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Gack, they’re baaaack! September 23, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Stinkbugs, that is. Silence Dogood here. Fall has definitely arrived here in our part of scenic PA: the corn and soybean fields are turning gold, walnuts are littering the ground, and night temperatures are dipping into the 40s. It gets dark early and stays dark late. Our friend Ben and I are hopeful that the reign of terror brought on by the wet summer, in the form of a plague of mosquitoes, will soon draw to a close.

But as one plague ends, another begins. Longtime readers know of my hatred of stinkbugs, so you can imagine my horror when I looked out our deck door and saw the first stinkbug of fall clinging to it. Then I saw three more on the kitchen window. “BENNNN!!!”

Mind you, to my knowledge, stinkbugs carry no diseases like West Nile virus or malaria that they can transmit to people or animals. Unlike mosquitoes, they won’t suck your blood. Nor are they likely to bite you. The reasons I loathe them are a) their en-masse migration into the house when the weather turns cold, which is pretty much impossible to prevent, and b) their modus operandi once in the house.

You see, the brown, shield-shaped stinkbugs lurk unobtrusively on doorframes, curtains, and the like. Then they suddenly blast off, with a roaring buzz, and crash-land, usually on your shirt, pillow, or other way-too-close location. Not only does the abrupt takeoff and landing scare the life out of sensitive souls like yours truly, but you then have to deal with getting rid of said stinkbug. Apparently, if you crush them, they emit their trademark stink. I’ve never tried this, instead grabbing the offender and tossing it out the door.

Needless to say, given the number of stinkbugs, this activity keeps me pretty busy in the fall and winter. And grabbing a live bug with my bare hand is not, to say the least, my preferred mode of entertainment. Eeeewwww!!!!

To add insult to injury, there are still plenty of mosquitoes hovering around, too, making life miserable for us and our black German shepherd, Shiloh. Too bad stinkbugs don’t eat mosquitoes, and vice-versa. Looks like we’re in for a really long fall. 

              ‘Til next time,



When will stink bugs go away? September 24, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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“When will stink bugs go away” has become the #1 blog search that leads desperate homeowners to our blog, Poor Richard’s Almanac, in these stinkbug-laden times. We can relate. There must be 40 stinkbugs on every door here at our rural cottage home, Hawk’s Haven, to say nothing of the stinkbugs clinging to our windows, walls, and deck. Eeeewwwww!!!!!!!

There’s bad news for everyone hoping that the stinkbugs will soon be moving on: forget that. They’re actually moving into your home for the fall and winter months, and have no plans for moving on until spring brings a return of longer days and warmer weather. According to the entomologists, the stinkbugs (technically brown marmorated stink bugs) are trying to move into your walls and insulation for a nice winter nap. But since it’s so comfy inside the house, it tricks some of them into thinking it’s time to wake up, and that’s when they show up on your walls, windows, curtains, doorframes, and etc. And then blast off onto you. AAARRRRHHH!!!!

But we digress. The entomologists suggest a two-pronged approach to dealing with stinkbugs: First, seal every entry point. Add weatherstripping to your doors and windows. Close off the flues in your fireplaces and the vents in your attic. Then, if you still see stinkbugs in your house, call in the exterminators.

But what if you’re organic like us and don’t want a pesticide-drenched house? Poor Silence Dogood has been trying to grab invading stinkbugs with her bare hands and toss them back out the door. Needless to say, loathing all bugs as she does and stinkbugs in particular, this has shredded her last nerve and made life for the rest of us here at Hawk’s Haven chancy at best. But fortunately, an alternative is at hand.

Virginia reader Patricia Carey came on our blog to tell us that her family has had success in combating stinkbugs by spraying them with mint alcohol. As Patricia put it, after spraying them, “they fly around for a few seconds and then die.”

Thanks, Patricia! We’re willing to try it if the invasion gets any worse. Trouble is, we have no idea what mint alcohol is, and a Google search did nothing to enlighten us. We doubt it’s Creme de Menthe, but is it rubbing alcohol, grain alcohol, or vodka with fresh mint muddled in, then strained? Or is there something called “mint alcohol” you can go to a store and buy? Please, readers, help us out.

Meanwhile, good luck battling your stinkbug invasions. Don’t let those bad bugs get you down!

Stinkbugs: The invasion has started. September 21, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Alert readers may recall an earlier post, “The stinkbugs are coming!”, in which I quoted entomologists who predicted “an epic year for stinkbugs.” Well, they’re here.

I can’t look up without seeing the ominous shield-shaped silhouette on a window, screen or door. Every time I open a door, one of the evil creatures blasts inside the house, however fast I close it. (In my opinion, stinkbugs don’t fly; they simply blast off from wherever they’re lurking with a roar like a gunning motorcycle, and shoot forward to their next location, which all too often is the front of your shirt.)

This forces me to seize the intruder stinkbug and hurl it back out the door. (I can’t say what the stinkbugs make of this experience, but having to touch a live stinkbug ranks right up there with picking up after the dog or cleaning up hairballs as far as I’m concerned.) One especially audacious stinkbug buzzed right back into the house after its first expulsion, again before I could shut the door, and I had to touch it twice. Eeeewwww!!!!

Yesterday had to be the worst ever, stinkbug-wise. I needed to run errands in town, so I opened the front door, kicking stinkbugs away from the sill as I went out. (Fortunately, none made it inside that time.) I opened the car door; there was a stinkbug inside the door. I stopped for gas; there was a stinkbug on the gas pump. After pumping the gas, I decided to clean the windshields: There were two stinkbugs on the front windshield and one on the rear. And on it went. Worst of all, a stinkbug landed on me while I was reading in bed and the hapless OFB had just fallen asleep. My bloodcurdling scream probably deprived him of at least three of his nine lives (though after recovering his wits, even Ben had to acknowledge that I couldn’t help it).   

AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I hate stinkbugs!!! Go away, you evil things. Find something better to do with yourselves, like plunging en masse into the ocean. At least take up a useful hobby like eating poison ivy or kudzu. It’s starting to look like a very bad fall…

            ‘Til next time,