Return of the Stinkbugs
Bay Weekly readers are asking me where the stinkbugs are.
Stinkbugs may not have plagued you this summer, but I can assure you that they are building their population.
After my fall, I have not been able to spray my few remaining peach trees or my vegetable garden. Surveying the peach trees, I could not find one peach that had not been infested with stinkbug stings. Every remaining peach was cat-faced from stings, with several stinkbugs actively feeding on them.
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The last batch of sweet corn that I harvested had only partially filled ears because most of the silk had been eaten by the stinkbugs. As I was picking the corn, stinkbugs were crawling over my hands and up my arms. Stinkbugs are also visibly crawling on the tomatoes.
I have seen stinkbugs varying in size from as little as the head of a pencil eraser to as big as a nickel, and in colors from pale greenish-white to gray brown.
As soon as the weather cools, they will be looking for warm winter quarters. Last year, I discovered that hanging pheromone traps 25 feet or so away from the house caught many. We seemed to have had fewer entering the house. Don’t place the traps near the house or entrance because the traps collect less than half of the insects it attracts.
A friend goes to the liquor store for cardboard boxes with dividers. She closes the cover, punches small holes in the side of the boxes and places them here and there on her property. When the weather gets cold and she sees that they have a hefty population settling in for the winter, she burns the boxes in a bonfire. I never dared to ask her if they stunk.
Stinkbugs like to overwinter in close quarters, such as under shingles, in cracks in walls or in lumber. Take care when bringing in firewood because if the wood has been split, there are likely many cracks for the stinkbugs to hide in.