Check out this crazy article in Wired by @bug_girl about the coming stink bug infestation. Video at the bottom offers tips as to how to keep them out of your house. Also, Owens Organics can help you can use PCO for the garden, and Best Yet Organic Pest Control to keep them out of the house.
Alien Invasion: Stink Bugs Are Coming
- 8:07 PM
It’s fall in North America. Leaves are turning bronze and yellow. Evenings are getting cooler with that wonderful fall crisp smell. And a lot of little animals are outside your home, looking in and thinking that you look warm and cozy. Hey, you’ve got hot cider, too! Perhaps… they should join you?
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys, was accidentally introduced via importation of packing material from China in the late 1990s. Their name says it all: Stink Bug. It’s not just that they come inside your house. It’s not that they, like some ladybugs and boxelder bugs, like to nestle down in your eves with thousands of their friends. It’s that they smell bad on top of it.
And there can be a lot of them. Thousands of them gather together; once one finds a nice spot to sleep off the winter, it summons friends through chemical signals. If you try to vacuum them up, they stinkify your vacuum filters.
I can best describe the smell of BMSB as “cilantro shampoo”; cilantro with a tang of soap. I happen to love cilantro, and can never get enough of it. But while I’m gathering up my stink bugs for a stir fry, a lot of other people are gagging and trying desperately to evict their alien intruders.
BMSB is a nuisance pest in homes, but it is also a major agricultural pest. The top photo is a close-up look at Brown Marmorated Stink Bug mouthparts. Looks like a hypodermic needle, doesn’t it? These “piercing-sucking” mouthparts are inserted into plants to suck out juice–BSMB especially like fruits. As these bugs spread across the country, estimates of crop damage have ballooned from millions tobillions of dollars per year.
Don’t worry, USDA is on the case — Oh. Oh Dear.
A multi-state effort with over 50 researchers is trying to track the spread of the pest and find ways to control it. As part of that project, USDA researchers launched a national citizen science project,The Great Stink Bug Count, to have people count and report the numbers of bugs they found in their homes between September 15 and October 15, the time of peak activity.
Alas, Peak Brown Marmorated Stink Bug activity happened to coincide with the federal shutdown this year. In an interview with Entomology Today, Doug Pfeiffer, a Virginia Tech entomologist working with USDA scientists on the BMSB project said:
“An important part of the seasonal biology of the brown marmorated stink bug is its movement to protected places for the winter… Just when entomologists are getting set to take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to better understand the brown marmorated stink bug, federal research funding is put in park…
Any delays in our research, such as the one we’re facing now, will also delay possible solutions for managing the stink bugs, and will ultimately cost farmers and consumers millions of dollars.”
The study’s website is offline, and emails to federal scientists involved receive an auto-out-of-office reply.
So how can I get rid of these buggers in my house?
When stink bugs invade homes, they mostly come inside and chill. They aren’t eating anything, and ingestion is needed for many types of pesticides to work. You can manage to kill a few stink bugs in your home with pesticides, if applied directly. But then you just have the fetid stench of dead and decaying stinking bugs as a new funky note in your home perfume.
Physically removing the insects once they are inside remains the best control. Some creative folks working for Texas Ag Extension Service came up with some solutions for the problem of residual vacuum stench. This diagram demonstrates how you can alter your vacuum to suck up the little stinkers without permanently making your canister or filters smell like cilantro and dead bugs.
Of course, far better than removing the insects is preventing them from getting in your house in the first place. This excellent video from Mike Raupp at the University of Maryland Extension Service has tips on how to stink bug-proof your home or apartment.
(Random aside: There is some genetic evidence for the love/hate relationship some of us have with cilantro.)
Find PCO Outdoor Pest Control here(for the garden), Find Best Yet here (For the house)::