Get Rid of STINK BUGS in Your RV! *Stink Bug Prevention Tips*

Stink Bugs are finding their way inside motorhomes and campers; oftentimes, hitching a ride to your next destination across state lines. It’s important to the environment and our Nation’s agriculture to know how to get rid of stink bugs in your RV before transporting them state to state. So, let’s see how to prevent stink bugs coming in your RV and how to get rid of them!

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in Your RV!

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Where did stink bugs originate?

According to Center for Invasive Species Research’s Department of Entomology“The brown marmorated stink bug is native to Eastern Asia, including China, Japan, and Taiwan. The first documentation of this species in the United States occurred in Pennsylvania in 2001, although it is likely to have established as early as 1996.”

Today, there are more than 200 species of stink bugs in North America. Stink bugs are also referred to as ‘shield bugs’. The most commonly encountered herbivorous stink bugs found in and around homes is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.

The extremely destructive Stink Bug feeds on soybeans, vegetable crops and fruit trees. This is why we, as RVers, must take the initiative of not allowing them to transport with us during our travels.

What do Stink Bugs look like?

Stink Bugs in RV

While my article is an informative gesture, I did find that The New Yorker Writer, Karen Schulz in her When Twenty-Six Thousand Stinkbugs Invade Your Home hilarious yet vivid description of what a stink bug looks like spot on! But, for the short version, stink bugs are just plain ugly.

According to pest specialists at Orkin,  “Stink Bugs are generally shield-shaped and have five segmented antennae from which the family name Pentatomidae originates. Their heads are relatively small when compared to many other insects, and they have two pairs of wings. Both nymph and adult stink bugs have beak-shaped piercing/sucking mouthparts they use to extract juices from food sources.”

Do stink bugs bite or sting?

Stink Bug Up Close Head

Stink bugs are not biting or stinging insects. They aren’t equipped with stingers or teeth. They’re defense mechanism is their putrid pheromone that wards off predators. Hence, why they are called Stink Bugs.

How long do stink bugs live?

According to Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station,  “Adult brown marmorated stink bugs tend to live between six to eight months.”

What attracts stink bugs?

Stink bugs are attracted to bright lights. Hence, why they love to crawl around on the television screen, window screens or nap on the window side of your curtains or window shades.

Even your outside lights will also attract stink bugs as well as inside your RV. So, if you’re not actually using your lights, turn them off. In the event that you’re turning in for the night, brush off the outsides of your screens to prevent any hitchhikers from sneaking in.

What you don’t have to worry about is, unlike others in the animal kingdom, killing a stink bug will not attract other stink bugs.

How quickly do stink bugs mate and multiply?

Stink Bugs Mating

Marmorated stink bugs don’t feed, reproduce or lay eggs in the winter months as they actually hibernate. Female stink bugs don’t reproduce until early spring.

According to Terminix,“Female stink bugs lay eggs on the underside of plant leaves. They produce as many as 30 to 100 eggs at a time and place them in rows of a dozen or more.”

Their pearl greenish barrel-shaped eggs are congregated in a cluster. Once stink bug eggs hatch, the newling stink bugs grow through nymph stages; progressing from their original yellowish-green color to brown and black. They grow to about 15mm in size when fully grown.

Can you get stink bug infestations in your RV?

If you find one or two random stink bugs in your RV, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. However, should you find more, you may want to mitigate infestations before they multiply.

Brown marmorated stink bugs like to congregate in large groups. Once a stink bug finds a warm place to winter over, they release an aggregation pheromone that attracts other stink bugs. Oddly though, it’s not the same chemical that makes them stink.

Where stink bugs hibernate or hang out in your RV?

Since stink bugs gravitate towards bright light, look in places that gets the most sun exposure or lights. Inspect window and door frames, screens, vents; any place where they can enter your RV. Also, check your RV’s window shades and blinds; even inside your curtains or window valances.

Will my cat or dog kill stink bugs?

I can tell you from first hand experience, that our two cats have absolutely no interest in catching or even playing  with stink bugs. In fact, they just stare at them. There’s a reason for that I just learned while writing this article. The Stink Bug’s “odor” (pheromone) is intended to keep cats and dogs away. But also I learned that those shield bugs are supposedly nasty tasting also.

According to Dr. Franklin, a veterinarian at the Mid-Atlantic Veterinary Hospital, “stink bugs aren’t poisonous, but the smelly secretions from stink bugs will irritate the gastrointestinal tract of dogs and cats. This irritation may produce symptoms of vomiting and/or excessive drooling by dogs and cats. Other reported irritation from stink bug secretions is irritation of the tongue, gums, lips and inside of a pet’s cheek.”

After learning about the above findings, I wonder if our cats ate one; learning the hard way to not ever even touch those nasty bugs again.

And now this makes sense why the brown marmorated stink bug likes to take up refuge in your RV. Because RVs are in a safe haven away from outside predators like bats, birds, spiders, parasitic insects (wasps) and assassin bugs and predatory stink bugs. But also, they know they’re safe from cats and dogs too.

Are there natural methods to get rid of stink bugs in your RV?

As I mentioned earlier, stink bugs give off a pheromone that attracts others. So, if you have stink bug, you’re bound to get more. But, there are a few environmentally-friendly prevention measures to deter stink bugs from infesting your RV.

Pure therapeutic essential oils such as rosemary, clove, oregano, ylang-ylang, lemongrass, and oils of the mint family (peppermint, spearmint,  are great for detracting them from entering your RV. Simply put a couple drops of a single oil onto a cotton ball and place them where they may enter (holes, cracks and crevices). NOTE: DO NOT use essential oils around pets.

I’ve also heard Vicks VapoRub works however, I can’t confirm it as I’ve not tried that remedy.

Also, another natural deterrent is actually a common farmer’s remedy. Try mixing 1 cup of white vinegar, 1/2 cup dish soap with 2 cups of hot water. Then spray on the bugs directly.

Blogger’s Note: Do NOT order name brand essential oils (Young Living or Doterra) from Amazon. There are dishonest Amazon sellers who are impostering oils. Having been a former Young Living distributor, it is against company policy to sell or distribute on any venue other than a distributor’s own certified website or in person. Buy directly from actual Young Living or Doterra distributors only. NEVER purchase any essential oils from any seller on Amazon. Buy directly from the manufacturer itself.

Stink Bug repellents and pesticides

Actually, there are actual stink bug repellents to prevent stink bug infestations and kill stink bugs.

TERRO Stink Bug Spray treats and eliminates several types of nuisance insects. Use it as a spot and crevice spray to target stink bugs. Also, it’s a great indoor and outdoor insect repellent for Asian lady beetles, and boxelder bugs. It kills on contact and continues to kill for up to 6 weeks. It’s odor-free and non-staining formula has a broad applicator or crack-and-crevice treatment.

HARRIS Stink Bug Killer is the perfect solution to kill stink bugs before they overwinter in your RV or home. This Deltamethrin product is a non-staining and odorless formula that’s is ready to use and starts working once spray has dried. Apply it around door frames, window sills, and any surface where these pests congregate. It offers long residual control of stink bugs and other winter invaders; indoors and outdoors!

Tempo Ultra WP is a pyrethroid-based insecticide that is highly effective at controlling a broad range of insect pests, including Stink Bugs. Tempo Ultra WP provides a fast knockdown and kill and leaves a residual that keeps killing insects for up to 30 to 90 days. It has a no odor and leaves a clear, almost invisible residue. The active ingredient in Tempo Ultra WP is Cyfluthrin, a synthetic pyrethroid that attacks the central nervous system of target pests. Though Tempo Ultra WP is tough on insects, it is very gentle on people and pets when used correctly.

For more information one each of the products listed above, check them out below:

If you prefer not to use chemicals or pesticides in your RV, we’ve been advised that these insect traps literally stop stink bugs in their tracks.

Final thoughts on how to get rid of stink bugs in your RV (and why!)

Though Stink Bugs aren’t harmful, they are an ugly nuisance. And, while they aren’t structurally destructive, these smelly insects are destroying crops, fruit trees and ornamentals all over the Country. As traveling RVers, it’s important that we eradicate them before transporting them from state to state and even our neighboring countries to keep them from further damage.

Check out I Love RV Life’s video on How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in Your RV:

More helpful articles worth the read:

Stinky Motorhome or Camper? How to Eliminate Odors in Your RV

How to Clean and Deodorize Your Cooler or Ice Chest

RV Storage Pest Control: Keep Bugs and Mice OUT of your RV

DEET-FREE Bug Spray Recommended for Families

Always On Liberty - Stink Bugs

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