What Attracts Stink Bugs? (Surprising findings…)

When the number on the thermometer sinks and the days grow shorter, your home becomes a breeding ground for stink bugs.

These intricately-patterned, brown insects will burrow their shield-shaped bodies into any entry point they can find in order to meet a few key needs of theirs during the brutal winter season. 

But what are these needs, exactly?

Keep reading to find out!

what attracts stink bugs

How Do You Attract Stink Bugs?

The most surefire way to attract a stink bug (or thousand) is to own a home with warm air circulating through it.

That's it...

These little guys will find a way through even the smallest crevices to escape the dwindling temperatures of winter, and your home may be the ideal target.

Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your stink bug problem?

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Stink Bug Hate The Cold!

One characteristic of the brown marmorated stink bug (its full name) is that this is an overwintering insect.

This means that this species depends on being able to find a safe, comfortable, and warm place to call home during the iciest and coldest months of winter. This is actually the main reason that stink bugs come into a person's home: to seek refuge from the elements.

what attracts stink bugs facts

What is Stink Bug Diapause?

In order to survive the harsh drop in temperatures—even if the stink bugs find a crawl space or an attic to overwinter—they'll still need to do a little something extra if they want to survive the cold.

This is where the biological phenomenon called "diapause" comes in.

Never heard of it?

Think of diapause a bit like an insect hibernation period: the insects go into a sort of comatose state and forgo eating, subsisting off of stored body fat instead.

Their metabolic rate decreases substantially, to around 1/10 of its usual rate. During this time, the insect is just barely alive—it is, quite literally, as it someone hit the "pause" button on the insect's life!

When spring arrives once again and the temperature warms up, the insects emerge from diapause, ready to return to normal life.

Here's a quick video that goes into a bit more detail about diapause and how it helps stink bugs (among other insects) survive a harsh winter. 

Pheromones Cause Additional Stink Bugs

Chances are that you'll never see just one stink bug.

These insects travel in swarms of hundreds, and once an appropriate overwintering shelter has been located, a stink bug will release what's called an aggregation pheromone.  This pheromone signals to other stink bugs that a refuge has been found, and to fly over immediately. 

What's interesting about the aggregation pheromone is that it's a spray of its own kind—it's neither the pheromone sex attractant used to locate a mate, nor is it the telltale "stink" for which these insects are so notorious. 

Fruits and Vegetables Also Attract Stink Bugs...

Think about the landscape of your kitchen right now. It's not uncommon to keep your fruits out on the countertop to ripen in a bowl, right?

If you're like a lot of people, you probably have a couple of exposed fruits and veggies sitting out in the open, waiting for the right moment to be eaten.

We all know that when you're not properly storing your food and beverages, you're inviting a whole host of pests and nuisance animals into your home. Naturally, it's no stretch of the imagination to read that stink bugs will gladly munch on all the food they can access. 

Stink bugs subsist on plant sap using their mouth parts, which are shaped like needles. These insects are notorious for decimating crops in droves, and they'll do the same in your kitchen to any produce left out. 

Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your stink bug problem?

Click here to check out our exterminator search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) exterminators in your local area.

(Process takes about 30 seconds)

The Main Takeaway About Stink Bugs

Stink bugs can swarm in, quite literally, overnight and overtake a person's home.

In taking steps to understand why these insects choose a particular place over another, you can begin to combat them in your own home.

In our guide, we outlined what lures a stink bug into a home, and what factors drive the stink bug the stick around for a while. Use this information to your advantage if you have a stink bug problem in the future, and don't let your home swarm with these uninvited guests all winter!

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