My mother passed away last year and we cleaned out her house and garage from July to the end of September. Aside from the hidden entry points, we probably invited them in. Stink bugs must have entered the house through all of the open doors with moving furniture, etc., carpet cleaning with the door open, open windows with painting. The entry most used was through the garage into the kitchen. The garage was left open and had a wide grate on a heating duct where these bugs could crawl right in even after the garage and house was closed.
We have since put a fine mesh screen on this heating grate and blocked the “attic” area over the house with dry wall in the garage. However, these bugs have been present throughout the winter and to date. The house is still on the market with a current interested buyer. I daily go over to search for the stink bugs and flush them down the toilet. I probably average at least 3 to 8 daily since I began counting in January.
My question is: What are these bugs eating? Why did they survive the winter inside? There are no plants in the house and garage. They have survived the winter. Do they eat carpet fibers? Paper towel fibers? Drapery/Sheers fibers? Insulation fibers?
I just can’t understand why these bugs have not all died since the house has been closed up since October 5, 2010.
I keep the heat set on 60 degrees. We had a warm day two weeks ago (80 degrees) so I opened many windows to heat up and air out the house. This drew the bugs out from their hiding place which I think is in the heating ducts. I mainly see them in the living room and dining room which have large windows and are closest to the kitchen entry to the garage.
Question 2: What is my best method to get these bugs out of the house?
I appreciate any suggestions you would have. Terminix treated the inside of the home in January 2011 but this did not even slow them down.
If you read through our STINKBUG CONTROL ARTICLE, you'll learn that this pest overwinters or hibernates during the winter. During this time they don't need to eat anything. And since they can survive freezing temps, whether you let the house go cold or kept it at 80 degrees it wouldn't much matter; they're designed to live for several years and won't die from cold or heat.
You'll also learn from our article that once they identify a structure as a good place to hibernate, they'll start coming to it every fall. During their stay they'll be marking and scenting all over it leaving all kinds of odors and smells that will no doubt make it easier for them (and other stinkbugs) to find the structure next fall. The net result of this practice is that infestations will get worse and worse if left untreated due to their odor getting stronger and more concentrated. And though you mention a treatment done in January, it wasn't done on the outside (which is most important) and it was only one treatment. It will take at least 6 thorough applications made to both the outside and inside at the bare minimum to get rid of this pest so you are far from "done" with treating.
So what should you do? Well, our article provides all the details but here's a brief summary. Starting on the outside, you need to get a good perimeter of CYPERMETHRIN applied so emerging stinkbugs this spring will encounter the treatment and die. This will effectively reduce the amount that will be available to use the home next fall. The outside should be treated at least 1-2 this spring and then again at least this much next fall. The outside is always "key" when dealing with this pest if you want to achieve long term control. If you are lucky, by this time next spring the bulk of the problem will be controlled.
To help make sure you reach this goal, during the summer you should inspect the local landscape to make sure they're aren't eating or living on any plants in the yard. Since stinkbugs feed and nest on most any plant, it's very well possible they are somewhere close when it's warm and if they're on your property, reducing their numbers with some Cypermethrin or VEGETABLES PERMETHRIN (in case it's a vegetable garden they've found) would be required. Again, getting them before they enter is always best and it's common for local populations to migrate inside anything close to where they reside during the summer.
Lastly, for immediate control inside, start applying PHANTON where you see activity. This odorless aerosol is easy to use and when applied properly will go on dry. Apply some to cracks and crevices and any place you suspect they might be hiding or using as a pathway inside. You should also treat with DELTAMETHRIN DUST in any void (like attics or wall spaces) where you think they might be nesting. This will make the area unsuitable for their overwintering success and in the long run, help to keep their numbers inside minimized should they get past your outside applications.
This approach will no doubt control the problem but it could take 1-2 years before it's completely gone. To reach your goal, it will involve several treatments and getting them done in the right areas are key.
Here are direct links to the products and information listed above:
Stinkbug Control Article: http://www.bugspray.com/article/stinkbug.html
Vegetables Plus Permethrin: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/veg-plus-10-perm
Deltamethrin Dust: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/dust/deltamethrin-dust