Posts Tagged: stink bug
"Birds do it," sang Ella Fitzgerald. "Bees do it..."
"Even educated" (insert "stink bugs") "do it." But she didn't sing that; that wasn't part of Cole Porter's lyrics.
But it's true. Stink bugs do it. Unfortunately.
We'd rather they NOT. These shield-shaped insects feed on such crops as tomatoes, beans, peaches, pears, apples, pistachios and almonds.
One of the most colorful stink bugs is the red-shouldered stink bug (Thyanta pallidovirens), which gets its name from the thin red band on its "shoulders."
We recently spotted two red-shouldered stink bugs in our family bee garden doing what Ella Fitzgerald called "falling in love."
We do not want a family stink bug garden. The resident praying mantis does not listen when we tell him to eat the stink bugs, not the pollinators. We suspect it's because stink bugs...well...stink. They produce a chemical meant to ward off predators.
So lately, the stink bugs have been targeting the dwarf peach tree and the cherry red tomatoes. As the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program says on its website:
"Stink bugs attack a variety of fruits and vegetables from stone fruits to pears to beans to tomatoes, often leaving blemishes, depressions, or brown drops of excrement. On green tomatoes, damage appears as dark pinpricks surrounded by a light discolored area that remains green or turns yellow when fruit ripen. Areas beneath spots on tomatoes or depressed areas on pears become white and pithy but remain firm as the fruit ripens. On peaches, fruit turns brown and corky."
Back to the birds and the bees and the stink bugs....It's not every day you see stink bugs mating. That's probably not on anyone's bucket list. And it's not every day you see a female lay her eggs on a guara (Guara lendheimeri) stem. That's definitely not on anyone's bucket list.
Indeed, the tiny white eggs are almost microscopic. But if you look closely, they're barrel-shaped.
So, how do you rid your garden of stink bugs? It has to do with a bucket. See, there is a bucket list! You fill the bucket with warm soapy water and drop in the little stinkers. (Personally, I haven't tried this at home because I'm trying to photograph them. Besides, the peach tree and tomato plants have already produced.)
However, Wikihow.com has published its how to kill a stink bug. The soapy water clogs their "pores" and they "drown within 20 to 40 seconds."
Those Wikihow.com folks sure know how to kill a sting bug. And they timed it to boot!
Red-shouldered stink bugs mating. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Stink bug laying eggs on a guara stem. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of stink bug eggs on a guara stem. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
BMSB is now found in 33 states. Although not established in California, it has been identified in Los Angeles and Solano counties. BMBS can fly, but they primarily move into new areas by hitchhiking on vehicles and equipment.
Native to Asia, it's thought that BMSB arrived in packing crates shipped to the Eastern U.S. It has a large host range that includes grapes and many of the fruits and vegetables grown in California. Damage can be substantial when BMSB populations are not identified early and managed appropriately.
Apple growers in the Mid-Atlantic states have reported losses of $37 million representing 18 percent of their fresh apple market. Growers and wineries are also concerned that the “stink” from any bugs accidentally crushed in wine or juice grapes could taint the product with off flavors. This insect should concern homeowners as well, since people in the Mid-Atlantic states have reported large populations of BMBS overwintering in their homes and becoming a nuisance.
BMSBs resemble some other California stinkbugs, such as the rough stink bug, a beneficial predator of other insects. If you think you’ve found a BMSB, or any other odd or unique looking insect pest, you should collect it and bring it to your local university advisor, ag commissioner or state ag department entomologist for proper identification. Early identification of invasive pests is critical for protecting California’s billion dollar agricultural industries.
You can learn more about the BMSB and current research here.
If you've ever been shoulder to shoulder with a redshouldered stink bug--or nose to antennae--you know this is a bug to boot out of your garden.
It's a pest. Behind that shield-shaped body is a pest.
A redshouldered stink bug (Thyanta accerra) roved around our garden this morning, apparently looking for something to eat. Guard the tomatoes! Defend the plums! Hold onto the nectarines! Shelter the squash!
The stink bug feeds on developing fruits and vegetables, piercing the skin with its mouthparts, sucking the juice, and leaving the door open for undesirable microorganisms.
Why are they called stink bugs? Because when disturbed or crushed, they release an unpleasant odor.
About this time of year, you're supposed to look under leaves for the telltale rows of eggs--which, if allowed to mature--will become stink bugs. Pest control advisers tell us to toss the immature and mature stink bugs into a pail of soapy water.
I must admit, though, that the redshouldered stink bug is a work of art, especially when the morning sun sets the red antennae aglow.
This one didn't enter the soapy water.
Redshouldered stink bug on a lavender stem. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Stink bug scoots down a stem. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ever wonder why the stink bug stinks?
The stink bug, from the family Pentamodae, is a shield-shaped insect that tomato growers would love to ban from the face of this earth.
Some 50 species exist in California. The adults are either brown or green. Most stink bugs are plant feeders. However, the species of one subfamily prey on other insects, according to the excellent guidebook, California Insects, written by Jerry A. Powell and Charles L. Hogue and published by the University of California Press.
When a group of us from the UC Davis Department of Entomology worked the soil today at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, west of the central UC Davis campus, we encountered several lizards, lots of centipedes and ladybeetles, and several stink bugs.
So, how did the stink bug get its name? It stinks when it's disturbed. It emits a powerful odor from its thoracic glands to ward off predators.
The stink bugs we unearthed didn't stink. Guess we didn't disturb them enough!