|What's that on the window?|
“Outside breeding so we’ll have a generous supply trying to figure out how to get into our homes in September and October,” I usually replied. It’s late August now, and the brown marmorated stink bugs have started to show up on our windows and sunning themselves on the western sides of our homes in late afternoon.
I’ve seen them all summer, of course, in our gardens. Their favorite foods at Meadow Glenn include tomatoes, raspberries, blackberries, green beans, cucumbers, and squash.
|Stink bugs dining on Virginia Sweets tomato|
The small Sungolds seem untouched, though I haven’t used a magnifying glass to verify that fact. The larger red Juliets showed minimal damage, though I think my picking at “breaker stage” this year helped minimize the bug attacks.
|Brandywine with stink-bug "pinpricks"|
Within 10 days the number of stink bugs went from “impossibly high” to “seldom seen.” Last year we harvested few raspberries, and those we did were usually stink-bug damaged. This year we harvested many quarts of beautiful berries. Last year we threw away many of our large tomatoes because of stink-bug damage. This year we have eaten most.
|I've turned off the night light|
Scientists from multiple disciplines are studying brown marmorated stink bugs and how they may be managed. I posted earlier about the EPA’s approval of pesticides for stone and pome fruits and for organic growers and about USDA experiments with tiny, parasitic wasps. An excellent overview of what’s happening is the University of Maryland Extension’s Entomology Bulletin, which details symptoms of the insect’s damage on crops and ornamentals and includes outstanding photographs. To link to the bulletin, CLICK HERE.