You've probably seen them crawling on your screens or fluttering around your house. You can't crush them, because they expel a musty scent when frightened, a defensive technique that has earned them their name: stink bugs.
Stink bugs, which have a brown, shield-like body, were first discovered in Allentown, PA, in 2001, according to a report from the University of Maryland. They feed on fruit trees, ornamental plants, vegetables and legumes, and are common throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, especially in the fall.
Although stink bugs are not known to present any harm to humans, according to researchers, they are a major nuisance.
Here are ten ways to get rid of them:
1. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the bugs. (University of Maryland)
2. Cut the top of a half-gallon or gallon jug, fill it with soapy water and use a piece of cardboard or a napkin to whisk the bugs into the water, which will drown them. (University of Maryland)
3. Seal up cracks around windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping. (University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center)
4. Take out window-unit air conditioners; stink bugs can easily get through these. (University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center)
5. Plant or move fruit trees and vegetable gardens, especially tomato plants, away from your home to prevent stink bugs from landing on the exterior of your home. (University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center)
6. Squish stink bugs outdoors--the odor warns other stink bugs to flee. (Bayer Advanced Insect Control)
8. Hang a damp towel outside your home overnight. In the morning, stink bugs will blanket the towel, and you can use a vacuum or knock them into a jug of soapy water to kill them. (Bayer Advanced)
9. Although most insecticides are ineffective against stink bugs, some do work, but the bug must be clearly on the label. Insecticides are never to be used indoors. (University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center)
10. Check your attic for holes or gaps and close them up. Stinkbugs often enter through attics. (University of Maryland Bug Guy Mike Raupp via YouTube)