Stink Bugs

My granddaughter was visiting with me this week, when she suddenly said with astonishment, “Wow, there are 26 bugs on the window.” Of course my answer was, “On the outside?” Unfortunately, her answer was “No, on the inside!”

And she was right. I counted 26 brown shield shaped, dime-size brown bugs, armed with a sweaty feet odor, crawling on my high ceiling top windows. I’m wondering if these smelly, brown marmorated stink bugs are also smart, as they are in an area I cannot reach. They have appeared in the thousands in some areas of Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.. They crawl into homes over windowsills, through door crevices, and between attic vents in massive numbers, creating horrific orders if smashed.

The change in season to shorter days and nighttime temperatures starting to dip are nature’s call to the brown marmorated stink bug to leave its summer gorging grounds and seek winter refuge inside. The massive population shifts from orchards, cornfields, and gardens to human occupied dwellings. But, this is their second invasion, and it is February, not Fall. With our unusual up and down weather, they must be a little confused.

They have no natural predators in the United States, as they come to us from Asia. They travel by hitching rides on buses and construction material, are harmless to people, don’t bite or sting, and do not transmit disease. They harm peaches and apples, soybeans, corn, and ornamental shrubs and trees. And, they smell like stinky feet when squashed or irritated!

If you’re thinking I’m over reacting to the little insect, you surely are not old enough to remember the Alfred Hitchcock movie, “The Birds.” Those black creatures flew off the big screen in massive creepy numbers… and remember, “Willard” and his rats, not to mention the spider scene in one of the “Harry Potter” movies. All creepy!

I’ve just stopped hosting another Asian gift, the Japanese beetle. And let us not forget the gift of “kudzu” that takes over anything in its way. Some researchers are contemplating introducing a Japanese wasp that is a natural predator to the brown marmorated stink bug to control the population. Now, they do sting and bite and could be harmful to humans in this part of the world. I wonder if they have a natural predator living amongst us.

I would have them exterminated, but I just did that two weeks ago. Obviously, it doesn’t work. In fact, I read that none of the insecticides work on the stinky little bugs. I also read about soapy water in an open jar. I think I’ll try that one, it seems better than the brilliant idea of torching them in your home. And please, please no more insect visitors from Asia, unless they bring a predator along with them, and that includes the wasp!

Source: K. P. Guessen

Jefferson Farmers Co-op 08112014