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Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Stinky Invasion!

I love bugs, I really do.  They are such an important part of my garden, I know that sounds odd but it’s true.  Bugs of all kinds play a very important role in gardening. I love to watch the pollinators, I love to see the giant beetles that help break down old tree stumps, I even love the worms that help to turn my kitchen scraps into compost!  Right now though, I am not loving, these….
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The brown marmorated stink bug.
These little armored tank bugs hale from Asia and arrived in Maryland around 2003.  They were first seen in Pennsylvania in 1998 and have since worked their way down to as far south as West Virginia.  These bugs are harmless to humans and animals, they don’t bite, they don’t sting, they won’t eat your house and they don’t mate indoors.  Where they are a problem and potentially a huge one is for farmers, vineyards and orchards.  You see these harmless looking bugs suck the juices out of fruits and vegetables and one local Maryland orchard in Maryland is blaming a 30% apple crop loss on these bugs.

The adults emerge in late spring and mate. The eggs hatch into small red & black nymphs that go through five molts. Adults begin to search for overwintering sites starting in September through the first half of October which is why so many people are having problems now!
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Unless your house is 100 percent sealed at every crack, crevice and corner, these guys are going to get in.  Chances are that even if it is sealed that well, they are still going to get in just from you going in and out of your house.  Manual control is currently the only way to handle these guys, that means gathering them by hand.  A jar of water with a drop of dish soap to break the surface tension will drown them.  You can use your vacuum them up as long as they won’t be crushed in the process of doing that.  These guys stink and when the stink is released it attracts more to the area.  Currently the departments of Agricultural are hard at work trying to find a solution to these guys.  I’m sure it’s pretty important to them because I suspect these are going to become a problem all over the United States.
For more information check out these sites…
Home & Garden Information Maryland

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