At my last garden club talk, (to the Branford Garden Club, apparently the largest Garden Club in Connecticut–who knew?) I happened to mention that I had found a dead Brown Marmorated stink bug while doing my spring cleaning and that I almost would have preferred finding a rat because I would have known how to deal with a pest like that.
Needless to say, that was a fairly shocking statement (but it really is how I felt!) and a lot of the women wanted to know what this ghastly pest was and how I could feel so strongly.
So despite the fact that I want to devote most of the rest of the month to herbs (a category that I think deserves more attention because everybody eats and these little “unassuming plants” can be grown just about anywhere and can make meals so much tastier), I thought I’d touch on this first.
For the most part, even thought the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB from now on) has been around since the mid to late 90s, we haven’t been too bothered by it here in New England they way the rest of the country has. I’m not sure if it’s our cold winters (that would be some solace) or their migration patterns, but they just haven’t been the huge pest that other nearby states like Pennsylvania, and to a lesser extent, even New Jersey, has found them to be.
The problem with these invasive bugs (to be distinguished from our naturally occurring stink bugs) is that they are voracious eaters, they will eat almost anything, they have no natural enemies here because they’ve been imported and they are even resistant to most of our insecticides.
Organic gardeners like me don’t really stand a chance against a huge infestation. Against smaller infestations we might be able to hand pick them. But the usual weapons in the organic arsenal are useless. There are even reports–probably anecdotal–of Sevin being sprayed on these bugs and the bugs fall down, and then get up and resume eating. Nasty creatures!
Unlike with Japanese beetles there is some suggestion that a scent lure trap may work.
Until we know for sure, vigilence is going to be key!