If you live in America, you know it has been unusually hot. During the week of March 18, 3,550 heat records were set.
The spring heat has brought us a large new crop of unwanted visitors. High on the list is the Halyomorpha halys, better know as Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, or “stinkers” for short. If you have not yet come across these pests, you probably soon will. They are spreading across the country like wildfire.
These bugs are hardy sons of bitches. They are about ¾ of an inch long, and have a very hard shell. They hibernate in the winter. As a result of the early spring, they are coming out in droves. A few pics of what to look for:
I happened to be in Florida over the weekend and was very surprised to learn that stinkers are a problem there. I thought they were just an issue for the North-East. The Florida agriculture Department had this to say about the arrival of Stinkers in the Sunshine state:
US distribution of this pest is a moving target. These bugs are suited ideally to hitchhiking with items moved by human activity. In Florida, a specimen was caught in a trap next to a commercial ship berth at Port Everglades. Additionally, several specimens have been found in homes and vehicles of seasonal residents, or residents who moved to Florida from various infested states. It feeds on a wide range of hosts, including peach, apple, pear, fig, mulberry, grape, raspberry, citrus and persimmon, as well as on row crops such as snap bean and soybean.
Stinkers are a new phenomenon in America. They came to this country from China. They were first observed in 1998 in Allentown PA. They have been proliferating and spreading ever since. They kill crops and are a nuisance. These bugs have the potential to cause a great deal of damage. They have a needle-like nose that bores into fruit/corn and other crops. This ruins the crops. Last year some poor bastard in Maryland had his house taken over by tens of thousands of stinkers. The bugs won, the homeowner lost:
Photo: Bruce Krasting
If you see one of these bugs, don’t step on it. You’ll regret it if you do. When crushed, they stink. Your house will smell awful and you’ll need a new pair of shoes (hence the name). Pesticides will kill them, but that is not a good solution either. If they die in the walls, they’ll rot and stink as if they were crushed. The odor of their death can bring another problem. The smell of the dead stinkers attracts carpet beetles, which can be as problematic as the stinkers themselves.
So far stinkers have been found in 30-seven states. They hitch a ride on cars and trucks; by the end of 2012 they will be in every state.
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