Annoying little pests that produce an unpleasant odor when disturbed, plant-eating stink bugs cause damage by feeding on plant juices.
They mostly go after tomatoes, corn, peppers, beans, and other vegetables in your garden.
Additionally, stink bugs may enter your home in cooler months to overwinter. The warmth and light are what attract them; therefore, it is vital that you get rid of them before an infestation begins.
The stink bug acquired its name because of the foul odor it emits when threatened or squished.
It’s said to smell something like the pungent herb cilantro. However, the unpleasant odor that the insect gives off is a defense mechanism against predators .
Stink bugs also go by the name green shield bugs because they are shield-shaped. Moreover, it’s this shape that often gets them confused with the leaf-footed bug.
Their life-cycle consists of three stages — eggs, nymphs, and adults. The adults might be green, grayish, or brown in color.
Females lay their eggs in clusters on the underside of host plant leaves. The egg-laying period begins in early spring when the weather is warm.
How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in the Garden Naturally
Though there is no need to fear these pesky insects because they do not bite or sting, they will cause damage to your crops. Below are the top natural and organic approaches to keep away stink bugs.
1. Kaolin Clay
Kaolin clay is a naturally occurring mineral. When prepared in a spray solution, you can apply it to plants, especially the undersides of leaves.
This natural remedy causes confusion and irritation in pests. Also, it prevents egg-laying and feeding.
2. Beneficial Insects
Attracting insects that hunt for other insects is one of the best natural stink bug control methods.
Natural stink bug predators include toads, praying mantis, ladybugs, parasitic flies, birds, and lacewings.
Besides, a little research will tell you which of their enemies are native to your area and how to attract them.
3. Trap Plants
You can use plants to trick these little green bugs, luring them away. Once they’ve flocked to a plant, carefully drape a bag over it and yank it up. Next, dispose of everything — the plant and bugs alike.
Afterward, leave the sealed bag in the hot sun for a few days to kill the bugs trapped inside before you throw the bag away.
Trap crops include sunflower, sweet corn, mustard, hollyhocks, okra, and amaranth. Therefore, if these plants aren’t part of your prized crops, plant them nearby to keep BMSB and other flying stink bugs out of your vegetable garden.
4. Manually Removal
The cheapest stink bug home remedy is to remove them by hand.
However, it’s best to catch them with gloves and a mask on because if they feel threatened, they will emit a foul odor that can last up to 4 hours.
Quickly pluck them off the plant or whatever they’re on in your house. Next, drop them into a bucket of soapy water to suffocate and kill them.
5. Hose Them
Use a spray nozzle on your hose and put it on a high setting to knock the critters off your plants. This DIY method may not harm them, but it will deter them for a while.
6. Sticky Fly Tape
Sticky tape makes an excellent stink bug trap! However, use it with caution because it can catch beneficial insects as well.
Use sticky traps to safeguard both the garden and the house from infestation.
Make a barrier around your garden or window sill if they’re finding their way inside your home.
7. Neem Oil Spray
This natural pesticide will get soaked up by the exoskeleton of these stinky little bugs and begin to interfere with the way they behave. It doesn’t kill them instantly but in the end, they do die.
To use neem oil for stink bugs, mix up 2 teaspoons of it with 4 cups of water. Spray liberally everywhere you have the critters.
8. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous earth is an excellent remedy to get rid of stink bugs organically. Sprinkle this natural insecticidal powder at the base of plants and on the leaves.
Alternatively, make a homemade stink bug killer spray by mixing one part DE with four parts water. Add to a spray bottle and use it to coat your plants and the bugs you spot.
You can also use it indoors. However, to get rid of stink bugs in your house, use food-grade DE.
Diatomaceous earth will dehydrate and kill the critters.
9. Eliminate Weeds
Nymphs often feed on weeds and grasses, so pulling them up and completely disposing of them will cut out a major part of their diet.
Getting rid of weeds will also destroy the hiding spots of adults.
10. Garlic Spray
Garlic spray is another effective home remedy for stink bugs. This treatment is a mixture of water, organic liquid soap, and garlic. Blend, strain, and spray on plants liberally.
The smell will repel the critters and the taste will keep them from eating your plant. However, you’ll need to reapply after it rains.
11. Soap Spray
Make a homemade soapy water solution and spray it directly on green stink bugs and others. It will get soaked up by their bodies where it will later dehydrate and kill them.
For this killer recipe, combine half a cup of organic liquid soap and one cup of vinegar in two cups of water. Next, add to a spray bottle and use it to coat the bugs.
You can also knock them off the plant into a bucket of hot soapy water where they’ll die shortly after.
12. Hot Pepper Spray
Make a homemade spray for stink bugs by soaking hot peppers like chili or scotch bonnet in water.
Peppers have Capsaicin in them. As a result, this compound, which gives the fruit its heat, will burn the bugs’ bodies when it’s sprayed directly on them.
Azera is a natural insecticide for the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. It combines an extract from daisies called Pyrethrum with neem oil that works against harmful insects.
Use it according to the instructions that come with your purchase.
Stink bugs will not only infest your garden and orchard but also your home. Therefore, eliminating them before there is an infestation is the best course of action.