Stink bugs are waking up from winter and here's how to murder them properly (PHOTOS)

Apr 15 2023, 12:00 am

Ah, springtime! While it’s great to open your doors and windows to let in fresh air, you might also be welcoming some unwanted guests into your home.

And no, we aren’t talking about your neighbour with a favour to ask.

Stink bugs have been showing up all across the region — and when it comes to undesirable creepy crawly bugs, we’d say these pests are among the worst.

This invasive species — about the size of a fingernail — has made headlines in recent years, with disgusting little antennas and weird angular backs, as they suddenly descended on everything and everyone.

stink bug

Brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) are an invasive insect native to East Asia and were first detected in BC in 2015. Dr. Nick Wong

We couldn’t escape. Until winter that is.

“Like many insects, stink bugs escape the cold by overwintering in a process called diapause, similar to hibernation. They seek out cool, dry wooden structures to spend the winter in,” Dr. Nick Wong with the Invasive Species Council of BC told Daily Hive.

stink bug

They can closely resemble native brown stink bugs but you can tell them apart by the white bands on their antennae, white bands on their legs, and smooth pronotum aka shoulders. (Yonathan Uriel)

“They usually opt for dead trees but they are happy to hunker down in peopleā€™s homes, vehicles, and woodpiles, too. As we move into spring, warming temperatures and longer days trigger stink bugs to ‘wake up’ and emerge from overwintering,ā€ Wong said.

What should you do if they make it inside your home?

Because these pests are not your run-of-the-mill wasps, mosquitos, or flies. They cannot be killed.

Okay, that’s dramatic, they can be killed and should be, but not in your usual ways.

You shouldn’t squish these bugs because they release an odour when they feel threatened as a defense mechanism. That foul smell then attracts OTHER stink bugs to their funeral. Even if you squish them and dispose of the evidence, the odour could linger.

stink bug

An example of what not to do. Daily Hive

So when it comes to the most ideal method of murder, the experts — like Camille Morales who is an Invasive Species Ambassador — suggest drowning.

“It’s best to vacuum or sweep them up and empty them into a dish of soapy water before disposal. You can also create a stink bug trap by filling a shallow pan with soapy water and placing a desk lamp above it where its warmth will act as a lure,” Morales said.

And for those who prefer a less bloody route, you should think twice.

Unlike spiders who benefit from a simple cup and paper removal, you shouldn’t re-release these bugs. While there are some native stink bugs to BC, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is not. It’s from East Asia, and only arrived in BC a few years ago and as such is running unchecked by predators.

So you must be brave, and ruthless. And that means keeping them under cups in your living room for weeks, is not the best option.

Stink bug

Daily Hive

Not only will they release their odor because they are stressed about their prison, and make a very annoying buzzing noise, but they won’t die quickly.

Stink bug

Daily Hive

ā€œFrom personal experience, stink bugs can live in a jar for at least a few weeks. During diapause in winter months, BMSB can go without eating and stay in the same place for long periods of time. However, itā€™s best to dispose of BMSB when you come across them,ā€ Morales said.

Once the deed is done, however, make sure you report it to the province.

For more information head to the council’s website.

Claire FentonClaire Fenton

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