How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

This is how to get rid of stink bugs with cloves, plus a handful of other natural methods. You'll have a bug-free home before long!

By the time fall comes around, everyone I know has had it with bugs. This was one of the worst summers I can remember in terms of mosquito activity where I live, so I’m ready for our first frost to come and rid the Midwest of bugs.

But even with the cool weather, certain bugs like to linger. If you notice some gathered on screen windows and porches, with flat, brown or grayish bodies and prominent antennas—those are stink bugs. Not exactly what you want around your house! But don’t panic yet. We’ve got a DIY trick that will keep stink bugs away for good.

Is your kitchen in need of pest control, too? Here’s our guide to wiping out pantry pests.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

If you swat or step on a stink bug, this insect will release a nasty odor. Instead, take matters into your hands in a less violent way.

Like other insects and animals, stink bugs are repulsed by strong smells. You’ve learned how to rid your house of flies with strong-scented soap, but for stink bugs, try cloves.

Sprinkle a handful of whole cloves on windowsills in your home, or, if the problem is extreme, purchase clove oil to spray around windows and doors outside. While the whole cloves will repel and prevent stink bugs, clove oil will kill them off. Keep in mind, though, that clove oil can be toxic to even beneficial insects, so consider dried cloves first, or use clove oil sparingly.

Trying to get rid of other pests? A bag of pennies in water might keep flies away.

More Ways to Keep Your Home Bug-free

Don’t want to use cloves or clove oil? Not a problem. There’s more than one way to get rid of stink bugs. But first, assess how bad the insect invasion is. If needed, call a pest control professional to help evaluate your situation, and they’ll start you in the right direction. Otherwise, check out the following tips:

Properly seal your home. If the stink bug problem has made its way inside your house, identify the area of entry. Once the area, or areas, are identified, seal them up with caulk, or replace window screens as needed. Make sure to check places like doors, windows, siding and chimneys. This might need to be done with professional help.

Use other natural repellents. Mint is a popular essential oil used to repel insects. Most bugs, including stink bugs, can’t stand the smell, so a few sprays around your windows should do the trick. Plus, it’ll keep your home smelling fresh. Another natural repellent you can try is garlic. Though it doesn’t have a clean scent, it’s strong enough to keep stink bugs at bay. Crush up a few cloves of fresh garlic and leave them in a tray on your windowsill.

Consider using food-grade diatomaceous earth. Farmers’ Almanac suggests sprinkling a trail of diatomaceous earth across windowsills and entry points. The substance is essentially the fossilized remains of phytoplankton in the form of a white, chalky powder, and it’s a strong bug killer. This will kill any bug with an exoskeleton, so if you want to keep beneficial insects around, opt for a different strategy. And make sure to purchase the food-grade stuff so it’s considered non-toxic for humans and pets.

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Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.