The Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are still here. And, please, don’t call them marmalade stink bugs. Can you imagine the folks at the Marmalade Marketing Association trying to convince people to eat more orange peels, and now they’re being associated with stink bugs? They must be pulling out their hair.
This whole stink bug thing has gotten out of hand. Literally. Last night, I was going through the mail and found one on my hand. The day before, I found one not just in the refrigerator, but inside a plastic container with an onion. I’d swear the bug wasn’t in there when I put it away, but I don’t think it could unscrew the lid and crawl in on its own. Then again, I could be wrong.
When I pulled out the department store coat box of Christmas wrapping paper, guess what I found? Oh, yes. There were at least two dozen of the marmorated dears having a little nap, nestled amongst the sheets (no pun intended) of paper. So, somehow they navigated the tightly closed lid and got in there. I haven’t had it open since last year.
I’ve even found them in my hair, for Pete’s sake.
Considering I’ve been throwing at least a half a dozen of them outside every day this winter, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Of course, that’s nothing compared to last Fall. Who can forget them congregating by the hundreds on walls and door screens? And then I had a terrible thought. Wasn’t the cold weather supposed to kill them? What if they’re laying eggs in my house? What if each bug was turning into a hundred? Where would the madness end?
I went in search of answers. And, I’m glad I did. The ever-helpful University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center put my mind at ease. First of all, I shouldn’t have been throwing them outside; I should’ve been drowning them in soapy water. Or, killing them by any means necessary. Now, they’re having little Viking funerals as I toss them into the woodstove.
The HGIC also recommends putting soapy water in the container of a shop vac and dispatching of them that way. Or, you can stuff a knee-high pantyhose into the end of your vacuum cleaner, attaching it firmly with a rubber band, and just suck them into the pantyhose, then plop the stocking into soapy water. Unless you want your vacuum cleaner to smell like stink bugs (and, it will reek), don’t just suck them up into the bag.
The stink bugs are actually in a, “type of dormancy,” according to the HGIC, and they, “do not lay eggs, bite people or pets, feed on anything, nest or reproduce.” Whew, was I glad to hear that. No need to fear waking up covered in the stinky things.
As far as Spring goes, that seems to be a wait-and-see type of thing. The hope is that between, “alternating very cold winter temperatures with moderate winter temperatures may help reduce their numbers in 2011,” the HGIC informed me.
Make no mistake, the stink bug is an invasive species; think Japanese beetles. And, yes, they did come from Asia, too. Oh, and it is here to stay. But, pesticides don’t work, and they’re more harmful to people than they are to the stink bugs.
With any luck, some sort of trap will be devised before they try to sneak into our homes this coming Fall.