While you may think these are just a bug that stinks up your house, many growers also need to learn how to get rid of stink bugs in the garden, too.
When it comes time to get rid of stink bugs on plants, you might find yourself relying on all the old tried and true methods, like diatomaceous earth and handpicking.
However, there are only a few truly effective methods to get rid of stink bugs in the garden. Luckily for you, we'll cover them all in-depth on this page.
We'll start by explaining what damage these bugs can do to your plants, along with how to identify them. Then, we'll discuss some prevention tips so you don't end up with an infestation in the first place.
But for those who are dealing with a stink bug infestation in the garden - we'll teach you how to get rid of them fast. Let's start by addressing the first question - what is a stink bug?
What Is A Stink Bug?
Before we can teach you what kills stink bugs or how to get rid of them, we have to answer a few simple questions:
- What is a stink bug?
- What does a stink bug look like?
- What do stink bugs eat?
- What attracts stink bugs?
Commonly found throughout the United States, stink bugs may prove to be frustrating both to gardeners and homeowners alike. If you’ve ever encountered these pests, you’re probably already aware of how they get their noxious name - they really can smell awful!
Stink bugs have a natural defense mechanism that releases an odor to deter predators. They are large and oval-shaped, first introduced to the United States from East Asia in the 1990s. Also referred to as the yellow-brown or East Asian stink bug, these creatures are known scientifically as Halyomorpha halys.
They grow to about ¾” long and are usually light to dark brown in color. They have lighter bands on their antennae and darker bands on the wings, with wings appearing only when the nymphs become adults. In the garden, you’ll usually find stink bugs hiding under stones or boards, beneath mulch, and in clumps of weeds. Since they suck juices from plants, you may also find them hanging out on the plants themselves.
What Attracts Stink Bugs?
Just like any pest you're battling in the garden or grow room, the first step in fighting these buggers is learning what attracts stink bugs. And, like most bugs, stink bugs are attracted to their favorite foods. They will seek out these foods and colonize near a good source.
Unfortunately for you, what attracts stink bugs can sometimes be the very same plants you're growing in your garden. So, what do stink bugs eat?
What Do Stink Bugs Eat?
If you're wondering what do stink bugs eat, the answer may surprise you. Stink bugs are attracted to weeds and grasses as their source of food. Most often, they feed on these green plants most often in the spring. Oh, and if you're wondering what does a stink bug look like - just take a look at the images below.
As they get older, they’ll migrate to orchards and fields. They'll go as far as eating foods like apples, pecans, beans, peppers, tomatoes, berries, peaches, and more.
That said, these bugs are opportunistic plant feeders. They use their mouths to pierce the skin of the plant and will attack just about any kind of plant for food. So, the honest answer to the question - what do think bugs eat? - is anything they can get their little buggy hands on.
What Damage Can Stink Bugs Do In The Garden?
While stink bugs aren't the most common garden pest, they can still wreak havoc in any garden. The females will lay their eggs on any kinds of plants that happen to be around, with both larvae and adults feeding on plant juices. They may even eat the fruits on your plants. Some of their favorites include corn, beans, peppers, tomatoes, and more.
Identifying the damage from these bugs is a crucial step in getting them out of your garden. You’ll likely notice damages such as tiny pinpricks in leaves that are ringed by green or yellow. Just one or two stink bugs in the garden probably won’t prove to be devastating, but when numbers grow larger, that’s when the damage will start to get out of control.
They can almost completely dehydrate a plant, and even if they don’t, their voracious feeding habits can lead to severely stunted growth and a weakening of your plants.
How To Prevent A Stink Bug Infestation In The First Place
Before we teach you how to create a stink bug trap, or teach you what kills stink bugs, we want to explain how you can prevent these pesky buggers in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
When it comes to preventing a stink bug infestation in the garden, there are several steps you can take to reduce the likelihood that these pests will rear their ugly heads in the first place.
One of the easiest is to keep the garden clean and tidy at all times. Remove any nearby weeds or overgrown bits of vegetation. At the end of the growing season, take the time to clean up the garden, removing any old fruits, plant parts, or rotting wood.
In the garden, there are several plants you can grow as trap plants. Trap plants, or decoy plants, will lure stink bugs away from your most prized plants. This technique is known as companion planting, which you can learn all about in our complete guide.
Basically, the stink bugs will leave the plants you actually want to cultivate alone. Instead, they’ll flock to the trap plants and hang out there rather than munching on your favorite edible crops. Some plants you can grow to trap stink bugs include sunflowers, amaranth, and mustard.
Preventing Stink Bugs In A Grow Room
If stink bugs are problematic in your grow room, you need to close up any potential entryways. It's very likely your grow isn't sealed, which creates an increased likelihood of pests. It also decreases your ability to optimize the growing environment, and truly cultivate great plants.
This is why we highly encourage all indoor growers to utilize a grow tent or or better yet, a complete grow tent kit. The latter contains everything you need to start growing indoors, setting you up for success from the jump.
How To Get Rid Of Stink Bugs In The Garden Naturally
Sometimes you can do everything right and still end up with a stink bug infestation in your grow room or garden. Don't worry, because now we're going to teach you how to get rid of stink bugs in the garden.
One of the easiest ways to get rid of stink bugs in a more natural way is to use a natural repellent. Stink bugs will lay their eggs and feed on garden plants. Using a mineral clay solution can help prevent the bugs from laying their eggs and it’s safe for use even on edible plants. This type of stink bug trap works great to keep these annoying critters at bay.
You can also use a pheromone spray to lead stink bugs away. Another natural way to get rid of stink bugs is to attract some of their natural enemies - beneficial bugs.
There are all kinds of insects and other animals that feed on stink bugs, including birds, toads, spiders, ladybug, lacewings, praying mantis, minute pirate bugs, and parasitic flies.
Attract them to the garden (for example, by growing plants they love or putting out birdbaths or other water sources) and your stink bug problem should disappear.
Try Diatomaceous Earth
Using diatomaceous earth is a great natural approach to controlling stink bug outbreaks in the garden.
This product is organic, and you can spray it wherever your problem areas are. It will dry, leaving behind tiny glass-like shards. When stink bugs crawl over these, it cuts them open and dehydrates them.
It needs to be reapplied often, and you may even consider spreading some of this around your grow media, not just the foliage. We have a complete guide on using diatomaceous earth if you want to learn more.
What Kills Stink Bugs In The Garden?
Wondering what kills stink bugs? You're in luck. We've got just the thing for you. There are several products you can use to kill stink bugs in the garden, many of which are completely organic and safe.
Neem oil is one natural option that can be used to get rid of stink bugs. All organic growers should check out our guide on when & how to use neem oil, as it's a powerful, natural pest control solution. A similar product you may want to learn how to use is insecticidal soap.
When it comes to killing stink bugs in the garden quickly and safely, though, a pesticide is your best bet. Look for products that contain pyrethrin. Some that come to mind are:
- Bonide Pyrethrin Garden Spray (Concentrate)
- Fox Farm "Don't Bug Me" Pyrethrin Spray (Ready-To-Use Spray Bottle)
- PyGanic Gardening (OMRI Certified Concentrate)
These are all great options to keep in your arsenal if you are worried about a stink bug infestation in the garden. By the time you have a stink bug infestation, you won't have time to go out and find products. You need to act fast. So, keep a pesticide on hand if you grow the type of plants that attract stink bugs.
Where Do Stink Bugs Lay Their Eggs On Plants?
To eradicate a stink bug infestation, it’s essential that you target both adult stink bugs as well as their eggs. Females lay large quantities of stink bug eggs, depositing them on the underside of plant leaves.
They can lay up to 100 eggs at once, putting them in rows of 12 or more. These eggs are tiny, shaped like pistachios.
You can use a stick to scrape stink bug eggs off the bottoms of leaves. You can also remove the leaf and drop it in insecticidal soap or a bucket of soapy water.
This should kill the eggs immediately and help reduce stink bug populations in your garden.
Final Thoughts On How To Get Rid Of Stink Bugs In The Garden
Now that you know how to get rid of stink bugs in the garden, there’s nothing stopping you! We've explained what kills stink bugs, and how to create natural stink bug traps that can deter a stink bug infestation before it exists.
When you’re armed with the right equipment and the tools you need from Hydrobuilder, you’ll have everything you need for a successful and pest-free growing season. Get started today - and get rid of those stink bugs for good. You have plants to grow!