How To Kill Stink Bugs Like A Pro, Without The Stink

  • Written By: Phil Hawes
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Love them or hate them, stink bugs are here to stay. While they may be relatively harmless, their presence can be irritating. When you accidentally squash one of these critters they make sure you know about it, which can be unpleasant for kids and pets too.

If you’re looking for ways to get rid of these pests without the stench, keep reading. We’ll share some tips on how to kill stink bugs (when needed) quickly and easily.

This Is What Stink Bugs Actually Smell Like

So, just in case you weren’t 100% sure, this is what a stink bug looks like:

The worst thing in the world is to absent-mindedly squish a stink bug and then be suddenly struck by a dreadful stench and not know where it came from.

If you are rushing to open the windows or find an air freshener, you may be wondering what exactly is making that smell. Is it a ruptured septic tank? A sullen skunk? Or indeed a stink bug?

Stink bug’s smell is described as being like a combination of grass and rotting vegetation as well as being woody or even oily. Cilantro is often the odor that most people can identify and the same compound found in the herb is within a stink bug’s genetic makeup. Others don’t even register the smell.

Ultimately the smell seems to be very subjective but for the most part highly undesirable. You can easily distinguish a stink bug from a skunk, for example, as the latter emits a thiol-based spray that smells like rotten eggs.

When stink bugs are threatened or crushed, they release a gas called thiophene (which is responsible for the smell). This gas is really designed to ward off predators and this is why it can be so unpleasant for humans.

Thankfully, the smell will naturally dissipate in a few hours. However, if you’ve accidentally squashed a stink bug in your home or it’s gotten on the skin of you, your kids, or your pets then you may want to read the next paragraph.

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How to get rid of stink bug stench quick

As I said before, the smell you are experiencing from this pesky pest will probably be gone in a few hours. If you have to walk around with that smell on you, then it’s a different story. So, let’s talk about a few things you can do right now and also some things you can prepare in the future.

Quick Stink bug smell removers

How to get rid of stink bug stench quick

After asking around, I discovered two really simple remedies to this problem that you can use right now as you probably already have the ingredients to hand.

Use lemon or peppermint for stink bug odor – If you have a lemon or some peppermint (either extract or at a pinch in the form of tea) you can use that to soak a cotton ball in and then dab at the source of the smell.

Just leave it in contact with the affected zone for a few minutes and you’ll soon replace the unpleasant smell with a much nicer one.

Use coffee for stink bug odor – Coffee grounds are actually a great way to get rid of a lot of smells, and as I found out, especially stink bug odors. Using spent coffee seems to be more effective (according to this study) for absorbing odors from the air, while even fresh coffee can be used to reduce smells on the skin.

You can also try using coffee grounds, fresh or spent, around the house to absorb unwanted smells.

Anti-Stink bug Products you should stock the house with

It’s always a good idea to have a powerful yet gentle air freshener on hand for stink bug season (Usually March through September). You can buy this anywhere, but you might want to consider opting for a sustainable product that doesn’t overly damage your health or that of the planet.

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Another great product to keep your air fresh and odor-free are these charcoal bags with a little hint of coconut. They can certainly help reduce the stench of a stink bug but also just keep your home smelling sweet.

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One final product you can consider if you suffer from an outbreak of stink bugs and other odor-carrying pests is a complete air filtering device. These come in many different designs, but I quite liked the PuroAir design as it’s sleek and effective.

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How to get rid of stink bugs in the home

How to get rid of stink bugs in the home

When it’s the height of stink but season, you may start seeing a lot of these pests around and in your house. When they start taking up residence in your home, you need to act quickly.

Stink bugs can be difficult to get rid of once they have infested a home. Frankly, they prefer your house to the outside. They are attracted to warmth and light, so they are often found near windows and doors.

So your first step in getting rid of stink bugs is to start by sealing any cracks or openings around your home where they might be able to enter. This might mean replacing any broken screens or damaged window seals.

In addition to that, some of the best methods you can incorporate to get rid of the stink bugs include:

Anti-stink bug trick #1 – Ventilate

It is essential to ventilate your home as much as possible if you want to get rid of stink bugs. Open all doors and windows (ideally keeping insect screens closed), turn on any fans, and use a dehumidifier if needed. The stink bugs are attracted to moist places, so by reducing the humidity in your home, you will make it less inviting for them.

Anti-stink bug trick #2 – Use a Stink Bug Trap

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You can make your own stink bug trap or purchase one online or at a hardware store. These traps work by luring the stink bugs in with a light and then trapping them.

To make your own trap, you will need a container, such as a coffee can, and some sort of bait, like overripe fruit. Cut a hole in the lid of the container and then suspend the bait inside on a string or wire. The stink bugs will be attracted to the bait and crawl into the container, but they will not be able to get back out.

Anti-stink bug trick #3 – Clean Up

One of the best ways to prevent stink bugs from infesting your home is to keep it clean. They are attracted to clutter and debris, so by decluttering your home and keeping it clean, you will make it less inviting for them. Vacuum regularly and sweep and mop floors often. In addition, take out the trash regularly and store food in sealed containers. This will also help you combat other pests such as ants, flies, and cockroaches.

Anti-stink bug trick #4 -Make use of a Vacuum Cleaner

If you have a vacuum cleaner at home, you can also use it to get rid of stink bugs. Just make sure that you empty the vacuum bag after each use to prevent the bugs from crawling back out. You can also add a little bit of insecticide to the bag to kill the bugs outright.

In fact, a vacuum is a powerful home anti-pest device and you can use it against flea infestations as well as against pesky cockroaches (if you can catch them!).

Anti-stink bug trick #5 – Use Insecticides

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If you have a severe stink bug infestation, you may need to use insecticides. There are a variety of insecticides that are effective against stink bugs, but be sure to read the label carefully and follow the directions.

I would highly recommend that you opt for a pesticide specifically designed for indoor use as many backyard pesticides may not be safe to use indoors.

You should also take precautions to avoid exposing yourself or your family to the insecticide. Wear gloves and a mask when using it and be sure to keep children and pets away from the area.

Ultimately, you may also want to consider hiring a professional exterminator if the infestation is severe. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and to solve the problem more quickly.

The easy way to kill a stink bug without it stinking

The key thing to remember, as I’m sure you know from experience, is that a stink bug will stink to high heaven when it is squished or knows it’s about to be squished.

So, in order to kill them without having to suffer the unpleasant smell, you need to quickly capture them and allow them to die whole.

By far the easiest and most cost-effective way to do this is to drown these pesky pests in a cup of soapy water. this is a tried and tested solution to the stink bug dilemma.

All you need to do is fill up a tall glass or container with warm bubbly soapy water and quickly knock stink bugs into it. They won’t be able to crawl out and eventually will drown, which won’t result in the awful smell.

There are a few other ways you can also try to kill stink bugs without them stinking. One way is to freeze them. Put the bugs in a plastic bag and then put them in the freezer for a few hours. This will kill them without causing them to release their odor.

Another way is to vacuum them up. Just be sure to empty the vacuum bag after each use to prevent the bugs from crawling back out. You can also add a little bit of insecticide to the bag to kill the bugs.

What attracts stink bugs in your house

What attracts stink bugs in your house

Once you have killed the latest batch of intruding stink bugs, you may want to know how you can stop them from coming back again. By understanding what it is these pests love about our homes we can all be better prepared to repel them in the future.

Stink bugs love plants

There are a few things that can attract stink bugs to your house. One is if you have a lot of plants or fruits in your garden. Obviously, before they can get into your home, they get into your backyard. Now, an extreme option is to opt for backyard landscaping that completely eradicates any plant life, but that’s not going to work for everyone. Instead, you can try introducing some plants that will put these bugs (and some other pests) off.

Some plants that stink bugs seem to hate are:

  • Garlic
  • Radishes
  • Catnip
  • Lavender
  • Thyme
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Marigold


Stink bugs love light

Again, these critters need to find your home somehow and light seems to be a major factor. As will many other pests such as mosquitos and moths, you want to keep your outdoor lighting to a minimum (especially when you’re indoors) and try to employ drapes or blinds for lighting in the house.

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If you plan to party outside, then do consider getting yourself a decent bug zapper that will attract the stink bugs (and other flying pests) towards it and away from your humble abode.

Stink bugs love that clutter

After doing a bit of research I found out that clutter or household debris (such as crumbs and dirty laundry) can be very attractive to many types of pests. Stink bugs are no exception. They are attracted to this sort of mess, so by decluttering your home and keeping it clean, you will make it less inviting for them.

In addition to this, remove their food source

Stink bugs feed on plants and fruit

When dealing with a pest, the best option is to disable their preferred habitat and remove their food and water source. For stink bugs, that means not having any tasty plants in the house and/or bringing in some of those plants they don’t like.

You should also make sure that you don’t leave out any fruit in presentation bowls that the stink bugs can chow down on.

Do killing stink bugs attract more?

There is no real consensus on whether or not killing stink bugs attracts more of them. Some people believe that the act of squishing a stink bug releases a pheromone that attracts other stink bugs, while others believe that there is no evidence to support this claim.

In any case, if you are dealing with a stink bug infestation, it is probably best to try to remove them from your home without killing them, as this will at least reduce the number of stink bugs that you have to deal with.

How to get rid of stink bugs in the garden

Stink bugs are attracted to the garden due to the presence of plants and fruits. To get rid of them, you can start by removing any overripe fruits or vegetables from the garden. This will remove the food source that is attracting them to the area.

Again consider introducing some of the plants listed below:

  • Garlic
  • Radishes
  • Catnip
  • Lavender
  • Thyme
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Marigold

You can also try using a stink bug trap day and night.

Can stink bugs hurt you (do they bite)?

There is little to fear from these pests as stink bugs do not bite. However, because they release thiophene a gas used to ward off predators, they can cause a real stink and make you wish they had just bitten you instead.


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