BMSBs also like to enter the comfy warm attic, so make sure that attic vents are covered with window screen to exclude the smelly pests. Be sure to seal any cracks around window or wall air conditioning units.
If all else fails, there has been some thought that doing a perimeter spray around the home and around common areas of entry on the exterior of the house could assist in deterring stink bugs from entering the home. However, sealing up those areas is much more effective than chemical treatments.
In lab studies, stink bugs have shown susceptibility to the common insecticides cyfluthrin and bifenthrin; however, studies have been incomplete as to whether these work out in the environment. These pesticides can be applied by homeowners or by pest control companies. As is always the recommendation, please read and follow all label directions and wear appropriate protective equipment when applying pesticides.
Once the insects make their way into the house, the best way to remove them is by hand or with a vacuum. For every BMSB you remove from your home, there are more waiting in your walls and attic to take its place. Performing chemical treatments once your home is invaded is not recommended.
Not only are there issues of effectiveness and safety, but creating large numbers of dead stink bugs can cause other problems. Carpet beetles are a common pest that will invade the home to feast upon the dead bodies of other insects. They aren't very desirable house guests either, so I would suggest avoiding setting out a stink bug buffet for them.
Good control in the garden is harder, though the current most effective means is through exclusion. For small plants, use row cover and insect netting to keep the stink bugs away. Cyfluthrin and bifenthrin can be used on ornamental plants but can be used only on select produce plants. You'll have to read the directions of each label to see what you can treat.
In the meantime, homeowners can pass the time by volunteering for the USDA study from the Appalachian Fruit Research Station in the Eastern Panhandle by counting the number of stink bugs in your house daily. If you are interested, call 304-725-3451.
John Porter is the WVU Extension Service agent for agriculture and natural resources in Kanawha County. He may be reached at john.por...@mail.wvu.edu or at 304-720-9573. Twitter: @WVgardenguru.