap: Fill a large bowl or pan with water and add a few drops of dish soap. Place the bowl near a light source at night. Stink bugs are attracted to light, and once they land in the soapy water, they’ll be unable to escape and will drown.
  • Essential Oils: Certain essential oils, like mint, lavender, and eucalyptus, can act as natural repellents for stink bugs. Mix 10-15 drops of essential oil with water in a spray bottle and spray around windows, doors, and other entry points.
  • Garlic Spray: Stink bugs dislike the strong odor of garlic. Mix 2 cups of water with 4 teaspoons of garlic powder. Spray the solution around your home’s perimeter, especially near doors and windows, to deter the bugs.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: This natural powder can be sprinkled around the home’s foundation and potential entry points. It acts as a desiccant, drying out any stink bugs that come into contact with it.
  • Sticky Traps: While typically used for other pests, sticky traps can be effective in capturing stink bugs. Place them near windows or light sources to catch the bugs as they move around.
  • Reduce Outdoor Lighting: Stink bugs are attracted to lights. By reducing outdoor lighting or using yellow or sodium vapor lights, you can decrease the number of bugs drawn to your home.
  • Dryer Sheets: Some homeowners have found success in repelling stink bugs using scented dryer sheets. Rubbing them on window screens or placing them near entry points can deter the bugs due to the strong scent.
  • Neem Oil: This natural pesticide can be sprayed on plants and around the home to deter stink bugs. Mix a few drops of neem oil with water and spray it on affected areas.
  • Cedar Blocks or Chips: The scent of cedar is another natural repellent for stink bugs. Place cedar blocks or chips near entry points or in areas where stink bugs are commonly found.

Remember, while these home remedies can be effective in reducing the number of stink bugs in and around your home, they may not eliminate the problem entirely.

Chemical Methods

In case of severe infestations, chemical methods can be used to control stink bugs outdoors:

  • Insecticides: Apply insecticides to the underside of plants, especially tomato plants, where stink bugs commonly lay eggs.
  • Pesticides: Use pesticides specifically labeled for stink bug control in the environment around your home or garden.

Note: It’s essential to follow the product instructions and precautions when using chemical methods.

Working with Pest Control Companies

If infestations persist, consider hiring a pest control company. Before choosing, compare these features of potential companies:

  • Experience: Look for companies with a proven track record in dealing with stink bugs.
  • Prices: Compare costs and service packages of different pest control companies.
  • Services: Ensure the company offers both chemical and non-chemical treatment options.
  • Environmental impact: Check if they use eco-friendly methods and materials.

Keep in mind that working with a reputable pest control company can provide valuable support and guidance during a stink bug infestation.

Impact on Agriculture and the Environment

Damage to Farm Crops

Brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) cause significant damage to farm crops by piercing plant tissues and sucking out plant juices.

Major crops affected by BMSB include apples, corn, soybeans, peaches, and beans.

Type of damage:

  • Apple: misshapen and discolored fruits
  • Corn: kernels are pierced and shrunken
  • Soybeans: seeds are deformed and have reduced yield

Effects on Local Ecosystems

BMSB invade various ecosystems, acting as invasive species.

Halyomorpha halys have few natural predators in their new environments, allowing them to reproduce at rapid rates and disrupt local ecosystems.

Consequences:

  • Outcompete native species for resources
  • Alter food chains, affecting higher trophic levels

Efforts to Control and Mitigate Damage

Farmers and researchers take several approaches to control BMSB and reduce their damage on crops and the environment:

Pheromone traps: Attract and capture stink bugs using attractive chemicals imitating stink bug aggregation pheromones.

Biological control: Introducing native predators and parasitic wasps to control BMSB populations. These beneficial insects can help reduce brown marmorated stink bug numbers.

Chemical control: Use of targeted insecticides to suppress BMSB population without harming beneficial insects.

Physical barriers: Protective netting and screens prevent BMSB from accessing crops.

Control Method Pros Cons
Pheromone traps Non-toxic, target-specific May not provide complete control, need regular monitoring
Biological control Environmentally-friendly, long-term solution Takes time, may not provide immediate control
Chemical control Effective, quick results Potential harm to beneficial insects, resistance development
Physical barriers Non-toxic, no harm to other organisms Expensive, labor-intensive, may not be suitable for all crops

Conclusion

The brown marmorated stink bug, an invasive pest from Asia, poses significant challenges for homeowners and farmers alike. While they don’t harm humans, their feeding habits can damage a variety of crops.

Prevention methods, such as sealing homes and maintaining gardens, are crucial. For infestations, both non-chemical and chemical solutions are available.

Collaborating with reputable pest control companies can also be beneficial. By understanding and implementing these strategies, a bug-free home and garden are achievable.

Footnotes

  1. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug | US EPA
  2. How to deal with these little stinkers: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
  3. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug – Halyomorpha halys
  4. Tips for Dealing With Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs
  5. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug | OSU Extension Service

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about the brown marmorated stink bugs. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – White Stink Bug is newly metamorphosed Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

White Stink Bug?
Location: Lebanon County, PA
August 4, 2011 2:32 pm
Alright so I know there are many different species of insects but a White Stink Bug with Red markings… While I was frolicking through the forest in Central, PA I found this awesome insect.

I’ve done some research but have not found a name or answer to what this bug is. It is exactly the size of a stink bug but its white, with red markings. Maybe an Albino? I don’t know, so I’ll leave it up to you.
Signature: Jeremy

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, freshly metamorphosed

Hi Jeremy,
Based on the striped antennae, our gut instinct is that this is a light Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, an invasive species that has gotten a foothold in Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Perhaps it is a light individual, or perhaps it is freshly metamorphosed and it has not darkened yet.  Sure enough, we found a visual match on BugGuide.

Letter 2 – Possibly Brown Marmorated Stink Bug from India

Subject: unknown bug
Location: india
January 13, 2013 1:41 am
which bug is this and what does it eat?
Signature: Jagdeep Singh

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Hi Jagdeep,
This is a Stink Bug and it looks similar to the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (see BugGuide), , a species that has gained notoriety and much publicity in North America since it is an invasive species introduced from Asia that has no significant predators to keep its population in check. 

It is multiplying rapidly and spreading its range in North America.  The species is also significant as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug enters homes to hibernate during cold weather.  We are uncertain if it is native to India as BugGuide lists the range as:  “Native to E. Asia.”

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Letter 3 – Probably Common Green Shield Bug Hatchlings

Subject: What bug is this?
Location: Raspberry leaf
July 17, 2015 2:06 pm
I found these on the back on a raspberry leaf from a plant I bought a few weeks ago. I’m guessing they’re stink bug babies, but not idea what type! Any help identifying them would be great. I’m located just outside of Bristol in the south-West of England
Signature: Lisa

Stink Bug Hatchlings
Stink Bug Hatchlings

Dear Lisa,
As you suspected, these are hatchling Stink Bugs, and they bear a striking resemblance to hatchling Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs,
Halyomorpha halys, which you can verify by comparing to this image on BugGuide. We are well aware of the rapid spread of this invasive Asian species in North America, but we did not know of any UK sightings, so we did some research. 

According to a November 2014 posting on BBC News:  “An agricultural pest dubbed the stink bug could establish itself within the UK, according to a scientist.  Entomologist Max Barclay said it was ‘it is only a matter of time’ before the brown marmorated stink bug arrives in the country.  Two of the insects have already been found on imported timber headed for Britain. 

The bug, which is native to the Far East, has already reached France and Germany.  Mr Barclay, from London’s Natural History Museum, told the Daily Mail newspaper: ‘I think the brown marmorated stink bug will establish a population here. It is only a matter of time.  It will make its presence felt fairly quickly because it comes into people’s homes in the autumn and winter.’ 

Its name comes from the putrid stench it releases from its glands when threatened.  The insect was first found in the US in the late 1990s, but has now spread across much of the country. Since then, it has become a severe pest of fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants.” 

You might want to report this sighting to your local agricultural agency.  It is possible that the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug eggs were on the raspberry plant when you purchased it, or it is also possible that they are already established, but passing unnoticed in your area.  It is also possible that this is a different species of Stink Bug.

Letter 4 – Newly Metamorphosed Stink Bug might be Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in South Africa

Subject: Unusual pink bug in Johannesburg South Africa
Location: South Africa, Johannesburg
January 4, 2017 1:24 pm
Hi, love your site thank you for the interesting and informative info you post. I live in the country side just outside Johannesburg, South Africa. It is mid summer here and my son noticed this very unusual bug on the wall in the house.

At first we thought it was one bug which had a an upper pink portion with a black end disguised to look like a head too but when we out it in a bottle to take it outside we noticed that it was in fact two bugs and the pink bug was pushing a half digested black.

If out its anterior end! Can’t find any info on this and was hoping you could tell is what this bug is?
Signature: Tracy

Newly Metamorphosed Stink Bug might be Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Dear Tracy,
The albino-like coloration of this Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an indication that it just emerged from its cast off nymphal exoskeleton.  The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive, exotic species originally from Asia that has spread across North America in a very short period of time.

Retraction:  January 19, 2017
Though this is a newly metamorphosed Stink Bug, we cannot state for certain that it is a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.  Thanks to Curious Girl for pointing out to us that there are no known reports of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs in South Africa. 

The Invasive Species Compendium does not list sightings in South Africa.  We based our identification on the striped antennae which are distinctive in the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.  This may be a first reported sighting.

Letter 5 – Probably Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Eggs

Subject: Mystery eggs
Location: Alton, Illinois, USA
May 28, 2017 1:12 pm
I was wandering around my yard with my tortoise when I discovered a tiny dying leaf with tiny eggs on it. I am totally clueless and need help identifying!
Signature: Sarah D

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Eggs

Dear Sarah,
We are quite certain these are Stink Bug eggs, and after comparing them to this BugGuide image, we are fairly certain they are Brown Marmorated Stink Bug,
Halymorpha halys, eggs.  The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an Invasive Exotic Species and according to BugGuide

“Native to E. Asia, adventive elsewhere(2); in our area, mostly e US and West Coast states.”  First collected in Pennsylvania in 1998, in just a few years, this noxious species has spread from coast to coast according to BugGuide data.  In addition to doing major agricultural damage, according to BugGuide: 

“Highly polyphagous, reported on ~300 plant spp. in its native range; feeds mostly on fruit, but also on leaves, stems, petioles, flowers, and seeds. Damage typically confined to fruiting structures,” the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is a source of consternation to homemakers because they frequently enter homes in large numbers to hibernate when the weather begins to cool.

Authors

  • Daniel Marlos

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

38 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: Effective Solutions for a Bug-Free Home”

  1. I live in a little town called Souderton in Montgomery county Pa. I found a white stink bug with red spots just like the one pictured above from Lebanon county Pa. I have seen plenty of stink bugs across the country but never a white one. I don’t know how to upload pictures for you to see but as I said it is identical to the one posted on your website–What’s that bug. Just thought I would let you know there is another one in Pa. I guess if there is one there are two and if there are two, well you get my point. I’m sure there are more some where. Maybe even outside where I live. Thank you for your time—-Chuck—-

    Reply
  2. I’m in East Tennessee and I saw one of these in my Garden on a pepper plant yesterday, it is an albino stink bug, and I know this to be a fact since there was also dozens of brown ones in my garden too.

    Reply
    • Immediately after metamorphosis, the freshly molted insect is lighter in color. Without an image it is difficult to be certain, but we suspect the white Stink Bug you witnessed darkened after several hours.

      Reply
  3. I am a master gardener and I am helping to put together a beginning Entomology class to teach other Master Gardeners how to identify insects that are brought in to our clinics. I would like to ask for permission to use your photo of the Brown Marmorated stink bug eggs and nymphs above. They are a great example.
    Thank you
    Teri Gau

    Reply
    • What’s That Bug? frequently allows images from our site to be used for educational purposes. You have our permission to use this image. We will attempt to locate a higher resolution image and forward it to you.

      Reply
  4. I am a master gardener and I am helping to put together a beginning Entomology class to teach other Master Gardeners how to identify insects that are brought in to our clinics. I would like to ask for permission to use your photo of the Brown Marmorated stink bug eggs and nymphs above. They are a great example.
    Thank you
    Teri Gau

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment Curious Girl. We still believe the identification is correct, but without verification that the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug has been introduced to South Africa, we are qualifying the identification and amending the posting.

      Reply
  5. Growing up in Jharkhand India in the 1970s we saw these all the time around the house. The Brown Marmorated version is what they looked like. I read they came to the USA around 1998, well they were in India long before that. They werent in numbers high enough to be called a pest though. I wonder if the different varietes of stink bugs have different stinks? Has there been a Stink-o-Analysis done? 🙂

    Reply
    • Our editors do not have noses sensitive enough to distinguish differences in the smells of different species of Stink Bugs, and we would also propose that the diet of the individual might cause variations in the smells within a species as well.

      Reply
  6. I found this same white stinkbug on a petal of a rosebud that is opening on my potted rose in Tampa Bay area of Florida. Glad I found out what it is.

    Reply
  7. These “white stink bugs” are all over my squash in my garden. Not sure if they are what is killing the squash plants but I know for a fact they stay white & don’t turn brown. There are many tiny nymph ones & large mature ones and not one brown one.

    Reply
  8. They are in my mother’s vegetable garden; mainly on her zucchini. We’re in Georgia. I’m gonna go commando on them.

    Reply
  9. They were all over my bean plants last year. They were the same size as brown ones. There weren’t any brown ones in my garden, but hundreds of white ones.
    I am in Georgia.

    Reply
  10. They are in my garden in Georgia and have killed my cucumbers and my yellow squash. Natural pesticides do not work on them. They are ruining my harvest. Someone needs to find a way to eradicate them.

    Reply

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