Friday, September 24, 2010

Stink Bugs - Satan in a Shell?

Bugs! I’m not supposed to be writing about bugs, I’m supposed to be writing about wine, guitars, smoked meats, and other marvelous things that make life worth living. But no, for the third year in a row, a swarm of STINK BUGS has descended upon my home, and in particular, my screened-in deck.

I fancy myself to be a bit of a trendsetter. I like to discover new bands and share them with my friends. I love to find new little known wines and share them with friends. CA red blends – they’re great people! Drink them now, don’t wait two years until they are “deemed hip” by Food TV or some other source. But I digress, my point is that I don’t want to be a trend setter with regard to bug infestations! But stink bugs are the new black! I was just interviewed by a reporter from the local paper yesterday, and today the Washington Post has a piece on stink bugs.

So here is my stink bug story. We first started seeing stink bugs about three summers ago. As mentioned, we have a screened-in deck and we would find 5-10 a day the first year, 10-20 a day last year. This Spring, we had what at the time I referred to a “whole f**king lot of them!,” maybe 20-30 a day. I checked all of the screens, caulked any open spaces, and generally tried to seal up any entrance areas. They stopped for a while, but then started getting really bad again in July. Now we are seeing well over 100 day inside the screened area of the deck.

They annoy the crap out of me. Our neighborhood is built on central Maryland’s largest ant hill. I know nuisance bugs. But the stink bugs are pushing me over the edge. We have two small kids who love to play on the deck and constantly come in and out of the house from there. We used to leave the door leading out to the deck open any time the weather was nice. Now we have to leave it closed to keep the stink bugs from coming into the house. We eat dinner out there most nights. I now have to head out ten minutes in advance to vacuum up all of the bugs.

They are sucking the life out of me. But this brings me to the best way I have found for dealing with them. We bought a $30 shopvac at Lowes just for them. We bought it last weekend and it already seems to have a permanent stink. But sucking up the stink bugs brings me a new joy. Each one makes a satisfying little “phlupth” sound. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather be hearing my guitar through a magical little germanium fuzz pedal, but I’ll take what I can get.

For those of you with just a few or a real desire to spray chemicals around your house, I have found that Terro ant and spider spray kills the bugs pretty quickly. To try to use it on the number of them we have would be impossible. Sealing should be the best method for keeping them out. That said, clearly I missed a spot or two. The shop-vac works like a charm. It smells to empty it though.

Fall used to be my favorite season. If stink bug invasions are the new changing leaves, I might be changing my tune. Rather than basking in my hammock (which let’s be honest, I don’t really have time for with two small children), I spend my outdoors time vacuuming up 100+ bugs per day.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this article! My screened in deck has gone from being my retreat to my nightmare. I bought a cheap butterfly net from the dollar store and knock them off the screen into the net, I then put them in a plastic bag and tie it up good and put it in the garbarge. The first time I did this, my conscience got the best of me and I rescued them. Now, I do that, shop vac them, flush them down the toilet when they find their way into my home, etc. No more feeling bad! They also seem bolder this year! Thank you for this article!!

    Sincerely, Linda in Delaware