Has your house smelled worse than usual lately? If you can’t attribute it to a teenager who refuses to shower or a dog with bad gas, you may have stink bugs hanging out in your home.
Don’t panic: It’s a common occurrence, and we can help.
Stink bugs are small brown insects that have the ability to colonize areas quickly. If you live near an agricultural area, you are at an even higher risk of stink bugs entering your home.
So what do we do to protect our homes from these smelly guys? No, unfortunately, inviting them in for a shower won’t take away the stink.
At The Natural Patch Co., we suggest using essential oils.
Why? Well, for one, essential oils have been around for hundreds of years. For those years, essential oils have been used as natural insect repellents (and for many other uses).
This means that before chemical pesticides were introduced to our culture, we were already keeping bugs away, naturally. For another, it’s a safe alternative to those chemical sprays and lotions. They also smell a lot better — a win on both accounts.
Fast Facts About Stink Bugs
If there was ever a time you’d learn a lot about a subject you never really thought of before, now is that time.
Here are some top facts about stink bugs you never knew you needed:
Stink bugs seriously love farms. In fact, they are a huge issue for farmers. Stink bugs love to snack on all types of crops and can decimate rows of crops quickly.
Stink bugs will munch on crops and cause soft spots on various types of produce and cause them to be less desirable and sometimes unsellable if allowed to graze long enough.
This is known as “pitting” or “scarring,” and it leads to a mealy texture on the crops. Since these little buggers can spread so fast, stink bugs can cause detrimental damage to an entire crop season for any given farmer.
The crops most at risk are:
- Green beans
If you live on a farm or near farmlands, your home is also at risk. Stink bugs like to look for shelter for the winter and fall, and that means anywhere they can rest.
For stink bugs, doorways, window sills, and other entryways into your home are the perfect areas for them to hang out. If your doors are propped open, or you have a window open without a screen, they’ll take that as a personal invitation inside.
How Do Stink Bugs Communicate?
Stink bugs communicate through vibrations for short-distance communication and pheromones for long-distance communication.
They use this communication tactic to seek out mates, and they will also seek out certain crops that will help pass those vibrations on. What’s their favorite crop to rave to other stink bugs about? Beans or other legumes.
What’s That Smell?
Stink bugs will actually smell slightly different for each person that comes into contact with them.
In general, stink bugs smell like rotting vegetables or something that evokes not-fond memories of accidentally surprising a skunk.
What’s unusual about this? Stink bugs actually love this type of perfume. They secrete this smell from a pocket or hole in their abdomen and use it to attract a mate.
The liquid has a specific few pheromones that help stink bugs attract other stink bugs during mating season. Once they find a mate, each stink bug can lay up to 400 eggs in 20-30 egg clusters.
Stink Bugs Don’t Have Mouths
Stink bugs can shed, communicate and secrete smelly liquids using their abdomen. When they need to eat, they have a mouthpart that acts as a sucker for extra nectar and other nutrients from crops and plants.
However, they don’t have a typical mouth that is similar to other insects. This might not seem like a good thing, but it is. No bug-like mouth means that stink bugs can’t bite. This means that even if you or your kids come into contact with a stink bug, they can’t cause any sort of welt or irritation from biting or any abrasion.
How Do Humans React to Stink Bugs?
While these bugs don’t pose a threat from bites or stings, they can still cause us further reactions than merely unsavory smells.
Humans can react to the same pheromones in stink bug secretion that they use to attract mates. The most typical reactions are conjunctivitis and rhinitis. Both of these reactions cause blockage in the nasal and sinus cavities, which will cause a stuffy nose, sneezing, wheezing-like coughs, and watery eyes.
If you know that you’re allergic or sensitive to the smells of other insects, the chances are high that you will also react to the odors emitted from stink bugs.
What Can You Do?
If these reactions are the case for you or your family, then you need to keep stocked up on bundles of our AllergyPatch. The all-natural blend of essential oils in this sticker is designed to trigger receptors in our nasal passages and bump up responses from our immune system.
By triggering this response, your body has a better chance of preventing symptoms and signs of allergies. Relief is fast and easy. The best part? These stickers go on clothes, not on skin.
Kids hate lotions and nasal sprays, so instead of fighting them every day to prevent allergic responses to things around you, add these stickers to their clothes and help them relieve symptoms without them even knowing.
How To Keep Stink Bugs Out of Your Home
Word of caution for anyone dealing with stink bugs: if you step on them or try to squash them in any way, they secrete liquid. That is the same liquid that makes the whole room smell.
It may wear off in a few short hours, but that still means the entire family suffers for at least those few hours. And we are talking about one stink bug stepped on. Imagine if you have a bunch!
The best way to avoid the stink is to keep the bugs away, period. But how do we do that?
There are a few ways we recommend and a few we don’t:
Safeguard the House
To block stink bugs from entering your home, you’ll want to take a few easy but necessary steps.
Weatherstrip all doors and windows. Not only will this help control the household temperature in the hot and cold months, but it will also stop stink bugs from creeping in through small openings.
Ensure proper insulation and seals around all plumbing and casings around the house. These cracks might not seem very large to you, but they are more than enough space for any stink bugs.
If you have a chimney, place a mesh sieve or cap on the top to keep the bugs out. This is inconvenient for you to enter the home, but not for bugs (or Santa Claus).
The Truth About Pesticides
Many companies will try to sell you insecticides or bug repellants. Claiming chemical products like DEET or Roundup are safe and effective against insects.
However, the truth is that using these chemical products comes with a risk that’s just not worth taking. These products have been linked to serious illnesses and severe reactions when they come into contact with our skin.
While many sites will claim they’re safe and easy to use, the truth is they can be overused without even realizing it, and overuse comes with serious complications and risks.
The environment and your family will thank you for taking a natural approach to insects instead.
Essential Oils That Repel Bugs
Before these chemicals were on the market, communities used essential oils to cast off bugs. If this worked then and it was safe and effective, why would we use anything else?
Instead, we highly recommend essential oils for all-natural insect repellents that smell amazing (to people). Plus, they’re easy to use and safe around your families and pets.
There are quite a few essential oil options to choose from that repel stink bugs.
The most effective are:
- Lemongrass oil
- Ylang ylang oil
- Clove oil
- Spearmint oil
They can be used separately, but scientists suggest that using a blend of these oils will repel a majority of nearby stink bugs.
Other essential oils that also provide repellent qualities include:
- Wintergreen oil
- Geranium oil
- Rosemary oil
- Pennyroyal oil
While these oils may not have 100% effectiveness against stink bugs, the effects still exceeded 75% at repelling stink bugs.
All the Ways To Use Essential Oils
Whether you use the oils separately or in a blend, essential oils are effective at banishing unwanted insects. How you use them will have varying effects of strength and length of effect, but they will work in various ways.
If you already own diffusers or other aromatic accessories, you can use these to add these scents to the air. Just be sure to place the diffuser close to windows or doorways to ensure they have the best chance of repelling stink bugs.
You can also soak cotton balls in these oils and place them in crevices and corners of the home that may be sensitive to stink bug infestations. Another great way to use them would be spray bottles. You can spray them every so often on windows or doors, much like you would insecticides, except these are effective AND safe.
The Nose Knows: Essential Oils Can Repel Stink Bugs
Keeping stink bugs out of your home is key to keeping their smells away. We are sure that these oils are the way to go, and we know you’ll enjoy their scents as well as their repellent strength as much as we do.
The best part is how safe and natural the whole process is!