Last year was the first I heard or saw the bug known as a ‘stink bug’. It is one nasty looking bug. In my mind it has a prehistoric look to it with its hard, shield-like back. It is also called a Shield Bug by some. All through the winter I would occasionally see one or two crawling around on the walls. I am told they were ‘wintering over’. Now they are out in droves all over. Most of the stink bugs are shades of brown but there is also a bright green version too. I have seen a few of these as well. They are called stink bugs because when crushed, they exude a very offensive smell. Apparently they can also exude this odor when they feel endangered but this seems a stretch to me. (Do bugs actually feel endangered?)
Almost everyone I know is talking about how many of these pests they have at their house. I guess I am pretty lucky to only be seeing a half a dozen or so every day in my house. Others seem to have hundreds if not more. But the worst is yet to come if we are to believe the available information on how these bugs proliferate and how destructive they are.
Stink bugs were first observed in Pennsylvania in the mid to late 90’s and have since spread to 33 states. The East Coast has been particularly hard hit by them. While they don’t bite people, they do bite all kinds of juicy crops including apples, peaches, cucumbers, squashes – really anything juicy. Last summer, I noticed that our apparently very healthy tomato crop was suddenly getting little bites on all the tomatos Stink bugs have a long sharp mouth which they insert into the fruit of plants to suck out the fructose. Last year they are reputed to have cost millions of dollars of damage to the apple crop in Pennsylvania and peaches
in New York.
They proliferate quickly, laying eggs every few weeks during the summer. Stink bugs are thought to have come from Asia and they have no predators here to prevent their growing infestation. Apparently only a few pesticides work on them but, not wanting to use a pesticide, I have been looking for an alternative. The bad news is there isn’t much available. A few websites have some suggestions on how to build traps for them but, given the magnitude of the problem, this doesn’t seem like an approach with a lot of promise. There is no good news as far as
I can see with regard to stink bugs. Any suggestions would be great.