Friday, December 26, 2014

The great stink bug massacre

Here's another reason -- besides energy conservation -- to seal all the air leaks in a home: Stink bugs.

The great stink bug massacre

Here's another reason -- besides energy conservation -- to seal all the air leaks in a home: Stink bugs.

They are a dull brown. Their wings make a buzzing sound when they fly. They have nasty little feet and it's MOST unpleasant to encounter them on, say, the bathroom drinking glass in the middle of the night. They are gross.

And, unfortunately, they had as banner weekend last weekend. In my house, anyway, they emerged by the dozens. 

An Asian species, the insects -- called brown marmorated stink bug, or Halyomorpha halys -- were first found in this country in Allentown in 1998.  By now, they're in 29 counties in Pennsylvania, including all of southeastern Pennsylvania. And in lots of Jersey, too. They're yet another example of the complications that come with global travel and our shrinking world.

Apparently, they don't actually hurt anything or anyone, although they could well become a pest species because they like apples. Maybe that's why I have so many. I have a big apple tree in my yard. And I have an older house that, I now suspect more than ever, has a few more leaks than I thought.

Since the warm weekend, literally hundreds of them must have emerged in my home. The question is what to do about them. Pesticides are out, as far as I'm concerned.  And I'm NOT squishing them with my bare hands, thanks. So I settled on two sheets of TP per insect. I prowled the curtains and windows, where they seem to congregate. But with that many bugs, you can imagine I used a lot of TP.  And it took a bit of time. My latest technique, which is both easier and, in a devilish way, quite satisfying, is to use the vacuum cleaner. They make a wonderful sharp "thunk" as they get sucked down the tube. 

Last night, I dispatched 80 to the inner recesses of the vacuum cleaner bag. Probably won't be as many tonight since the weather turned cool again. But when it re-warms, look out stink bugs!

Here's a Penn State site on the bugs, and here's a Rutgers site.

Sandy Bauers Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
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Sandy Bauers Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
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