Annoying little pests that produce an unpleasant odor when disturbed, plant-eating stink bugs cause damage by feeding on plant juices. Plants may wilt, become stunted, and small seedlings may even die.
They mostly go after tomatoes, corn, peppers, beans, and other vegetables and fruits. Therefore, it is vital that you get rid of them before they become a problem.
The flying stink bug belongs to the family Pentatomidae. It 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.
Some even say it smells like a skunk. However, the unpleasant odor that the insect gives off is a defense mechanism against predators .
Green 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. However, the nymphs go through five instars before reaching adulthood. The adults might be green, grayish, or brown in color.
Females lay their eggs in clusters on the underside of host plant leaves. The laying period begins in early spring through August when the weather is warm.
How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs Naturally
Though there is no need to fear them because they do not bite or sting, they will cause damage to your crops. These 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.
Insects that like to yank them include toads, praying mantis, ladybugs, parasitic flies, birds, and lacewings.
Besides, a little research will tell you which predators are native to your area and how to attract them.
3. Trap Plants
You can use plants to confuse the little green bugs, luring them away. Once they’ve flocked to it, you can (carefully!!) drape a bag over the plant, yank it up and dispose of it — 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.
The plants they will go after most are 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 stink bugs out of your vegetable garden.
4. Manually Removal
It’s best to catch them with gloves and a mask on. If they feel threatened, they will emit a foul odor that can last up to 4 hours.
Quickly pluck them off the plant they’re destroying and drop them into a pail of soapy water which suffocates them.
5. Hose Them
Use a spray nozzle on your hose and put it on a high setting to knock them off the plant. 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. You can 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
Mix up 2 teaspoons of neem oil with 4 cups of water and spray liberally everywhere you have the stinky little bugs.
This natural pesticide will get soaked up by their exoskeletons and begin to interfere with the way they behave. It doesn’t kill them instantly but in the end, they do die.
8. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Sprinkle this natural insecticidal powder at the base of plants and on the leaves.
However, if you are seeking how to get rid of stink bugs in the house, use the food-grade version. Diatomaceous earth will dehydrate and kill them.
You can also 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.
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
A simple 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
This simple homemade soapy water solution is sprayed directly on contact where it’s soaked up by their bodies, later dehydrating and killing them.
For the killer recipe, combine half cup organic liquid soap and one cup vinegar with two cups of water. Afterward, add to a spray bottle and coat the bugs.
You can also knock them off the plant into a bucket of hot soapy water where they’ll drown.
12. Hot Pepper Spray
Make a homemade spray for stink bugs by soaking hot peppers like chili or scotch bonnet in water and then using the water in a spray bottle.
Peppers have Capsaicin in them. As a result, this compound, which gives the fruit its heat, also burns the bugs’ bodies when it’s sprayed directly on them.
Azera is a natural insecticide. It combines an extract from daisies called Pyrethrum with neem oil that works against harmful insects.
However, this product breaks down in sunlight, so applying it at night or late evening would be best.
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.