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Say Goodbye to Stink Bugs with One Powerful Herb

Spotting a stink bug, a larger-than-usual crawling insect, inside your house can be unsettling, especially since squishing it releases a bad smell.

However, there’s a natural way to deal with these bugs: use the strong odor of bay leaves to repel them.

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Bay leaves are a natural repellant due to their deep, pungent scent. If you have bay leaves in your herb garden or dried ones in your kitchen, you already have one of the simplest natural bug repellents.

Stink bugs prefer warm places, especially when it gets cooler, as they seek spots to overwinter.

They enter through tiny holes in screens, around doors, or gaps under siding. While they don’t pose a health risk to most people, keeping them out is wise.

Start by sealing any openings that let stink bugs in, such as cracks in wood, around water pipes, or window screens.

Since they are attracted to moisture, keep areas around windows and other openings dry. Then, place bay leaves in these spots. Fresher leaves work better at repelling these bugs.

Why do stink bugs avoid bay leaves?

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is a large insect that easily infiltrates warm spaces through small holes.

They’re especially noticeable in spring and fall, often seen on window screens, walls, and ceilings.

Research in the Journal of Economic Entomology found that these bugs can enter through openings as small as 3 millimeters, making it tough to keep them out entirely.

Using scent to repel stink bugs can be effective. Bay leaves emit a strong, medicinal odor that pests dislike.

The scent doesn’t harm them but deters them from areas with many bay leaves. Bay leaves contain linalool, a potent compound contributing to their smell.

How to use bay leaves to repel stink bugs

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If you like the scent of bay leaves (linalool is also stress-reducing for humans), using them to repel stink bugs is easy.

Grow a bay leaf plant in your kitchen or near windows where these bugs get in. This is the simplest method, but there are other options.

You can buy dried bay leaves from the spice aisle and use them similarly.

Place one bay leaf at each window, near doors, or where stink bugs might enter. Dried bay leaves are convenient as they need no care and keep their scent for a few months. Replace them monthly for ongoing protection.

These methods work well with other strategies to eliminate stink bugs, like emptying food sources (such as garbage cans) and treating flowerbeds and landscaping for pests.

If stink bugs get inside, avoid squashing them as their scent will attract more. Instead, use a vacuum to remove and dispose of them outside.