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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Sick of Stink Bugs

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Sick of Stink Bugs

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hugo reyes--dude
Along with the rest of the east coast, it seems, we are being invaded by brown marmorated stink bugs. I just had lunch on the patio, and I counted more than 100 on the back of the house. We find them constantly in the house; during last night's "check for arth" (undertaken nightly to rid our bedroom of the spiders and insects that end up there on a regular basis during the summer), Bobby found four in the bedroom. When I bring in the laundry, it's full of them. I felt something tickling the back of my leg the other day and assumed one of the Goldens had brushed me with his whiskers or tail but, upon scratching my leg, found a stinkbug crawling up my dress. When I opened the silverware drawer while fixing lunch, there was one crushed between the drawer and the counter.

They are apparently an invasive species from Asia. Someone asked about them at the IPM lecture at HHF the other week. I seem to recall that they first appeared in Pennsylvania. Now, apparently, they're assaulting the whole east coast, doing terrible damage to crop and annoying the hell out of everyone else. Both the Baltimore Sun and the Carroll County Times have articles on them today. No one really knows what to do about them.

And they do stink. If you piss them off a little, they smell like cilantro, which can work well as a herb in some foods but is not the most pleasant-smelling plant in the world. If you really piss them off, they get that chemical-candy smell, like squash bugs (which they're related to) but not quite as Jolly Rancherish.

ETA: Okay, we just caught about 30 of them in the bedroom. They were coming in the air conditioning unit.

The air conditioning unit has been removed, and the chickens just enjoyed a treat.

However, even after washing, my hands still smell of cilantro.


This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • (no subject) -
    • People do not realize they tag along in your stuff

      Right before I left the WAU, a big ol' roach took up residence in the kitchen sink. The office was an old house, so we always had "guests"--ladybugs, wasps, and mice in the winter (which I would catch with peanut butter and release outside)--but I drew the line at roaches because of what you said: They're hitchhikers, and I was so worried about bringing one home in my purse! Thankfully, I got out of there before that happened.

      Cilantro is a common seasoned here and now I will never think of it the same.

      That's me, ruining the smell of foods by associating them with bugs. ;) Bobby and I grow cilantro in the early summer and are both quite fond of it in Southwestern dishes. It really does not smell nice, though!
      • (no subject) -
        • Out of morbid curiousity have you ever had one of those dried seasoned crickets on a stick?

          I've never actually seen them! :D When I was younger, I liked insects too much to want to eat them. Now I don't on account of vegetarianism, so I'm going to have to experience it vicariously through you. ;) (The desire to try weird foods like that is one of the biggest temptations to eat animals again.)

          I get a kick that our conversations keep coming back to bugs this week.

          You'll learn with me that this isn't so odd. ;) When I was a wee 'gund, I wanted to be an entomologist. I used to memorize the Latin family names and everything. I still really love insects to this day, so they end up in conversations with me a lot!
          • (no subject) -
            • I could think of a few that I'd like to keep outside in their space and not inside in mine! :) But, generally, I do try to understand the purpose of all critters, no matter how unsavory, and if they're in their space, we're cool. (Then there are quite a few I don't mind sharing space with, like small to reasonably sized spiders.) There are very few where I draw a blank as far as their purpose in this world. Ticks and roaches are two of them.
  • YUCK!

    Ahhhh..so that's what the stupid things are. We've had a few get inside - amazing it's only been a few considering how not tightly constructed the old place is. They sound like tiny buzz saws when they fly around the lights. Perhaps the cats are getting them. I know the cats have made toys out of dozens of the poor grasshoppers. The Carroll County times picture was a but fuzzy on my copy - wasn't sure if it was the same bug. They also seem to like to cling to the screens.

    First it's the invasion of the Bed Bug, now Stink Bugs....Anyone know when the next 7 or 17 year locusts are due?
    • Re: YUCK!

      I was wondering if you had them too! Since they seem to have overtaken Carroll County, I figured you did. Bobby's parents called us tonight, worried because we're supposed to go apple-pickin' tomorrow, and apparently, Baugher's was on the news tonight because they have stink bugs so badly, and my inlaws were wondering if they were still open for pick-your-own.

      They love our screens as well. Which is fine by me, as it's somewhat enjoyable to flick them off from the inside. >:^)

      Anyone know when the next 7 or 17 year locusts are due?

      Let's see ... last time they were here, I'd just started at the WAU. That would have been 2004, so ... 2021.
      • Re: YUCK!

        Hmmmm...from 2004 - that would put the 7 year fellows due in next year. They were worse in the city than out here - mostly because in the city there were very few places for them to dig or burrow into. You had to keep everything closed up tight - including air vents into your car! It was really annoying! I wonder how long they'll stick around?
  • (no subject) - satismagic
    • Indeed! I actually really like insects, just not stinky ones, mean ones, or the ones that suck the life out of my plants. Why can't we be overrun with something cool--like click beetles? :D
  • Euw. At least they don't bite? It is the year of the flea here. And while Kurt and Becky have remained unscathed, me & the cats are a favorite treat. Frontline all around!
    • They do not bite, thank goodness. They have impressive probosces for sucking stuff out of plants, but apparently haven't figured out how to use them on people yet! :^P They're quite safe to gather up in your hands, if you don't mind smelling like cilantro or chemical candy afterward. (At the rate they're spreading over here, you may have them in Washington before long!)

      Fleas--yikes! You have my sympathies. I've only been bitten a few times, but dang, those things itch like crazy.
      • Our AC went out in July. By mid August we were infested. We used Frontline on the cats and an organic citronella spray on the furniture (because pyrethrins are toxic and the fleas are mostly resistant to them anyway, according to my vet.) I vacuumed and vacuumed and did scads of laundry. It took 2 weeks before I noticed I wasn't being bitten. Before that I had hundreds of bites on my feet and ankles and boy howdy was I miserable...

        Now we are getting the occasional bite and it's still 2 weeks before we can use the Frontline again. My vet said it's the worst flea season he's seen in years around these parts.
        • When we brought Alex home, little did we know that he was infested with fleas. He was too young for any sort of flea control, so I'd wait till he fell asleep and pick them off of him by hand and drop them into a cup of scalding hot water, counting the weeks till we could wash him with a flea shampoo, worrying all the while that they'd infest the carpet. Thankfully, they didn't, and we've not seen them since. *touch wood* I hope yours also make a full retreat--and soon! That sounds beyond miserable.
  • Oooh, you do IPM? Cool, they're really big on IPM here; lots of my coworkers are doing that sort of thing in one form or another. I don't really but my stuff (using plants/plant extracts to protect grain stores from insects) kind of links in nicely.

    I've never seen stink bugs over here - we have lots of shield bugs related to those, but they're all harmless and sweet and non-stinky. Bah that they've got so invasive where you are!
    • Oooh, you do IPM?

      We do organic gardening, so we try to use IPM as much as possible. :) We did spray some of our plants with a sesame seed extract this year in hopes that it would curb the squash bug larvae and the flea beetles and whatever was eating our baby fruit trees. It seemed to, although we did a lot of handpicking as well on the squash bugs! The chickens love them, though. :D

      I've never seen stink bugs over here

      I hope you don't. We've always had the green kind, and I'd see one or two per summer, and they were never a problem. They were kind of cool, even. The brown, invasive kind, though ... what a pain they've been! Some of our farmers here in Carroll are losing 20% of their crops to them. :(
  • Ugh! Is there no way of tackling them? Will they die off with the colder weather?
    • They apparently resist all but the most toxic insecticides--those that people are generally discouraged from using. My husband tells me that Congressional representatives from our area are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to allow the use of any insecticide to kill them. This does not make us happy. At all.

      They apparently hibernate over the winter, which is why they're so attracted to people's houses: They're trying to get in to hide out for the winter. O.O
      • This does not make us happy. At all.

        It would not me either - I wonder if there is anything that feeds on them?
        • My chickens sure like them! :D My husband mentioned something about them being an invasive species so there are not a lot of natural predators.
  • Wow, your bug infestations are sure scary. (Sure enough, after your post about squash bugs, I did find bugs in my zucchini and pumpkin plants and panicked - but it appears that European squash bugs are less vicious than "your" squash bugs. They certainly did less damage to the plants than our neighbours' peacock did when it hunted for the bugs... And "our" stink bugs are fairly peaceful, too. Fun fact: in Germany, cilantro was named Wanzenkraut ("bug-weed") for a long time before the Greek name (coriander, which I assume is related to coris, meaning bug, as well) caught on. It's probably still Wanzenkraut in dialect...
    Anyway, they've never come inside, and I do hope it stays that way! The only pests we have to deal with are fruit flies, mosquitoes, and, on occasion, ants...
    I suppose our lack of air-conditioning units does have its perks after all! >_>)

    Edited at 2010-09-25 12:27 pm (UTC)
    • I'm glad that if you have to have squash bugs that they're not on the order of ours. They didn't do much damage this year, but that was because I spent a half-hour each morning, turning over every leaf and handpicking them. (Then a lot of our squash plants ended up dying anyway because of bacterial wilt transmitted by cucumber beetles and powdery mildew. Grr!)

      We use both cilantro and coriander here. People differ as to which one they think is "correct." I'm amused at the meaning, though, in light of the way these stink bugs smell!

      We also had a milder variety of stink bugs around here before this infestation. They were bright green, and I used to see a couple per year; they didn't do any damage (I suppose they could, but they never occurred in large enough populations, around here anyway), and they had no interest in getting into the house. They were kind of cool, and it was neat to see them because they were such a nice color. These? Have no redeeming virtues, as far as I can tell. I try to find the place of all living things in the larger cycles of nature, but these are an invasive species, so I don't have to this time. They don't belong here, and we'll be better off once they go away!

      The chickens love them, however. ;)
  • Yuck! A plague of stink bugs from Asia. If this was fiction, it would certainly rank as a metaphor (or rather a rank metaphor).
  • Yuck! Ick! Ewww! and all sort of bug related onomatopoeias (squash!) I hate hate hate bugs especially because in a city you never find cute little things but huge, monstrous cockroaches that freak me out. Ramses used to enjoy hunting them but the lazy fat lady cannot be bothered!
    • I wanted to be an entomologist when I was a kid, so I'll run enthusiastically to inspect about 98% of insects and a goodly number of their multi-legged cousins as well. But roaches? Yeah, they fall into that 2% that I can do without. When I was volunteering at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, I saw some roaches that were so big that I think they must have been older than me. I think the building was constructed around them. The hell with feeding them to the fish; we more had to worry about them feeding on the fish! I didn't know that roaches could get so big!
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