If You See This Bug in Your Home, Don't Step on It, Experts Warn

You need to get rid of this insect precisely to avoid making it release an odor.

When you see a creepy crawler in your home, your first instinct might be to squish it. However, experts warn that this isn't the right move for every insect. There is one bug in particular that experts say you should resist the urge to step on. To remove this insect from your home, you need to follow specific instructions—otherwise, the situation could quickly get worse. Read on to find out which bug you should avoid smushing, and for more unpleasant scents, If You Smell This in Your Home, You Might Have Termites, Experts Say.

Don't step on stink bugs.

Stink bug on wooden deck
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Stink bugs are light brown oval or shield-shaped insects that reach up to about 2 centimeters in length, with three legs on each side. Experts warn that you shouldn't step on a stink bug because—in living up to their name—they can stink up your home. "Avoid squishing stink bugs at all costs, as they tend to release a very pungent odor," says Zachary Smith, president of Smith's Pest Management. And even if you don't step on them, just making them feel threatened can also lead them to release a stinky scent.

Experts at Paul's Pest Control Melbourne offer similar advice. "You have to be careful!" they caution. Stink bugs "release their foul smell when they feel threatened or get squashed. That means you need to resort to pesticides to kill them—don't just step on them or use force." And for more insects you can spot by smell, If You Smell This in Your Bedroom, You Might Have Bed Bugs.

There are a few ways to get rid of stink bugs without provoking the smell.

young man vacuuming carpet
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To avoid frightening stink bugs, which results in that unpleasant odor, you need to get rid of them carefully. According to Smith, the best way to get rid of them "is to vacuum them up if they're already in your home," and then promptly dispose of the vacuum bag afterward in a garbage can outside.

The experts at Paul's Pest Control suggest creating a spray made of equal parts dish soap, vinegar, and water. You can spray this on stink bugs to kill them without startling them first, but it tends to take about 30 to 40 minutes. They also say you can try to catch stink bugs in a container with a lid, and release them far from your home. However, this tactic could prove challenging since they can fly, and you risk startling them in the process. And for an infestation on the horizon, If You See This in Your Yard, Prepare for a Bug Invasion, USDA Says.

You should try to prevent more stink bugs from entering your home.

Sealing holes in house
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If you've noticed that a couple of stink bugs have made their way into your home, you should take some preventative measures, so you don't have to deal with more. Smith recommends homeowners "seal off entry points in the house where there are cracks and holes, such as behind chimneys or around your siding." Pest expert Natalie Barrett also suggests using scented essential oils that repel stink bugs, such as mint. "It won't kill them, but it will definitely keep them away," she says. And for more useful information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

If the problem persists, you should call an exterminator.

exterminator spraying window
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If plugging up all the holes in your home and using essential oils don't help keep stink bugs from finding their way indoors, it's likely time to call an exterminator. "A professional will pinpoint the root of the problem and create a plan to effectively eradicate stink bugs from your home," Smith says. If you wait too long to contact an exterminator, the infestation could get worse and harder to control. And for more insects that require an intervention, These Awful Bugs You Forgot About May Soon Come Back, Exterminators Warn.

Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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