CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A "bug specialist" (read exterminator) recently told me we would see less of the Asian lady beetles and more stink bugs in our future here in the Kanawha Valley.
I immediately contacted Berry Crutchfield, plant and pest biologist with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture's Plant Industries Division, to get the scoop.
"He was referring to the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys). This Asian insect was first reported in Pennsylvania in 1996. It was first found in West Virginia in 2004. It continues to spread throughout the Eastern United States. It feeds on a wide range of fruit trees, small fruits, vegetables, field crops and ornamentals during the growing season. Like the Asian lady beetle, it has the habit of entering homes and other protected locations in the fall to overwinter.
"Control of overwintering stink bugs involves sealing logical entry points to the home with caulking, weather-stripping, screens, etc., during the summer. In addition, consider treating around logical entry points, on the outside of the home, with a perimeter insecticide (example: Ortho Home Defense) in mid-September and mid-October. Stink bugs found on the inside of the home should be removed by vacuum."
Well, isn't that lovely. We get these shield-shaped insects along a sunny wall of our home, and we've tried sealing/spackling/stripping the windows and doors, but they still get in. I guess I'll be vacuuming a lot this fall!
To keep the public up to date on the fight against stink bugs, a research website has been created at http://www.stopbmsb.org.
Ask the Bugman!
Identifying bugs is a labor of love for Daniel Marlos, aka the Bugman. His website, www.whatsthatbug.com, answers questions about bugs from all over the world.
The site has an extensive number of photos, making it possible to do your own sleuthing in categories such as beetles, flies and mites. If you can't find your specimen there, you can submit a photo of the bug in question along with a description, and Marlos and his team may respond (they receive so many questions they can't get to them all).
Ten quintillion insects
According to Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskin, authors of the popular blog www.littlehouseinthesuburbs.com, there are almost 10 quintillion insects in the world. That's not a made-up number, like "gazillion."
It's a real quantity, all 19 zeroes of it.
The article's authors discuss integrated pest management (or, as they call it, real-life gardening). Here are their tips.
Advanced organic prevention
And if they come anyway?