Stink Bugs in NY – What to Do if You Find Them?

If you’re like most New Yorkers, the mention of stink bugs in NY probably makes you cringe. These smelly insects are not only a nuisance but can also be awful if they manage to get into your home.

Here’s what you need to know about stink bugs in NY and what to do if you find them.

Stink bugs in New York are a common problem in the fall when they enter our home to escape the cold. During the summer months, you will find them hanging out, outside munching on plants.

It’s during the winter that they become a problem for homeowners.

As the weather gets colder, stink bugs try to find warm places to stay, which often means your home. They are one of the typical New York city bugs, although they are not as common as others on our list, like German cockroaches.

Stink bugs give off an odor that emits into the air when you disturb them. There are over 250 species of stink bugs in the US and almost 5,000 species worldwide. However, this article focuses on the brown marmorated stink bug, a shield bug (Halyomorpha halys).

stink bugs in New York

Why Are There So Many Stink Bugs in New York?

Since the brown marmorated stink bug is native to Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea, its presence in NY is an invasive species. The stink bug’s ability to come in on ships and planes with produce and dried goods has allowed the stink bug in NY to thrive.

Primarily where they hail, they have plenty of natural predators that keep their population in check. Furthermore, their natural predators in their originating countries are not around New York to keep their populations down. So stink bugs in NY can get out of hand. 

The other fact is that they tolerate many types of temperatures and humidities. So with NY being a port city with plenty of international travelers, it makes sense that the stink bugs are thriving in New York.

Lastly, they have a varied palate of over 300 plants that they can eat. Like bed bugs, they are what we call ‘true bugs’ and have a piercing-sucking mouth part. However, they use their mouth to feed on plants, not human blood. Learn more about what stink bugs eat.

However, when comparing stink bugs vs bed bugs, most people would rather have a stink bug invasion.

Stink Bugs Rochester NY

Stink bugs are seasonal, meaning that you will see an increase in stink bugs in Rochester, NY, during the autumn. You may begin seeing them hanging out closer to your house, sitting on the side of your home, or within your garden.

They are looking for a safe winter habitat where they can stay warm. Since houses in Rochester, NY, are heated, it makes an excellent place for the stink bug to overwinter.

Stink bugs are hard to get rid of once they get into your home because they are somewhat impervious to chemical treatments.

Prevention for stink bugs means sealing ALL cracks and openings outside your house. You’ll find stink bugs hanging out on the sunny side of your home.

So as you know, any chemicals applied in the sun will degrade faster. So rather than chemical treatments, prevention is the better course of action for stink bugs. 

However, don’t do the sealing in the winter because you will seal the stink bugs inside your walls. You want to give them a chance to leave in the spring. Once the weather starts warming up, stink bugs will leave your house. Furthermore, they are not known to reproduce in the colder months since they go into a form of hibernation.

Stink Bugs in NY - What to Do if You Find Them?

How to Keep Stink Bugs Away: Tips and Tricks for Dealing with Stink Bugs New York

  • In the springtime, seal up your house from the outside. You may need to hire a company specializing in weatherproofing and sealing places.

  • Any time of year, seal up cracks and crevices inside your home. If you have any loose screens or windows, make sure to repair or replace them.

  • Monitor the sunny side of your home; this is the side of the house where the stink bugs will congregate. If you see any, you can remove them with a shop vacuum.

  • Plant garlic, thyme, lavender, or marigolds around your house. Stink bugs are repelled by these plants and won’t want to crawl through them.

Stink Bug Repellents: Ideas for the Outdoors

What kinds of plants repel stink bugs? Here are a few ideas to get you started. If you have stink bugs getting into your home, consider planting and implementing as many of these as possible. You can keep them in pots or in the ground the choice is yours!

Garlic: a natural stink bug repellent

The pungent power of garlic not only adds flavor to your meals but also deters stink bugs from invading your garden. Plant this natural repellent, and watch as these pests turn up their noses in search of less aromatic pastures.

Kaolin Clay: a stink bug prevention technique

Give stink bugs a taste of their own medicine with a protective coating of kaolin clay on your garden plants. This natural deterrent creates a barrier that makes it difficult for these pesky insects to feed and lay eggs, ensuring a bug-free garden sanctuary.

Lavender: an awesome stink bug repellent

Lavender, known for its soothing fragrance and stunning purple blooms, not only adds beauty to your garden but also serves as a natural repellent for stink bugs. These stink bugs (and many other bugs) find the scent of lavender overwhelming, making it an effective deterrent. By planting lavender in your garden, you can enjoy the calming aroma while keeping stink bugs at bay.

photos of stink bug, thyme, garlic, lavender, marigolds with the text: stink bug repellents


Embrace the purr-fect solution to stink bug woes by planting catnip in your garden. Not only will you provide a haven for feline friends, but the strong scent of catnip also acts as a powerful stink bug repellent, keeping your garden free from unwanted visitors.


Transform your garden into a fragrant oasis with the refreshing scent of mint. Plant this natural stink bug repellent near entryways and watch as these odorous invaders steer clear, unable to resist the minty aroma that permeates the air.


These vibrant and cheerful flowers not only bring a burst of color to your garden but also act as a natural stink bug repellent. Marigolds emit a strong fragrance that stink bugs find offensive, deterring them from infesting your precious plants. Plant these sunny blooms strategically around your garden to create a beautiful barrier that stink bugs won’t dare to cross.

How Many Legs Does a Stink Bug Have?

Stink bugs have six legs with a brown body that has the shape of a shield. As a result of their larger size and ability to fly, they are not commonly mistaken for bed bugs.

Why Do Stink Bugs Come Inside?

Stink bugs come inside to get warm. Like we head inside when the temperature drops, stink bugs head indoors to escape the cold. Unfortunately, we often have to share our homes and walls with these unwelcome guests.

However, you can do a few things to help keep stink bugs out. Be sure to seal any cracks or openings around your windows and doors and keep your home as clean as possible.

Doing this will allow you to spot them before they become an issue. Taking a few simple precautions can help keep stink bugs out of your home this winter.

Are Stink Bugs Invasive?

Yes, stink bugs are an invasive species of bug. They were first discovered in Pennsylvania in the 1990s. After that, they spread throughout the United States. The lack of biological control methods is one of the main reasons the stink bugs are so prolific.

Furthermore, they do not have many natural predators here in the US, which is why they, in turn, are listed as an invasive species. Stink bugs are known to destroy entire apple fields.

Should You Report Stink Bugs?

Yes, stink bugs are an invasive species that you can report to your local department of agriculture, or you can report them here at NYimap Invasives.

For example, if you live in Minnesota, their department of agriculture has a site where you can report the Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) here.

What Do Stink Bugs Nests Look Like?

The brown marmorated stink bug will usually lay its eggs on the underside of leaves. They don’t have a typical nest like a bird or rodent; they lay their eggs on plants that their newly hatched nymphs can use as a food source.

Brown marmorated stink bug eggs are light blueish or light greenish and have a diameter of 1 millimeter.

brown marmorated stink bug eggs

Can Stink Bugs Harm You?

No, stink bugs cannot harm you. More importantly, they do not bite or sting and are not known to be poisonous.

Do Stink Bugs Bite or Sting?

No, they are not known to bite humans or animals. The only thing they eat is a wide variety of plants.

Final Thoughts for Stink Bugs in NY

So, there you have it. Everything you need to know about stink bugs in NY: if you find one of these pests in your home this fall, don’t panic! There are a few things you can do to get rid of them.

First, try vacuuming them up by using a shop vacuum. Using a shop vac will allow you to dispose of them without releasing their scent. Furthermore, you can place soapy water in the bottom of the shop vacuum if you see a bunch of stink bugs. Doing this is an easy way to dispose of them without having them release their odor.

Another option is to gently use a broom and dustpan to sweep them into a jar or bag, but then you risk disturbing them and smelling their cilantro-like odor.

Since the brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive species that can destroy crops, you may want to alert your local department of agriculture that you found one.