How To Keep Stink Bugs Out Of An RV

It’s a shame these bugs have no natural predators in the US, which makes sense, considering they taste horrible to natural predators 

Squishing a shield bug is a bad idea. Unlike drain flies, they will release a pungent smell that will permeate your RV. The brown marmorated stink bug was brought over by mistake from Eastern Asia.

rv driving on road

They can be found on your porch or patio furniture during summer months, but once it gets cold outside, they move indoors where they hide out under baseboards, behind appliances, and even inside walls!

The best way to get rid of these bugs from you RV:

  1. Seal cracks and entry points, such as RV window weep holes. Keep them out during the month of October through December, as they will appear in spring.
  2. Capture them in a jar with soapy water, then deposit outdoors. 
  3. Spray around your RV, or potential entry points with this odorless stinkbug killer (that product has about 7,000 combined reviews)
  4. Rub dryer sheets around windows.
  5. Hang your favorite dryer sheet on external elements of your camper using clips.

You could also cut an empty 2 liter bottle in half. Then, invert the top portion so it fits into the bottom. Shake off the bugs and they will slide through the inverted hole into the bottom compartment and will be unable to leave. 

So, what are stink bugs? 

stink bug on a leaf

Stink bugs are from the pentatomidae family and have a shield-like shape. This is why they are also referred to as “shield bugs”. They are about 12 to 17mm long, brownish in color, with six legs and two antennas. Their most notable characteristic is the pungent odor emitted when they feel threatened, irritated, or squished. 

They live primarily outdoors, feeding on natural vegetation. This makes them serious agricultural pests, since they can cause significant damage to fruit trees, ornamental plants, and gardens.

Common species include the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BNSB), Southern Green Stink Bug, One Spotted Stink Bug, Dusky stink bug, and the Spined Soldier Bugs. 

How do you keep stink bugs out of your RV?

When the temperatures start to drop, they look for overwintering sites, which drives them into RVs and homes.

This is usually the primary reason why they might be found in your camper during the change of seasons to warmer months. 

The most effective way to keep stink bugs away is to prevent access. However, once they gain access, you can get rid of them using homemade remedies, pesticides and insecticides.

While these bugs may not be harmful to humans, they can be a nuisance and add jump scares to your typical routine. Too many times did I round a corner or look up and jump seeing the slow moving stinker inching across a surface.

Stink bugs have not nested and begun to multiple in my own dwelling over the years, but this is a possibility. 

What attracts stink bugs?

Wondering why you have these pests in your camper or recreational vehicle? Seasonal changes that cause temperatures to drop drive stink bugs to look for overwintering sites in warm indoor places. A common entry point are weep holes by windows where they can squeeze through. 

They then enter in to a state called ‘diapause’ which is similar to hibernation, and enables them to survive without food for a long period. 

They get in through cracks, crevices, vents and any other holes in the exterior. Once they locate suitable shelter, stink bugs release an aggregation of pheromones that attract others to the site. 

Additional prevention methods

stink bugs in rv
Image credit: Roy Ken

The best way to control or prevent a stink bug infestation is to keep them from entering your RV in the first place. 

  • Seal up cracks and crevices using caulk and weather stripping if needed. Modern vehicles might not have this issue. 
  • Install screens or repair existing ones over vents, edge of sidings, fan covers, windows, and doors. 
  • Rub screens with dryer sheets to keep bugs from blanketing screens.
  • Apply external treatment around all possible entry points 
  • Keep your RV clean through regular vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting.
  • White lights attract these pest – consider curtains at night.
  • Avoid providing a food source, ensure trash is not stored in open containers near you camping site. 
  • Seal any gaps between the floorboards and walls with caulking.
  • Remove clutter from inside the home that could provide a hiding place for insects.

Getting rid of stink bugs in your RV 

There are several ways to kill and eliminate stink bugs from your RV once they are inside. These include

  • Home remedies: These include spraying or using: 
    • Essential oils such as mint 
    • Natural insecticides such as neem oil  
    • Diatomaceous earth pesticide powder made from natural rock 
    • Garlic spray is also another natural remedy that you can try (caution advised)
    • Other DIY remedies include homemade fly traps made from a simple combination of hot water, white vinegar, and dishwashing soap.
  • Vacuuming: This offers the most effective way to remove a large number of bugs from your home. Use a Shop-Vac or vacuum cleaners with bags as this will allow you to dispose of the bug-filled bags safely. Otherwise, they bags and vacuum may start to smell.
  • Assess your RV exterior lighting: Stink bugs are mainly attracted to light, and your RV’s bright lights invite them in. Use compact fluorescent lamps  (CFLs), which are energy-saving and repel various bugs, including stink bugs. Experts recommend the halogen and sodium vapor bulbs varieties and yellow light bulbs for repelling bugs.
  • Electric traps and zappers: These include light traps, fly tapes, and sticky pads.
  • Chemical pesticides or insecticides: These come in various forms, including dust, liquid, and aerosols, and can be used both inside and outside your RV to kill and eliminate stink bugs. You can use these outside your camper to deter stink bugs from the perimeter of your RV. Aerosols that contain deltamethrin will kill this house pest on contact and fast. Ensure you follow the safety instructions when using these.
  • Pest management professionals: You can opt to contact a professional to provide a science-based solution to combat these pests, especially in cases of severe infestations., helping you save time, labor, and frustration.


Do stink bugs bite?

Stink bugs do not bite humans, but you may experience skin irritation when exposed to their exoskeletons’ sharp edges when they land on your skin.

Are stink bugs harmful to humans?

While not essentially harmful to humans, on rare occasions, the fluid they emit when defending themselves or when smashed cause severe allergic reactions and dermatological symptoms. 

Can stink bugs damage your RV?

A stink bug infestation can damage your RV systems. For example, these pests can get into your motorhome via the check valve of your black tank flushers which can potentially cause leaks in the cabinets and walls. They can also cause blockages in the RVs burner tubes, resulting in incorrect water heating and potential fire hazards.  

Can stink bugs breed inside your RV?

You generally don’t need to worry about stink bugs laying eggs inside your home. When winter sets in, these pests enter a period of hibernation called diapause. A time during which they do not reproduce or feed until when spring or warm weather set in.

Final thoughts

As seen above, there are numerous tried and tested ways to get rid of stink bugs from your RV permanently. However, the most effective to get rid of them permanently is to prevent their access to your motorhome.

In case you try all the remedies to get rid of stink bugs from your RV and nothing seems to work, consider getting the services of licensed pest control experts.