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How to control stink bugs and other pests that invade your home in the fall

Right when it's time to enjoy all of the things fall brings us, this well-known pest shows up in our homes. Here's how you can avoid them.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Cooler nights, changing leaves, and now, stink bugs are showing up at your doorstep.

The Brown Marmorated stink bug made its way to the United States from Asia into Pennsylvania in the 90s. Unfortunately, in 2009, the invasive creature found its way through Forsyth County, spreading rapidly across the piedmont. 

As of March 2022, you can find the invasive pest in 76 of North Carolina's 100 counties, according to experts from NC State University. 

We all know a stink bug when we see one because of its dusty brown and rough-looking skin. However, did you know there are several other bugs that look very similar to it?

The stink bug has whitish bands on its antennae most of the time, but who wants to get that close? Let's try to avoid all pests with a few of the tips below.  

Spray an Insecticide

Insecticides are the most sensible option for controlling the stink bug in agricultural and home garden settings. 

With it being the most effective method, home gardeners should look for products containing the active ingredient bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, or lambda-cyhalothrin. 

Organic gardeners' options are limited and may need to spray frequently to target the pests in their early stages. 

Use a Vacuum

Using a vacuum as pests appear in living spaces is an alternative method to insecticides. Be sure to dispose of the bag and as large numbers of them laying around creates a space for more unwanted pests such as carpet beetles, according to NC State University

Seal Cracks

Any visible cracks and crevices in between windows, doorways, and extractor vents can be easy entryways for stink bugs. 

Experts say that sealing torn screens, cracks, and gaps in window frames, reduces the chance of bugs returning in the fall. 

Where ever necessary use a caulk sealant amongst the cracks that are visible around the house. 

Be Mindful of Lighting

According to the USDA, these critters are attracted to visual cues such as UV black lights and chemical cues such as pheromones.  

It's recommended to keep outdoor lighting to a minimum. Additionally, during the evening hours, turning off the porch lights can be an extra easy step to keep the pests away.  

Eliminate Open or Exposed Food 

Stink bugs love fruit! It's recommended to keep your food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage daily to avoid attracting bugs. Additionally, wipe down counters and sweep floors to eliminate crumbs or sticky spill residue.  

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