The lovely scent of lavender can repel stink bugs. If you've never dealt with these smelly creatures, they are unpleasant to look at and release a nasty odor when they feel threatened or are crushed. The pungent stench has been compared to burnt tires, ammonia and skunk. Some people think it smells oily, woody or like cilantro. These bugs are appropriately named, and there are clever methods for keeping them at bay.
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What Do Stink Bugs Hate?
Stink bugs live in the eastern half of the United States plus states like Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington. The common brown marmorated species is 3/4 of an inch long, with a shieldlike or triangular shape, a mottled gray-brown color, six legs and antennae. Those legs are thin and long, and the adults also have wings. The nymphs don't have fully developed wings and are yellow or white with red eyes. Other stink bugs can be dull green, deep brown and smaller.
People often don't know that they have a stink bug infestation until they find many live and dead ones inside their home and in their garden. Fortunately, these bugs don't cause structural damage, but they pose threats to plants and crops. The good news is that they are susceptible to other smells. What keeps stink bugs away? They hate the smell of lavender, lemongrass, spearmint, clove and other things.
Keep Stink Bugs Away
You can make a homemade stink bug repellent and killer by mixing one part each of water, dish soap and lavender oil. The soap helps kill them off, and the oil keeps other stink bugs from coming around. Pour this homemade repellent into a spray bottle and shake well. You can spray this in your home and onto plants. You can also try using spearmint oil or mint. However, if you don't add the dish soap, these sprays will act only as repellents.
Stink bugs also dislike garlic, so you can make a spray with this or just leave whole cloves in areas where you see stink bugs. They also avoid certain kinds of plants and herbs. Plants that repel stink bugs include mint, catnip, lavender, thyme and radishes. Remember that they are attracted to things that are the color yellow and are often found congregating on sunflowers and certain varieties of marigolds.
Other Ways to Repel Stink Bugs
Stink bugs are also drawn to weeds, so keeping on top of your weeding will also decrease the possibility of a stink bug infestation. Simply mowing down the weeds won't solve the problem because the bugs will move out temporarily and then return. If you see these bugs on your plants, spray them with a strong spray of water immediately and follow up with your essential oil spray, with or without dish soap.
Inside your home, vacuum and dust regularly and check for any live or dead stink bugs. Check outside entryways every few months to see if there are any cracks where bugs can get in and seal them with expandable foam or caulk. Stink bugs also make nests in the linings of windows and doors, so you should seal these as well. Also, check your fireplace for openings, repair torn window screens and vents and secure crawl spaces and attics.