« Sparkless Sledgehammer | Home | Stormbag — got water? »

October 1, 2010

The rise of the brown marmorated stink bug

Asdfghj

Seems like every time I open a newspaper, whether it be the New York Times or the Washington Post, there's yet another story about the invasion of stink bugs (above and below).

Don't be scared by the pictures: they're approximately 5/8 of an inch long and they don't bite.

My house is awash with Halyomorpha halys, in every room and window, on ceilings, walls and floor, in door frames and buried in my clothes, closets, it's all stink bug all the time at bookofjoe World Headquarters®.

A Washington Post live chat participant this past Tuesday, in an exchange published in this past Wednesday's Washington Post Q&A with University of Maryland entomologist Michael Raupp, noted that "I had this nutty idea that if I smashed a bunch of them with a trowel, their own stink would alert other stink bugs to a danger and scare them away. It seemed to work. When I went out about an hour later, there were none."

Replied Raupp, "You might have something here. We noticed the same thing in the field the other day while collecting them. Once they released their stinky odor, other stink bugs scattered."

Maybe tomorrow I'll try out this technique.

The problem is, the odor of a mass of crushed stink bugs might not be worth the cure.

Here's the Q&A.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Smelly insects, sadly, are here to stay

Stink bugs are moving from orchards, cornfields and gardens to suburban homes, office buildings and hotels — and experts say the invasion might only get worse.

Q. I remember stink bugs around here when I was growing up in the 1960s. The current "invasion" is a new species, but what are the differences? And the predators of the domestic species won't go after the new ones? Why?

A. These stinkers are pretty much fresh off the boat from Asia. Unfortunately, they left their natural enemies behind. Most of the predators and parasites in the United States seem unable to keep up with their ability to increase, although I have seen praying mantises, assassin bugs and spiders killing them. The Agriculture Department is searching for biological control agents that can help in the battle. We will keep working and also keep our fingers crossed.

Q. What is the best DIY way to eliminate them once they have invaded your home? I know how to seal cracks, but how to you eliminate the ones that made it in? Please discuss the normal life span of this bug and how they multiply. Is the life of a stink bug as short as the 10-day life of a fly?

A. Once inside, just vacuum them up and dispose of the bag. These rascals live a long time. Adults entering your home now will emerge in spring, move outside and lay eggs on plants. The young are called nymphs, and they will feed for several weeks during the summer before molting into adults. In New Jersey, there was a single generation each year, but in parts of China there might be five generations. We suspect that there were two generations in parts of Maryland this year.

Q. Here in Potomac, the stink bugs have been prolific, both outside and in. In the past several days, the ones outside have almost vanished. Weather has been a lot cooler. Any relationship here, or are they all inside by now?

A. Great observation. They are now moving out of crops into wintering refuges. A little more rearranging is expected over the next two or three weeks, and then things should settle down . . . until late winter and early spring, when they try to escape from your house.

Q. There were about 40 stink bugs on my outer porch wall. I had this nutty idea that if I smashed a bunch of them with a trowel, their own stink would alert other stink bugs to a danger and scare them away. It seemed to work. When I went out about an hour later, there were none. Science or coincidence?

A. You might have something here. We noticed the same thing in the field the other day while collecting them. Once they released their stinky odor, other stink bugs scattered.

Q. Are they going to be coming back again next year? Or is this a one-time thing?

A. Yes, they are here to stay.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Q. What is the meaning of "marmorated?"

Brownmarmoratedstinkbug(halyomorphahalys)13mm

A. Oh.

I figured you wouldn't be satisfied with that, so I had my crack research team drill down; they found this:

Uiygiohojp

Feel better?

I know I do.

...................................

Breaking news, published today at 4:13 p.m.: Professor Raupp earlier this week wrote, "On a recent foray to study stink bugs in a nursery, I encountered record numbers of one of Mother Nature's most awesome six-legged predators, the wheel bug, Arilus cristatus."

More: "As I wandered through the stink bug-laden nursery, almost every infested sycamore tree had several wheel bugs in attendance. While I watched, wheel bugs stealthily stalked and assassinated their stinky marmorated cousins, bug vs. bug."

The caption for a video on his site: "The voracious wheel bug drains the life from the stink bug in a matter of minutes."

October 1, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c5dea53ef013487e149db970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The rise of the brown marmorated stink bug:

Comments

Everyone's url for reference :) What we deal with down here!

Oh the pain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI7Ghu1FpnQ&ob=av3e

Point is get over it and deal with it!!

Posted by: LoveBugsMayNotStinkButStillNotNice! | Oct 2, 2010 2:32:56 AM

Don't let Humphrey eat one of these bugs out of curiosity or cat boredom, they'll cause some serious intestinal discomfort. And it's usually about 48 hours before things settle down...

Posted by: Jesse | Oct 2, 2010 12:48:15 AM

This is becoming an important issue for farmers accross the United States. The pest has been collected and identified in Oregon and California. If it becomes established in California we're in trouble because so much of the nation's food supply is produced here. Researchers had better get busy and find a solution in short order. http://www.pestcontrolcenter.com/store

Posted by: Harry Case | Oct 1, 2010 7:27:45 PM

Hi, Joe: What else does the wheel bug chase or devour?

Posted by: Diana McLellan | Oct 1, 2010 6:07:52 PM

HOW can they proliferate in some houses and nary one in others?

We have the little dudes here in SW PA and I get the usual in the house,

ants, flies, spiders, but NONE of stinky!

Posted by: Joe Peach | Oct 1, 2010 5:46:58 PM

In the fly fishing world these beasts are known as "terrestrials." As we approach fall, Joeworld along the Blue Ridge range, has a paucity of the aquatic protein that Trout need to feed on and consequently grasshoppers, crickets and beetles falling into the stream become important sources of protein.

So, is there a "stink bug" fly? Hemiptera - such as the "water skater" and similar members of Order have specific flies - but a general terrestrial fly will do where significant numbers of stink bugs populate the stream. Here is a fun link to a GREAT fly fishing magazine: http://bit.ly/ahV289

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Oct 1, 2010 5:14:34 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.