Rufus Returns

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Rufus, the notorious stink bug, has returned! West Chester residents unite to exterminate the little buggers!

When the first cool breeze sweeps through West Chester, I unearth the winter clothes, flick off the ac and crank open all the windows in the house; relishing the delicious smell and feel of fall – which, by the way, seems to be rapidly decreasing in length. The house is typically abuzz with friends and family as we cook, drink, relax and try to hold-off the first snow for as long as possible. There is, however, one house guest that is completely unwelcome, Rufus, the stink bug.

His arrival is usually announced via the stirring shriek from our 7-year-old, “Daddy, come quick!!! There’s a bug in my room!!!” Once the culprit has been removed, you can almost guarantee that the same shriek will reverberate throughout the house only minutes later; similar to the timing between lightening and thunder and almost as frequent, “Daddy, come quick!!! He’s back!!!” “Daddy, he’s on my bed!!! Daddy! He’s flying around my room!!!” This continues for most of the evening until the first round of stink bugs have been corralled in the dust buster and the pungent perfume of the little, brown beetles hangs in the air no matter how many bottles of air freshener I go through.

In attempts to diffuse the constant horror-movie-grade screaming of a 7-year-old girl, we decided to re-introduce the stink bug as our new house pet, Rufus. “Don’t worry honey, Rufus won’t hurt you. He just stopped by to say hi and see how you are doing.” Our plan spiraled downhill when the interrogation began, “Well, if that is Rufus, then who is this?”, pointing at yet another stink bug. “That is Rufus’ brother, Bob.” “If that is Rufus and Bob, then who is this?” “That is Rufus’ and Bob’s mom, Sally.” As you can imagine, we quickly exhausted the Rufus family tree. Plan B was soon instituted and involved hours of Internet research, several fruitless calls to every bug company in the state, one email to a faculty member at WCU, five online purchases of “guaranteed solutions” that coated instead of killed the little buggers and, finally, a strategic military attack on our house with what we found to be the best solution so far.

First, let me give you a quick tutorial on Rufus and his family. They come from Asian countries like Japan and China and have no known predators in the US. Although they go into hibernation in winter seasons, they prefer warm spots and invade homes or structures where temperatures do not fall critically. Their typical hideouts include under siding, windows and door frames – and bright, pink bedrooms of 7-year-old girls. They love to hang around lights and on heaters because they provide the highest concentration of warmth in the house. Stink bugs excrete an offensive smelling liquid when they are attacked. If you get this on your hands, it is very hard to get the smell off. In order to keep the stink down, we usually pick them up by their shells and either flush them down the toilet or throw them outside. Do not squash them like you would do to other bugs. This will only attract more of them and the smell lingers.

The Solution: Let me preface this segment of the post with a warning – do not get too excited because this is not the cure-all, just the best solution we have found so far. First, walk around your house and make sure all screens, windows and doors are flush with the house. Fill up any cracks with caulk or some kind of filler. Then, click on the following link and purchase the Viper Cypermethrin. Then, go to this link and purchase the spreader sticker.

If you do not already have one, purchase a sprayer, similar to what you would use to spray pesticides around your house. Fill the sprayer with both solutions and coat your house with it on a sunny, dry day when no rain is expected for at least 3-5 days. Make sure you spray the window and door frames heavily. You will see a yellowish film on your windows but if you want to keep the stink bugs at bay, you will look away and suppress your OCD need to clean. This technique as dramatically decreased the stink bug population in our home. I hope it does the same for you.

Bye, bye Rufus!

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