How to Repel Stink Bugs

Bill Swank
First Published: | Updated: February 27, 2024

Have you been battling with stink bugs? Does their unpleasant odor leave you scrambling to find a solution? If yes, then this comprehensive guide is for you. Stink bugs can be more than a mere annoyance. From damaging gardens to invading homes, they can pose various challenges. Fortunately, there are methods—ranging from changes in daily habits, establishing physical barriers, utilizing natural repellents to employing professional-grade insecticides—that can help you repel these pesky pests effectively.

In this guide, we’ll help you understand stink bugs better, share proven procedures for keeping them at bay, and provide simple, DIY solutions, ensuring you’re well-prepared to deal with these stubborn insects. So, let’s begin our quest to say goodbye to stink bugs, once and for all.

  • Physical barriers, such as sealing off all entry points and inspecting homes for cracks or open spaces, can prevent stink bugs from invading your home in the first place.
  • Certain household routines such as reducing moisture sites, turning off lights, and regularly checking belongings for stink bugs can also deter these pests.
  • Natural substances like diatomaceous earth, essential oils like lavender and citronella, as well as garlic and mint sprays, can serve as effective, eco-friendly repellents against stink bugs.
  • Regular outdoor maintenance, attracting natural predators, and using pest-repelling or trap plants can further dissuade stink bugs from finding your property attractive.
  • In severe infestations, it may be necessary to resort to professional-grade insecticides, but these should always be applied in a targeted manner to minimize harm to non-target organisms, and used as a last resort after all other preventive measures have been exhausted.

Table of Contents

What are the Basic Principles of Repelling Stink Bugs?

Stink bugs are a common household pest notorious for their distinct, unpleasant odor. Understanding what attracts these bugs to your home is the first step to repelling them.

What attracts stink bugs?

Stink bugs are attracted to warmth, light, moisture, and food sources. These bothersome creatures feel particularly drawn to buildings with plenty of cracks and crevices to hide, especially in preparation for winter hibernation.

Why are stink bugs a concern to gardeners and homeowners?

Stink bugs pose a great concern as they can invade homes in large numbers. Leaving a lingering smell when crushed or threatened, these bugs also damage crops and ornamental plants.

Why is finding an effective stink bug repellent essential?

Identifying an effective stink bug repellent is essential to prevent infestation, minimize damage, and maintain a fresh and comfortable living space.

Understanding the Behavior and Preferences of Stink Bugs

Having a clear understanding of stink bug behavior and preferences can be your weapon in effectively repelling them.

Why are homes and gardens attractive to stink bugs?

Dripping pipes, warm and wet areas, and easily accessible food inside the house provide an inviting environment for stink bugs.

What environments are stink bugs naturally drawn to?**

In the wild, stink bugs try to find spots underneath bark or in rock crevices to overwinter. They prefer warm environments with access to water and food. Think like a stink bug and look for similar areas on your house: Pipes Fascia boards Windows Wiring outlets Soffits Door frames Areas where food is left out.

Through which common household areas do stink bugs enter?

Stink bugs typically enter homes through cracks around windows and doors, ventilation systems, chimneys, and small spaces in walls or foundations.

How can Physical Barriers Keep Stink Bugs Away?

Sealing off access to your home is one of the most effective ways to keep stink bugs out. Let’s delve into how you can achieve this:

Block all entry ways

The best way to keep stink bugs away is to stop them from entering! Perform regular inspections of your property for likely entry points frequently used by stink bugs – such as pipes, fascia boards, windows, wiring outlets, soffits and door frames. Ensure that you seal up any crevices you find to prevent stink bugs from sneaking in.

Regular inspection for any cracks or open spaces

Check your windows and doors for any cracks or open spaces that could serve as entryways for stink bugs. If necessary, replace damaged screens and seals. Consider installing or repairing protective screens over air vents and windows. Patch any holes you find in your window or door screens. Use mesh screening to cover dryer vents, air vents, chimneys, and other open areas connecting the outside with the inside of your home. For window air conditioning units, make sure to utilize foam strips to create a tight seal.

Proper ventilation

Ventilating spaces like basements, attics, garages, and crawl spaces can help to reduce the humidity and warmth that attract stink bugs, thereby eliminating their potential harborage points. You might also want to consider using a dehumidifier in these areas.

Checking your belongings

Stink bugs may also sneak into your home via your personal belongings. Always inspect your stuff such as boxes containing holiday decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors. This simple habit can significantly save your home from a potential stink bug infestation.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can reduce your home’s attractiveness to stink bugs and keep them at bay!

How Do Household Routines Help in Deterrence?

Your everyday household activities can contribute significantly to repelling stink bugs. Here are few simple habits that you can develop to deter these pesky bugs:

Turn the lights off

Stink bugs, like many other insects, are attracted to light. If you frequently keep lights on in the evening, inside or out, you may unintentionally offer a glowing invitation to these pests. To avoid this, consider turning off unnecessary lights, especially during night time.

Reduce moisture sites

Stink bugs are fond of warm, moist places. Dripping pipes, wet towels, and clogged drains serve as perfect magnets for them. Always keep these sites dry or maintain proper drainage. If these areas are left unchecked, you may end up with a stink bug colony within your home.

Cut-off food access

If stink bugs find ample food sources in your home, they may be enticed to stay permanently. Keep your trash sealed, clean all counters and floors, and promptly take care of any food spills or crumbs. A home without a readily available food source will be less appealing for these pests.

What Natural Substances are Effective Against Stink Bugs?

While physical barriers and altered routines can deter stink bugs, deploying natural repellents can enhance your home defenses against these pests.

Diatomaceous Earth

This is a top-grade natural insecticide that is safe for both humans and pets. Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth inside and outside your home, particularly around potential stink bug entrances like windows and doorways. Diatomaceous earth serves as a natural and abrasive barrier to crawling insects, including stink bugs.

Garlic Spray

Stink bugs detest the potent smell of garlic. Spread garlic cloves on window panes or concoct a garlic spray to deter any invaders. This natural method pushes stink bugs away using an odor they can’t stand.

Mint Spray

If the smell of garlic is too strong for your liking, consider using mint instead. Just like garlic, mint’s pungent aroma repels stink bugs without killing them. Mix peppermint oil with water in a spray bottle and apply to points of ingress. Alternatively, you can grind fresh mint leaves and use them in place of the oil.

Kaolin Clay

Without causing any harm, Kaolin Clay, a simple mineral, serves as a successful deterrent to stink bugs. Upon contact, it adheres to their bodies, creating an uncomfortable environment that encourages them to depart. The clay also disguises the natural hue and fragrance of plants, complicating the stink bugs’ quest for food. Lastly, it coats fruits and leaves with a white film. This forms a barrier that makes it difficult for stink bugs to land and feed. It will also deter other pests.

To use kaolin clay against stink bugs, you need to blend it with water according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Then, carefully spray this mixture onto your plants, focusing specifically on sections where stink bugs are most likely to congregate, such as the undersides of leaves and fruits. The clay should be reapplied every 7-10 days, or more often if it rains.

Incorporating these natural substances into your pest control routine can upgrade your defenses against stink bugs. Not only are these options effective, they are also eco-friendly, safe for your family, and pets.

What Smells and Scents Do Stink Bugs Hate?

Stink bugs have certain smells they can’t stand, and you can take advantage of these to further deter them from your home.

Dryer Sheets

Scented dryer sheets work surprisingly well against stink bugs. Wipe down the screens of your windows and doors with these sheets. The smell these dryer sheets emit is detestable to stink bugs, so they’ll do their best to stay away.

Essential Oils

Essential oils, particularly spearmint, clove, lemongrass, ylang-ylang, wintergreen, geranium, and rosemary, are effective at repelling stink bugs. The potent aroma of these oils will deter these pests.

Let’s take a closer into how to effectively use essential oils against stink bugs:

How to use essential oils to deter stink bugs?

There are two common methods to deploy essential oils as a stink bug deterrent:

  1. Cotton Ball Method: Soak a cotton ball with your chosen essential oil and place it near windows, door frames, or any other potential entry points. The strong aroma from the essential oil will help deter stink bugs and even other pests.
  2. Spray Method: Mix 10-15 drops of essential oil with water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution around window frames, doorways, and other possible stink bugs access points. You can also spray the diluted essential oil around areas where you have noticed stink bug activity.

Bonus tip: If you happen to own an essential oil diffuser, you can choose the essential oils that stink bugs dislike and use that too! This method has the added advantage of leaving your home smelling fresh and lovely.

Does lavender repel stink bugs?

Yes, lavender does repel stink bugs. The strong scent of lavender essential oil is found to be extremely deterring to stink bugs, making it an effective natural repellent.

Does citronella repel stink bugs?

Yes, it does. Citronella is widely recognized as a mosquito repellent but it’s equally effective against stink bugs. Use citronella essential oil in the same manner as you would use other oils to keep these unwanted critters at bay.

Using these essential oils not only helps you repel stink bugs but they also leave your home smelling wonderful too! So, choose the scents you enjoy the most and let them work their magic.

How Can Outdoor Maintenance and Plants Deter Stink Bugs?

While the focus is primarily on keeping stink bugs out of your house, maintaining your outdoor space and carefully choosing pest-repelling plants can significantly contribute to managing these pests.

Cleaning up Outside

Your yard can be an invitation for stink bugs and other pests if it’s overgrown and neglected. To get rid of any potential infestations, keep your yard well-groomed and clean. Store firewood away from your home and off the ground. Prune your bushes and trees routinely and remove overgrowth, leaves, and other trimmings.

Planting Pest-Repelling Plants

Some plants, such as catnip, marigold, thyme, rosemary, garlic, lemon grass, radishes, and chrysanthemum, are known for their ability to repel stink bugs. Make these part of your landscaping to create an organic barrier against this pesky insect.

Planting Trap Plants

Another ingenious way of battling stink bugs is to plant trap plants like tomato, sunflower, millet, soybean, buckwheat, and sorghum. These plants lure stink bugs away from your main garden or crops. Once they settle on these trap plants, you can pull them out, bugs and all, contain them in a plastic bag, and leave it in the sun to kill the insects. Dispose of the bag securely afterward.

Using Row Covers

Another effective manner to keep stink bugs and other destructive pests away from your crops is the use of floating row covers. These covers prevent bugs from gaining access to your edible plants, reducing the likelihood of an infestation.

With these outdoor maintenance and gardening tips, you can create a solid first line of defense against the stink bugs and keep your garden pest-free.

How Do Natural Predators Help in Controlling Stink Bugs?

Mother Nature provides her own form of pest control – natural predators. Using these creatures in your quest to reduce or eliminate stink bugs can be an effective solution.

Which Animals are Natural Predators of Stink Bugs?

Little as they might seem, animals such as birds and wasps are known to prey on stink bugs. Cardinals, bluebirds, and wrens enjoy snacking on stink bugs, which turns these birds into your garden allies. Similarly, certain parasitic wasps lay their eggs in stink bug eggs, destroying the developing insects.

How to Attract these Natural Predators?

Attracting these natural predators can effectively help in managing stink bugs. You can plant French marigold, buckwheat, and purple tansy, for instance, which are known to attract parasitic wasps.

Promote a conducive environment for these helpful creatures, and they can greatly aid in your fight against stink bugs.

Can I Use Pesticides and Insecticides Against Stink Bugs?

Though natural methods are typically preferred, there are situations where using pesticides and insecticides against stink bugs is necessary. However, remember to use these products responsibly, considering the effects on pollinators and other beneficial insects.

When is it Appropriate to Consider Using Professional-Grade Insecticide?

If all else fails and you’re dealing with a severe stink bug invasion, it could be time to consider using professional-grade insecticide. These products offer a quick and effective remedy for stubborn infestations. However, remember that they should be your last resort and used sparingly to limit potential harm to the environment and other non-target insects.

What are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Professional-Grade Insecticides?

The primary advantage of using professional-grade insecticides is their effectiveness. They typically work quickly and can deal with large numbers of stink bugs in one application. However, the drawbacks include not being effective once the stink bugs have gain access inside your homes. Once you use it to kill stink bugs, carpet beetles may find the mass grave and make pests of themselves in some areas of your home.

There is also a potential environmental harm and hazards to non-target insects and animals when using insecticides. It can also lead to resistance over time, making them less effective if the exact same product is used repeatedly.

How Should These Insecticides be Applied for Maximum Effectiveness?

When using insecticides, application must be strategic. Outdoor pest control treatment is recommended and should focus on areas where stink bugs may gain access to your home such as cable lines, eaves and soffits, cracks near the foundation, and around doors and windows. Stink bugs can fit through tiny holes or cracks, so each of these locations should be treated according to the product label. Keep in mind, insecticides break down quickly in direct sunlight, so you may need to re-apply every 30 days to sustain effectiveness.

What Precautions Should be Taken to Minimize Negative Effects on Other Insects?

Try to apply pesticides and insecticides in a targeted manner, only where stink bugs are concentrated, to reduce the risk to beneficial insects and other creatures that aren’t harmful. Further, ensure to adhere to all safety guidelines and application instructions provided by the pesticide or insecticide manufacturer to minimize any potential harm.

Are DIY and Homemade Solutions Effective in Repelling Stink Bugs?

Yes, DIY and homemade solutions can indeed be highly effective in repelling stink bugs. From essential oil mixtures to homemade sprays with strong scents, there are plenty of DIY options that you can make at home with readily available ingredients.

What is the Best Stink Bug Repellent?

The ‘best’ stink bug repellent can vary from person to person, depending on several factors such as personal preferences, the severity of the problem, and the available resources. However, a combination of physical barriers, change in household routines, use of natural substances, and in more severe cases a controlled use of insecticides, tends to be effective in handling stink bug infestations.

How to Make Effective Homemade Stink Bug Repellents?

Homemade stink bug repellents can be anything from a garlic spray to a concoction of water and peppermint oil. Simple to create, these sprays can be applied to the exterior of your home or directly on the bugs. In most cases, the strong smell alone is enough to deter these pests. It’s an easy, all-natural solution that can help keep your home stink bug-free.

The key to success with homemade repellents is consistency and regular applications, especially after rainy weather, which can wash away applied solutions.

How Can I Keep Stink Bugs Away?

How to Check for Signs of Stink Bug Infestation Regularly?

Regularly inspecting your home is crucial in catching an infestation before it gets out of hand. Look out for stink bugs on the sunny sides of your home where they like to warm themselves. Also, check under eaves and around window and door frames for stink bugs that might be looking for a way into your home.

Which Methods Have Been Proven to be the Most Effective in Repelling Stink Bugs?

These steps can effectively repel stink bugs:

  • Maintain cleanliness in and around your home.
  • Seal all potential entry points, focusing on doors, windows, and locations where utilities enter the house.
  • Use stink bug traps, either homemade or purchased ones.
  • Regularly apply natural repellents, such as essential oil sprays or garlic spray, outside your home.
  • Cultivate pest-repelling plants that deter stink bugs in your garden.
  • In severe cases, consider using professional-grade insecticides.

By understanding how stink bugs behave and following these proactive steps, you can maintain a comfortable living space free of stink bugs!

Always remember, preventive measures are the most effective way to control any pest, including stink bugs. Start with good home hygiene, proper sealing of entry points, and proactive outdoor maintenance to keep these pesky pests at bay.


Stink bugs may be a smelly nuisance, but with the right strategies and methods, you can effectively banish them from your home and garden. Whether you’re using preventative measures, natural repellents, or considering resorting to insecticides, the goal is a comfortable living space that’s free of pests. By adhering to a meticulous maintenance routine, using nature to your advantage, and tackling issues as soon as they arise, you can keep your home stink bug-free, allowing you to breathe easy, without any unpleasant odors.

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