What Attracts Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

November 22, 2022

The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive insect found in 47 states across the U.S. Iowa, in particular, continues to see increases in reports of this pest since being identified in Cedar Rapids in 2011. Although the brown marmorated stink bug is becoming more common, it is mostly just a nuisance pest for homeowners, and we want to help you avoid them.

Our mission at Preferred Pest Control is to help educate Iowans on common household pests, like the brown marmorated (marbled) stink bug, so that they can identify and prevent an infestation. With our experts' insights about stink bugs in Iowa, you'll learn the answers to common questions like; How do stink bugs get in the house? And what attracts stink bugs? We even share preventative tips to help you keep stink bugs away permanently.

More About the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Many stink bugs live in Iowa, but the brown marmorated stink bug is easily the most common. This stink bug emerges in the spring and can produce five generations annually in warm weather! Although they aren't known to bite humans or pets or damage property, brown marmorated stink bugs are an economic threat to fruit crops, garden vegetables and many ornamentals. They can be a dangerous and sometimes costly nuisance in comparison to their relatives (see below):

  1. Green Burgundy Stink Bug
  2. Blue Shieldbug
  3. Rough Stink Bug
  4. Spined Soldier Bug
  5. Two-Spotted Stink Bug


In addition to plant damage, the brown marmorated stink bug seeks shelter in houses and other buildings when the weather gets cold. While these pests may not threaten humans, pets or structures, they will slowly take over a home throughout the winter and can grow into a big problem if ignored.

Why do stink bugs smell?

Stink bugs release chemicals from scent glands in their abdomen as a defense mechanism against predators or when they feel threatened. This chemical mixture produces an unpleasant odor giving the stink bug its name. People commonly compare the stink bug smell to a skunk or strong cilantro-like scent.

The one thing you should not do is crush a stink bug if you encounter one in your home. Crushing a stink bug will cause it to emit the awful, notorious stink bug smell. Instead, we recommend vacuuming up stink bugs if you spot a few, but reaching out to professionals may be necessary to reduce the stink bugs in and around your home.

What attracts stink bugs?

Stink bugs are attracted to the heat inside your home, making them much more prominent to homeowners during the fall as the weather starts to get colder. Once inside, stink bugs will begin to take over a home and continue their invasion throughout the winter, lumbering along warm surfaces like countertops, furniture and even beds.

During this time, stink bugs enter diapause, a period of suspended development that allows them to move, but not with much awareness. Diapause causes them to be noisy flyers that a homeowner can detect before seeing the pest. But our team at Preferred Pest Control wants to help you fend off stink bugs before they ever get inside. Understanding how stink bugs get inside a home can tremendously help you take the necessary measures to keep them out.

How Stink Bugs Get in the House

Adult brown marmorated stink bugs are about ⅝ of an inch long and have a triangular shield shape, making it easy to sneak into a home through cracks and crevices. They can be present for months without ever being noticed. Stink bugs may seek shelter as the weather gets cold, but homeowners typically won't see them until it gets warmer in the spring. Stink bugs will often congregate in hidden areas like walls, attics, bookshelves and more until the warmer weather draws them out into the larger living areas of the home. While they do not bite people or pets and are not known to transmit disease or cause physical harm, some people may be sensitive to allergens given off by stink bugs.

Sealing all openings around your home can help you reduce the chances of a stink bug invasion. Below are a few simple tips you can use to keep stink bugs out of your home:

  • Seal all windows and entry doors inside and out.
  • Remove all debris and edible vegetation from your home's foundation to keep from attracting pests.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home for any cracks and seal them to block a potential point of entry.
  • If your home has a fireplace, put a cap or screen on the top of the chimney to keep pests out.
  • Contact a pest control professional to treat the surrounding vegetation near your home's foundation, which can harbor large populations of stink bugs. The pest control professional will also treat cracks and crevices on the outside of your house with a residual insecticide.

Preferred Pest Control in Des Moines Can Help Get Rid of Stink Bugs

We hope you found our tips and insights about how to keep stink bugs away helpful. If you suspect stink bugs in your home, don’t wait to act! Our pest control experts in Des Moines can reduce the stink bug population in and around your home. Simply schedule an appointment with us online or call (515) 415-5550 today!