Stinkbugs

Stinkbugs

A couple of years ago, I noticed a new pest attacking my tomatoes. These shield-shaped, gray insects, about a half-inch long, would attach themselves to my ripening tomatoes and pierce the skins, which would cause a rapid decay of the fruit. I shrugged it off as yet another garden pest, and thought little else of it until I started seeing these things inside the house.

Over the next couple of years, we saw more and more of them. Essentially, they were mostly harmless bugs. They didn’t bite, didn’t bore into wood, or destroy much of anything except the occasional tomato. However, winter would come, and these bugs wouldn’t go away. They seemed to move into the house in larger numbers. Their main annoyance was the smell they emitted as you crushed them, a pungent, unpleasant, spicy odor.

We weren’t alone. Our neighbors began to report a similar infestation. At the time, we still didn’t know what to call them, but because of the smell, we called them stinkbugs. As it happens, that’s their name. 

According to a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer, stinkbugs came to the region by way of train, riding with goods shipped from — you guessed it — China. With no natural predators in this region, the damn bugs have been proliferating like mad, and when the weather turns cold, they move en masse into the house. Luckily, they seem to prefer the guest room/office, which of course isn’t good news for guests, or Randy when he’s working there. The sound of these things flying clumsily around the room distract to madness. 
So far, we’ve found no real solution to ridding ourselves of these things. One time, Randy bombarded one with a can of Raid, but it had no effect. Not even a blast in the microwave oven did any noticeable harm. So far, we just coexist. 

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