|photo nabbed from HGIC|
Gardeners and farmers, of course, know where they go. They've been increasingly destructive pests with an ever-broadening menu that includes many of our most common and beloved food crops - corn and soybeans included, so watch out when they get to the Midwest - as well as ornamental plants. They suck, literally - as true bugs, they have sucking mouth parts that drain the juice from fruit, leaves, pods, etc. They feed on corn right through the husk, and here
I hold out no hopes for garden relief this summer; we'll be dealing with these bugs for a while. (Research is happening on a parasitic wasp that might help.) But - and I still say this with fingers crossed - whereas the last two winters we've lived with stink bugs in the house, buzzing across the room and slamming into lamps, crawling up the wall next to the bed, hunkering down on the toothbrush - this winter has been nearly bug-free. I've cleaned up a few dead ones and flushed a few live ones, but the jar-with-a-little-dish-soap I'd prepared to collect and kill in goes unused. Last winter I had upstairs and downstairs jars, and collected several bugs in each every single day. So is it just our house they don't like this year? Having discussed stink bugs with lots of people of late, I conclude that their habits are erratic at best (the bugs, I mean, not the people), and you just can't predict which house or garden will be attractive to them when. But our house is accessible - full of holes - and I sure as heck had them outside last summer, and at least some of them came indoors early in the fall. Are they all hiding in the attic or the shed, due to the relatively warm winter? (In their natural habitat, I believe they hibernate in cracks and crevices just above freezing. Warm houses are actually detrimental to them, since staying active all winter burns energy they don't replenish (they don't eat in winter) and many die before spring even when we don't pounce on them and consign them to a watery doom.) Are they all hiding behind the books I never get around to reading, among the appliances I never use, or under the clothes I need to sort out? We had some in September, so where have they gone?
If found, please do not return to my house or garden. I have had enough, and I do not want to find one in my bed, on my plants, or inside my underwear while I was wearing it, ever again. I suspect this is just a respite, but any time without them is fine with me.
Much info to be found here if you want to read it. If you live in a region not yet invaded and want to invent a little Stay-Away-Stink-Bug dance, I'm sure it would be a big YouTube hit.