Annoying little pests that are voracious plant raiders, stink bugs cause damage by feeding on small seedlings. Plants may also wilt, become stunted, or 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, nymph, and adults. However, the nymphs go through five instars before reaching adulthood.
Adults bugs can be up to 2 cm long and might be brown, green, or gray 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 wreak havoc on your garden. These are the top natural and organic approaches to keep stink bugs away.
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 these little green bugs is one of the best natural ways to control stink bugs.
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 critters, 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 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. It 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. Also, 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.
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.
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
This spray is made 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 stink bug killer breaks down in sunlight, so applying it at night or late evening would be best.
Types of Stink Bugs
There are several different species, but they all fall into two categories.
The one with the most members is the plant-feeding type. The second is an insect predator that goes after its relatives, caterpillars, and other insects.
It’s important to know the difference between the two so you don’t eradicate the wrong one.
- Brown Marmorated (Halyomorpha halys) – BMSB has a triangular-shaped brown body, with darkish-brown wings and lightly-colored antennae. These agricultural pests feed on a variety of plants .
- Harlequin Bug (Murgantia histrionica) – these have spots of black and red on their flat, shield-shaped body. Calico bugs go after cabbages, horseradish, cauliflower, turnips, and other crops.
- Southern Green (Nezara viridula) – bright green in color with red or black eyes. The green vegetable bug also displays black spots on the sides of its belly. They eat mostly shoots and fruits.
- Rice (Oebalus pugnax) – this one is golden in color and has forward-pointing spines on its body. It feeds on rice plants, sorghum, and grasses.
- Forrest Bug (Pentatoma rufipes) – the red-legged shieldbug is found in woodlands and forestry areas. They have triangular-shaped bodies and orange legs. They mainly feed on oak trees.
- Spined soldier bug – has a light brown, yellow, or beige body with black spots. They also have protruding ridges on their heads and the top side of their bodies. These bugs feed on caterpillars and the larvae of Mexican bean beetles and potato bugs.
- Two-spotted stink bug – also called double-eyed soldier bug, has a black and orange body with two bold black spots on the thorax. They feed on the larvae and eggs of the Colorado potato beetle.
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.