Known for the foul smell they emit when squished, stink bugs are easily identified by their unique shield-like bodies and spiky appearance.

Stink bugs are some of the most common household pests found in homes across the U.S. and some of the least desirable to any home.

While stink bugs are harmless to humans and don’t tend to cause any property damage, these pests can still become a nuisance when they invade homes in large numbers and release their unpleasant odor. Knowing what attracts these insects to your home in the first place is essential for getting rid of stink bugs and keeping them away for good.

How to Identify a Stink Bug Infestation

The most common stink bug in the northeast is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, known for its light brown exterior shells, antennae, and acrid scent.

Usually, the presence of a strong, unexplainable smell in your home will be a telltale sign that stink bugs have made their presence known. Stink bugs are said to smell like strong herbs and spices such as cilantro or coriander, and the smell will typically be stronger if there is a larger infestation in your home.

Additionally, spotting live or dead stink bugs around the house can be another sign that you may be dealing with a stink bug infestation. If you notice more than one stink bug in your home, it may be wise to contact an exterminator to have your home inspected and treated for stink bugs.

Essentials that Attract Stink Bugs to Your Home


The most common reason stink bugs enter residential homes is in search of warmth. These insects require a warm environment in order to stay alive and active during the winter months, and the more warm and inviting your home is, the more likely they are to want to move in.


Stink bugs love to feed on fruits and vegetables, particularly tomatoes, apples, and stone fruits. If you don’t properly seal your kitchen trash can or leave fruits and vegetables out on the counter, stink bugs will be able to smell the food and are more likely to be attracted to your home.


Stink bugs are attracted to light, which is why you may notice them congregating around lamps or outdoor lighting. Stink bugs are most attracted to bright lights, so switching out your light bulbs to a more yellow-colored light may be effective in getting rid of these pests. It can also be helpful to turn off any outdoor lighting at night, as being in the dark may confuse them and draw them away from your home altogether.

When Do Stink Bugs Commonly Invade Homes?

Stink bugs are most active from March through September, so you may notice more of these insects than usual during these months. However, this timespan can vary depending on the weather each month, as stink bugs’ main motive when entering a home is to find shelter from the cold. When it comes to the time of day stink bugs are most active, you can expect to see them most often during the day or near lamps or outdoor lighting at night.

Stink Bug Prevention Tips

The best way to eliminate stink bugs is to prevent them in the first place.

There are several things you can do to prevent stink bugs from making their way into your home, including:

  • Checking for broken screens on windows and doors and making the necessary repairs
  • Sealing possible entryways
  • Changing your outdoor lightbulbs to yellow, as stink bugs are less attracted to this color light
  • Turning off exterior lighting at night
  • Carefully inspecting laundry that was hung outside before bringing it indoors

Otherwise, you will need to contact a stink bug exterminator or experiment with homemade stink bug repellents to eliminate a large infestation.


Can stink bugs bite or harm humans?

Stink bugs are not aggressive towards humans and cannot bite, as their mouths do not allow them to pierce through skin. Although they do produce a foul odor when they are squished, this scent is typically harmless and may only cause mild irritation to people who are particularly sensitive to smells.

Are stink bugs attracted to certain colors?

Stink bugs are known to be particularly attracted to the color white, which is why you may notice these insects latched onto your light-colored bed sheets or bath towels.

How do stink bugs get into homes?

There are several ways stink bugs make their way into homes, either by hitching a ride on laundry that has been hung up on the clothesline outside or through broken screens or cracks in your home. Once stink bugs enter a home, they will give off pheromones that attract other stink bugs, which is why you may notice several in your home at one time.

What are the health risks associated with stink bugs?

As mentioned earlier, there are no known health risks associated with stink bugs, as their mouths do not enable them to pierce through human skin. They are also not harmful to pets, so you won’t have to worry if your furry friend comes in contact with a stink bug.

Do stink bugs damage furniture and clothing?

Stink bugs typically will not cause damage to the structure of a home or anything within a home. When squished, they may release droppings that can leave tiny stains on furniture or clothing, but these stains can usually be removed in a standard wash cycle.