Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The OTHER stink bug

As if stink bugs are not enough, be on the lookout for western conifer seed bugs.

The OTHER stink bug

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Western conifer seed bug (Photo by Steve Jacobs)
Western conifer seed bug (Photo by Steve Jacobs)

A while ago, when the stink bugs started waking up from their winter snooze, I wrote about how officials think this will be a bad year for the dratted things.

At the time, another similar insect was showing up in my house. It was longer, slightly bigger and somewhat more "dinosaur" looking, with big hind legs.

Turns out that a Cornell Cooperative Extension agent, Dave Thorp, came across the article and generously offered a potential identification.

"Might your other brown insect be western conifer seed bug?" he wrote in an email. "If so, you likely have cone-bearing conifers within view from your house."

Which I do.

When crushed, he says, these insects "have a blue colored goo and while they smell bad, some say the odor is like apple. More of an apple scented candle. Kind of sickish sweet."

Apparently, people confuse them with the brown barmorated stink bug in part because of the alternating white and brown bars on the antennae.

 I checked out the photos. Sure enough! I think that's exactly what I have.

In addition to the stink bugs.

Swell.

(If you think you have them, too, here's info from Penn State.)

Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
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About this blog

GreenSpace is about environmental issues and green living. Bauers also writes a biweekly GreenSpace column about environmental health issues for the Inquirer’s Sunday “Health” section.

Sandy Bauers is the environment reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. She lives in northern Chester County with her husband, two cats, a large vegetable garden and a flock of pet chickens.

Reach Sandy at sbauers@phillynews.com.

Sandy Bauers Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
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