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Bah Stink Bug

10 Oct

What’s bugging New Jersey?

Lots of things.  Tics, bedbugs, Governor Christie . . . but it’s the stink bugs that are really “reeking” havoc.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug crossed into eastern Pennsylvania about ten years ago after the six-legged stowaway reportedly boarded a cargo ship from China and, like all other Asian imports, quickly found its way to Wal-Mart.

The bug had initially immigrated to Arizona, but because of its brown-colored wing tone, was found to be reasonably suspicious and deported to New Jersey.  Thousands have since flocked to the Garden State and taken up residence in sanctuary cities like Jersey City.

Like my husband’s friends during football season, the stink bug tends to congregate in large numbers and come inside when it gets cold.  It also rubs its body and makes loud noises to attract its mate.

Also like my husband’s friends, it possesses an automatic stink weapon that releases an extremely powerful, unpleasant and long lasting odor that emanates from a scent gland located on its underside.  It is activated by any disturbance, distress, or bean dip at half-time.

The odor and the bugs themselves disrupt both the senses and the census, sometimes raising the numbers per household a thousand-fold.

While the shield-shaped stink bug is only about half as long as a match stick (which some people are tempted to use to set their house on fire when the bugs infest their homes), it is a big nuisance.

After the insects dine on your flowers and fruit, colonies of them take residence in your home by sneaking under siding, into soffits, and through small spaces, and then settle comfortably into your La-Z-Boy recliner for the winter.

Some entomologists (bug experts) think stink bugs should be controlled by a natural enemy, but because the insects are foreigners, their natural predators aren’t here.  So entomologists are considering introducing into our homes natural predators from Asia such as the praying mantis, the Venus flytrap and the freshwater crocodile.

Sealing the cracks is said to be the only means of prevention, but there are numerous methods of treatment.  Some homeowners use pesticides; some crush them with any blunt object they can find, and others suck them up with a Hoover or a simple yawn.

The Buddhists prefer the method of capture, release, and pray.  They trap the stink bug, let it go in the woods, and pray that it doesn’t follow them back.

The Buddhists may have the right idea about treating all living things with respect.  We might learn a thing or two by demonstrating tolerance and understanding.  For instance, we might take the time to explore why the stink bug migrated here in the first place.  Perhaps it found homeland China oppressive.  Perhaps it feared the next earthquake. Perhaps it longed to trade its Chinese wings for some Hollywood footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

I’m not suggesting we sweep the stink bugs under the rug and fasten clothespins to our schnozes to address the problem.  I’m saying, let’s keep in mind that not all insects stink.  Many are beneficial and contribute to society.   Perhaps by showing more understanding, tolerance, and respect, we can find a better way to coexist.   After all, in your next life, you could come back as a stink bug.

Column/blog originally published on The Altnernative Press, October 10, 2010

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17 Responses to “Bah Stink Bug”

  1. Audubon Ron October 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Good thing we have praying mantis, Venus flytraps and crocodiles in Mississippi.

    We have a refugee here called the love bug. At the most beautiful times of the year, these bugs hatch, fill the air, hook-up at their rear ends and randomly fly into everything. The spatter from their bodies permanently adheres to everything for small children to automotive paint. Birds don’t even eat them.

    Adult pairs mate and remain coupled, even in flight, for up to several days. Yeah buddy, that’s doing it.

    They are of the fly family. Their binomial genus and species is Plecia nearctica onyourwindshield forevertis.

    • Main Street Musings Blog October 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

      Sounds nothing like the love bug we all know and love—Herbie. Besides, he was a beetle.

  2. lou lazarou October 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    I can understand the motivation of the Chinese stink bug to immigrate. They are merely seeking a higher standard of living. It’s the American way.

    Lou

  3. sportsattitudes October 10, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Ours don’t smell. It’s the strangest thing. We keep hearing about the odor part and have negated a few of them ourselves but they’ve departed life without leaving anything behind. We would never employ a “catch and release” policy at our house on bugs. My wife has instructed me in no uncertain terms it is “catch, kill and kill some more” when bugs invade.

  4. Paprika Furstenburg October 10, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    I think it is perfectly acceptable to be discriminatory about bugs. There are bugs that are good for our environment and those bugs fall into our home’s “catch and release” policy – as long as the cats don’t get to them first. Stink bugs, however, serve no purpose and fall into our “catch and kill” policy. If they stay outside my home, we can all peacefully co-exist.

  5. The Flying Chalupa October 12, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    Love the bean dip at half-time, hilarious!

    As for bugs, I’m all for respect, but I’m not a huge fan of lazy-boy infestations. Or a crocodile taking up residence in the kitchen.

    Is there a Buddhist exterminator that annihilates with respect?

    • Main Street Musings Blog October 13, 2011 at 11:05 am #

      Ha, good question!–if you hear of one let me know. Just found a prehistoric looking critter in the basement with the Halloween decor. Thought it was fake untl it crawled over my foot.

  6. Kelly Louise (@GenePoolDiva) October 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    The only infestation on my sofa is my lazy boy, Rob Dammit, who is kind enough to clean the love bug splatter from the front of my car. Great blog!

  7. Main Street Musings Blog October 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Love it! Thanks!

  8. Linda Kastenbaum October 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    I have often thought my mother-in-law was a stink bug in a past life!

  9. Jen and Tonic October 19, 2011 at 3:53 am #

    I swear to you, the moment I finished reading this one of these little suckers flew right past my computer screen. I caught it, and released it….but seriously, I had NEVER seen one of these things until now. YOUR BLACK MAGIC HAS BROUGHT THESE BUGS TO OREGON 😉

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