Apartment Living

Stink Bug 101: What You Need to Know


As you are fully aware, the stink bugs are back. Seeing that Vulcan Village is located in Western Pennsylvania and the buildings are flanked by plenty of woodland area, we are an attractive location for these insects to settle down for the upcoming winter. We understand that there is a lot of frustration with these bugs being around so we wanted to provide you with some information to better understand the “stink bug” situation.


1. THEY ARE AN INVASIVE SPECIES – The brown marmotted stink bug is an invasive species that came to the United States (Allentown, PA to be specific) only since the late 1990’s. They have made their way across Pennsylvania and elsewhere throughout the country. They are simply going to be an annoying fact of life now during the fall months for all of us.

2. THEY DO NOT BITE OR STING – While they are annoying, they do not bite or sting. In fact, their mouth parts are incapable of doing so. Additionally, they do not and cannot chew through window screens. They cause harm to apple crops and other produce, but not to humans or pets.

3. THERE IS NO MAGIC BULLET TO GET RID OF THEM – Unfortunately, there is not a “quick fix” in order to get rid of stink bugs. Pesticides are largely ineffective against them, particularly because they are easily washed away and break down in sunlight and most simply do not work against stink bugs. The more chemicals you use, the more dangerous it is for everyone to be in contact with. It is reported that researchers are still working to find safe pesticides against stink bugs. You may see various household sprays online or at the store for stink bugs, but, again, these have been found not to work, particularly for a 22-acre community like Vulcan Village. Please understand that the majority of the staff live on-site, including two full-time professionals, so if we could get rid of them quickly, we would.

4. PREVENT ENTRY INTO YOUR APARTMENT – Because our buildings are not vacuum sealed and not impervious to the outside world, stink bugs are going to find a way into our apartments as they are looking for a place to stay warm for the winter. The trick is to do your best to prevent them from getting easy access into your apartment:

  • Make sure you have screens in all of your windows – The easiest way for stink bugs to get into your apartment is to have open windows with no screens. Check with your roommates to make sure that there is a screen in every window in your apartments. Furthermore, make sure that there are no rips and / or damage to the screen as stink bugs will crawl through easy openings. Please put in a work order through the electronic work order system if you have a missing or damaged screen.
  • Keep your front door closed when not simply coming and going – Propping your door open will allow stink bugs easy access to your apartment. I notice many residents who keep their door propped for friends to come and go, to go outside to smoke, and to simply bring things to and from your vehicle. The more your door is propped (even simply cracked slightly), the more you’re giving stink bugs an easy route to your apartment.
  • DO NOT place garbage bags in the breezeways – Throw away your garbage bags into the dumpsters when you pull them from your trash cans. Leaving them outside your apartment will not only attract stink bugs, but a whole host of insects and other critters.

5. THROW THEM AWAY – If you find any in your apartment, simply pick them up with a tissue, and throw them away. You may also keep a small container with soapy water somewhere in your apartment, and throw any stink bugs you find in the container.  Once you get a few, simply dump the water down the non-disposal sink drain or flush in the toilet when you’ve collected more than a handful of them. Do not flush every stink bug you find one-by-one as this wastes a lot of water. Remember, they do not bite or sting so picking them up won’t hurt you.

It will be getting colder shortly so the bulk of them will be gone for the winter. We appreciate your patience as we get through the Autumn with these pesky insects.