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The stinkbugs are coming! August 31, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Eeewww, stinkbugs. Silence Dogood here. As longtime readers know, stinkbugs are my personal nemesis. I hate the way they get into the house, lurk unobtrusively on a window or door frame, and then, when you’re trying to write or cook something or, worse yet, sleeping, they blast off and land on your shirt (or nightgown, as the case may be). AAAAHHHHHHHH!!! Talk about a test of your cardiac fitness.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to see this headline from The Philadelphia Inquirer this morning: “Stinkbugs are coming to a home near you.” (Read all about it at http://www.philly.com/.) This Doomsday article contained such cheerful comments from entomologists who’d been studying area stinkbugs as “We’re expecting an epic year for stinkbugs” and “When they’re [i.e., innocent homeowners such as yours truly] knee deep in stinkbugs, they’re going to want to know what to do about it.”

Knee deep in stinkbugs. AAAHHHHHHHHH!!!! In my opinion, one stinkbug is one stinkbug too many. Hundreds or thousands of stinkbugs?! I tell you, it’s time to move to Nova Scotia. But don’t sit there feeling smug if you don’t live, like us, in scenic PA, apparently the stinkbug capital of the world. Stinkbugs have now invaded New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire, New York, California, and Oregon. And they’re definitely on the move, so no doubt they’ll arrive in your home state before long.

As house pests, stinkbugs aren’t really all that bad, except for the blastoff scare factor. Unlike ladybugs, fleas, bedbugs, and spiders, they don’t bite. (Mercifully, we don’t deal with ladybug invasions here, and I had no idea they bit people until a friend told me her horror story. Yikes!) Unlike cockroaches, grain moths, and various tiny beetles, they don’t get in your food supplies and spoil them. Apparently, all they’re trying to do is stay warm in your house’s walls and insulation. Ugh, that’s creepy enough. But since they inevitably end up inside the house and on you, they are The Enemy.

The stinkbug experts in the article suggested a two-pronged approach to controlling the invasion: Sealing entry points like attic vents, doors, and windows, and calling in professional pest controllers to spray pyrethroids where stinkbugs were likely to be congregating. According to the entomologists, the time to act is right now: Unlike ladybugs and other insects who move into homes when the weather turns cold, stinkbugs head for the house in late August and September, and a preemptive strike is most likely to keep them in check.

Fortunately for us, here at Hawk’s Haven we’ve never had enough stinkbugs to need to spray them. We just try to avoid the live ones and toss the dead ones out the door whenever we find them. We’ve never encountered the trademark stink that gives the bugs their name (which is technically brown marmorated stink bug; we’re still trying to find out what “marmorated” means). But I was intrigued to see that stink described as “like stale perfume” in the article. Anyone who’s kept a bottle of perfume too long can instantly relate.

As I write this, I haven’t yet seen any stinkbugs in the house. But looking up, I see a gigantic spider slowly lowering itself outside the window, its shadow looming like something from a B-grade horror movie. AAAAHHHHHH!!!! Spider, please, go away. Unless your favorite food happens to be stinkbugs…

            ‘Til next time,




1. mr_subjunctive - August 31, 2010

Marmorated: marbled or streaked in appearance. (Ref.)

Thanks, Mr.S.!!! I’ve been looking for years and couldn’t find a definition anywhere. What a relief!

2. Elephant's Eye - August 31, 2010

Don’t bite? Not exactly, but I once grabbed the balustrade, and was impaled on a hot needle. Poor hidden stink-bug stabbed me!

Ouch!!! Reminds me of the time I grabbed my music box in the dark when I was a child and one of the roof tiles rose up and stung me! Turned out there were two wasps on the box roof!

3. Alan - September 1, 2010

EAT THEM!!!! Everything we have tried to harvest for food (wild or planted/raised) has suddenly become difficult to find. Even dandelions. They have almost disappeared. Good I suppose (except I want them for greens, medicine, wine, etc.) Find a reason to want them an the bugs will go away.

Um, tell you what, Alan: I’ll send them to you and YOU can eat them. Maybe you can send me fudge in exchange (but not stinkbug fudge, please). Deal? Wonder if the chickens would eat them? Hopefully they wouldn’t lay eggs that smell like stale perfume!

4. Alan - September 1, 2010

Bet your chickens would love them. Suck them up with the hoover and throw the bag to the chickens. They can’t smell anyway. Could save you a ton on feed…

Ha! No doubt, but we tend to get one to three stinkbugs at a time. Aggravating, but hardly fodder for the fowl.

5. Randy Matheson - December 29, 2010

Too late. I think stink bugs are in Nova
Scotia.They have invaded. On hot days from late August to early November they are on my exterior walls and eventually make there way inside. Our stink bugs are brown and a little longer than the ones pictured, but the unmistakable trade mark stink is there. I have not noticed them until the last five or six years. No problem before.

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