As the temperature begins to drop, you may see more bugs than usual in your home. One of those insects that loves to invade your space in early autumn? Bedbugs.
We are not talking about any However, it smells bad. Stinky brown bed bugs, identified by their large size and the marble pattern on their backs, are particularly problematic for homeowners (especially in parts of the east coast and the midwestern states). While they won't bite you or harm you, they can be a big nuisance.
Most bedbugs are actually herbivores, so they prefer to feed on plants, fruits, nuts and seeds. And while that's good news for you, it's not ideal if you have a backyard garden or grow crops. "(Stinky insects) can cost millions of dollars in damage, particularly in fruit crops, such as apples, peaches and pears," says Michael J. Raupp, PhD, professor of entomology at the University of Maryland and creator of Bug of the Week "They will damage tomatoes, berries, so in home gardens, vegetables and fruits can be important pests."
In addition, they like to congregate in really large quantities and emit an unusual smell (usually when they feel threatened), says Raupp, so dealing with them can become a difficult task if you have a considerable infestation in your hands.
Still, there are some simple steps you can take to address the problem on your own. Here, entomologists (also known as error experts) explain how to get rid of smelly insects and keep them away from home.
How to get rid of stinky insects
✔️ Step 1: catch the stinky insects.
You may be tempted to look for some type of spray or pesticide to catch and kill stinky insects, but all the entomologists we talked to say these products are not worth it. "We do not recommend aerosols for annoying household pests, such as bed bugs or ladybugs, since there is no specific area to apply these chemicals, and the likelihood of insects coming into contact with the chemical is unpredictable," Matthew explains. Bertone, PhD, entomologist and director of the Plant Diseases and Insects Clinic at North Carolina State University.
"From my experience, all products will be equally mediocre to stop them," adds Michael Waldvogel, PhD, an entomologist who specializes in the management of structural and industrial pests at North Carolina State University. He emphasizes that pesticides used in many bed bug sprays can potentially cause safety problems when they are sprayed inside or outside the house (especially if you have children or pets running).
The best way to catch stinky insects? Simply use your vacuum to absorb them if they are present in large quantities, Raupp and Bertone suggest. If you are only dealing with a couple and do not want to touch them, you can make a "trap" with a bottle of water by cutting the top, turning it inside the bottle and creating a funnel to pick them up (see how to do it in the video above) .
✔️ Step 2: discard bed bugs.
Once you catch them, you can finally get rid of stinky bugs. As tempting as it may be, flushing them down the toilet is a big waste of water, says Raupp, and there are greener ways to get rid of them.
If you have only a few, you can simply throw them in a plastic bag with a tight seal and put them in the freezer. After that, you can return the stinky insects to the environment or dump them in a compost pile, says Raupp.
If the idea of insects in your refrigerator scares you or you have a lot of them, throw them in a bucket of soapy water, which will drown them and kill them.
✔️ Step 3: Keep stinky bugs away.
There are commercial traps for stinky insects that you can place in your garden to keep pests away from your fruits and vegetables, and trap and kill a large number of them. However, Raupp admits that there is not a great deal of scientific evidence to prove that they really prevent bed bugs from entering your home.
Stink bugs like to enter through loose liners, vents, window and door cracks and under blinds. They will be more attracted to the attic in early fall (since the area is cool during their hibernation period) and will start down the stairs as they try to leave in February and March, says Raupp. Therefore, your best option is to perform some simple updates to ensure that each entry point, such as openings, cracks or holes, is repaired and sealed.
This will not only prevent bad odors, but also save dollars on your utility bills. "Anything that is really good for energy conservation will be really good for the exclusion of bedbugs," says Raupp, including the following solutions:
Seal cracks, crevices and any openings around utility boxes, windows, screens or vents with putty or foam sealant.
Insulate windows and doors with weatherproof foam tape.
Place screens on vents and drag spaces.
Cover your air conditioner if you have a window unit and caulk around cracks and crevices.
Invest in door sweeps or stops for any entrance that leads to the outside.
TITEFOAM insulating foam sealant
Weatherproof foam tape for doors and windows
Window air conditioning cover
Door pull stop under the door seal
You can also contact a pest management service for additional assistance if you have trouble controlling the problem on your own. While professionals can definitely decrease the number of bed bugs on their property, there is still no guarantee that they can prevent them from invading your home completely without taking preventive measures, says Waldvogel.
"It's a matter of how much insects bother you," he adds. "Shorter days and colder temperatures will stop outdoor activity over time."
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Alisa Hrustic Health Editor, Prevention.com Alisa Hrustic has spent her entire career interviewing the best medical experts, interpreting peer-reviewed studies and informing about health, nutrition, weight loss and fitness trends for media such as Women & # 39; s Health and Men's Health, where he worked and worked full time.