Household pests: Six easy ways to de-bug your home
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These South-east Asian bugs are new to the UK, having been confirmed by scientists in 2020 when the invasive insect was discovered in the gardens of the Natural History Museum, according to The Guardian. Their migration from garden to home is pending as the temperature drops, but getting rid of these creepy-crawly guests is not easy. With these easy steps, you might just have a shot at keeping your home stink bug-free this winter.
Are stink bugs harmful?
These common pests are known to damage fruit and vegetables – such as apples, pears, peaches, tomatoes and sweetcorn – by piercing the surface and sucking on the natural fruit juices of your precious crops.
Stink bugs make their presence known in your garden by leaving rotting spots and blemishes on the surface of fruits and vegetables – making some inedible.
While these strange bugs may damage your fruit, they are unlikely to impact your health if you eat the fruit upon which they feast.
They are generally not dangerous as they are not known to bite or sting and pose very little threat to humans or pets.
What attracts stink bugs in your house?
Known as an invasive visitor to the US, the stink bug has posed a threat to crops and properties across America since 1998, and is now threatening homes and gardens across Britain too.
The warmth of your home is an enticing environment for these pests throughout the winter, where they will bury into the nooks and crannies of your walls through the colder months.
Check around doors and windows to find huddles of these invasive pests, which is where they tend to cluster and leave droppings.
You could find these bugs almost anywhere once they’ve made their way into your home, so beware that they might just drop from the ceiling or be found hanging around lights and houseplants.
How do I get rid of stink bugs?
Keeping stink bugs out of your property is essential. Not just to avoid nasty pests wandering the rooms of your home, but to avoid the nasty scent which they are renowned for releasing when threatened.
It may seem tempting to squish clusters of stink bugs you see in your home, but if you want to avoid the foul odour that lingers long after they’re gone, it’s best not to.
The Natural History Museum’s Max Barclay says that if you try to sweep them away, they will produce unpleasant-smelling oils, which will stain the furniture and can be hard to remove if it gets on your hands.
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Sweep them away
Sweeping a cluster of stink bugs in a rapid motion is a sure-fire way to get rid of these pests and keep your home odour-free.
These bugs may have wings but they are not very fast or agile so if you’re quick, you can sweep them up using a dustpan and brush and release them outside.
Make sure you empty them a decent distance from any entrances to your home to avoid an unexpected return.
Flush them away
If you notice a stink bug on the move, sweep them up or capture it using a piece of paper to guide it towards the bathroom.
Quickly throw the stinkbug into the toilet bowl and flush instantly – you could add some bleach before flushing to prevent any odour but generally you shouldn’t have to worry about the bad smell using this method.
These invasive bugs can’t swim, so drowning is an effective disposal method which will keep them from activating the odour.
Set sticky traps
One way to get rid of stink bugs is by helping them to stick around.
If you notice large amounts of these annoying bugs gathering in certain areas of your home, set sticky notes or lay some double sided tape on a scrap of paper ready to catch any new ones after banishing the existing group.
Another way to drown them is with a mixture of soap and water.
Drowning stink bugs is effective because they are slow-moving creatures.
If the toilet bowl is too far from the huddle of stink bugs in your home, set a soapy water trap in their spot of choice to capture the bugs overnight.
Set a nightlight or leave a lamp near the spot and lay a container filled with soapy water below it, with the light shining down on it.
Leave overnight and dispose of the trap in the morning, repeating as necessary.
Removing stink bugs from your home by vacuuming may seem like a smart move, but there’s one reason why you should avoid vacuuming these creepy crawlies at all costs.
The quick sucking motion of your trusty vacuum will rid your property of these clustering bugs instantly, but their scent may release inside the vacuum bag.
While you can successfully remove them this way, clearing a hoover bag of their iconic skunk-like odour is much more difficult than airing out your home.
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