How To: Get Rid of Stink Bugs Without Using Pesticides

Get Rid of Stink Bugs Without Using Pesticides

Halyomorpha halys, squash bug, shield bug ... What's in a name? A pest is a pest and the brown marmorated stink bug is a pest par excellence. Though some home gardeners are content to use insecticides, you'll find that it's generally easier to work with nature than against it. And let's face it: trading noxious bugs for noxious chemicals isn't much of a victory. Particularly if you're growing food.

Step 1 Know your enemy.

Adult stink bugs are approximately 5/8" long, roughly the size of a human thumbnail, and typically brown or gray in color. They are slow-moving and fare best in warm, humid weather.

What sort of plants do stink bugs favor?How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs Without Using Pesticides

  • Bean plants
  • Okra
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Tomatoes

Their dislikes? 

  • Catnip 
  • Garlic 
  • Lavender 
  • Mint
  • Radishes 
  • Thyme

One way to control stink bugs, then, is to plant less of the former and more of the latter.

Step 2 Weed your garden.

Want to uproot a stink b,ug colony? Uproot your weeds. While weeding your garden won't necessarily solve a stink bug infestation by itself, it will give the bugs fewer places to hide, making the problem easier to manage.

Step 3 Use kaolinite.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs Without Using Pesticides

Harmless to plants, kaolinite is a clay mineral that makes it impossible for stink bugs to lay their eggs. Kaolin clay is inexpensive and can be bought at most garden supply stores.

Step 4 Make a sticky coffee can trap.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs Without Using PesticidesIn his article, An Organic Way to Get Rid of Stink Bugs, Michael C. Podlesny of Average Person Gardening offers the following tip: 

[Let's say stink bugs have] found their way into your squash crop. If that happens, roll your sleeves up, put on some gardening gloves, grab yourself a coffee can and a lid, and some honey, syrup or molasses (something sticky) and let's get to work.

Your first step is to coat the bottom and the sides of your coffee can with something sticky. Syrup, molasses or honey works well. You will see in a moment as to why we do this.

With sticky coated coffee can in hand (don't forget the lid), put on your gardening gloves, and take a walk over to the area where the stink bugs live. Remember they won't harm you. Now start flicking the bugs into your coffee can. The sticky substance will help keep them in the can. Just keep taking them off the leaves and putting them into the can. Don't forget to look on the underside of the leaves. That is where the egg sacks are. You need to get rid of them as well, otherwise the problem will continue.

Once you have all of the bugs in the can, put the airtight lid on and place in an area where the sun will shine on it. I think it goes without saying what will happen to the bugs inside the can. Now all you have to do is stay on top of them by checking the plants every other day and repeating this process. If you do this you will get rid of these bugs and their destructive nature form your crops.

Have your own tips for controlling stink bugs? Share them below!

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