No matter what color they are or where you live, all stink bugs that comprise the nearly 90 different species have two things in common: they eat everything and they stink. They are invasive, stinky critters that seem to multiply exponentially overnight, and most commonly used insecticides are not that effective against them. However, there are some methods of organic pest control for stink bugs that have proven to be safe and efficient in reducing or eliminating the problem.
Indoor Organic Pest Control Tips
The best way to safely and organically control stink bugs in your home is to make sure every crack and crevice is sealed. This will keep them out to begin with. Use a caulk gun to seal your house up for the winter because if there is a crack, they will find it. Stink bugs aren't scurriers like the much loathed cockroach. Fortunately, they are slow movers and extremely easy to catch. The problem is, once you catch them they'll spray, so be warned. Other than the unpleasant aroma, stink bugs are relatively harmless in the home as they don't bite, nor do they carry diseases or parasites.
Stink bugs are attracted to light, so close the curtains at night and have as few outdoor lights on as possible.
Outdoor Organic Control Methods
The most common host plants for stinkbugs are:
The stink bugs suck the sap from the plants, weakening them and causing the buds or fruit to be malformed. Growths that look like warts may appear on okra or bean pods. Controlling weeds is an important part of eliminating this pest. You can also use an organic, botanical insecticide to stop infestations quickly.
One of the best ways to prevent stink bugs from getting into your garden and eating just about everything is to do some companion planting. It's not as difficult or involved as it sounds. Companion planting simply means to plant flowers, plants or herbs that are natural deterrents to stink bugs and other pests. Here's a list of common, easy to find plants, herbs and flowers that when planted in and around your garden will act as a natural and organic stink bug repellent:
- Marigold - Try planting a border of marigolds around your garden.
- Radish - Many garden pests, including stink bugs, don't like the smell of radishes.
- Catnip - This will work best if you don't have an outdoor cat.
- Mint - Easy to grow, mint is hardy and needs minimal attention to thrive.
- Garlic - Many garden pests also hate the smell of garlic.
- Tansy - These pretty yellow flower from the Aster family are natural stink bug repellents.
The concept of trap planting is simple: plant flowers, vegetables, plants and herbs that the stink bug loves somewhere away from your garden. This way, you're preventing them from destroying your fruits and vegetables by giving them other fruits and vegetables on which to feast. Here are some great trap planting flowers and plants to lure stink bugs away from your garden:
If you can't find some of the plants listed above, scientists say stink bugs are attracted to the color yellow, so try your hand at planting as many different types of yellow flowers as possible.
Use with Caution
Opting to use organic pest control for stink bugs is an important way to safeguard your vegetables and fruits without resorting to toxic ingredients. However, remember that just because a pest control product is organic does not mean that it is non-toxic. Always read labels carefully and keep such products out of the reach of children or pets.