|Stink bug on Golden Treasure pepper, with|
serious damage beginning near stem
Early in the vegetable growing season I noticed a stink bug or two, but not enough to concern me. They got my attention later, however, when I found 10 or 20 on the small green pods of my two Crimson Select pepper plants—and a few more on my two Golden Treasure pepper plants. I then closely examined my tomatoes and found a few more stink bugs.
Since stink bugs are skillful at avoiding capture when I try to remove them manually from garden plants, I had researched possible insecticides and chose bifenthrin, a commonly available pyrethroid, to spray when needed. I follow directions to the “T” and use the longer California standard for “Days to Harvest” for both tomatoes and peppers. So when I found the bugs, I sprayed the pepper plants carefully, and I sprayed the main stems of my 25 tomato plants and any stink bugs that I found on fruit. I sprayed once a week another two or three times—and was relatively free of stink bugs for most of the remainder of the growing season.
“Most of the remainder” means that I didn’t notice stink bugs again until today, when I noticed two stink bugs on two of our remaining Golden Treasure peppers. I hadn’t sprayed for more than a month. Today I noticed two stink bugs on two of our few remaining Golden Treasure peppers. I just squished the bugs thumb and finger—not a disposal method I recommend to squeamish gardeners or those with sensitive noses—since this late in the season I see little value in spraying again.
How much damage did my tomatoes and peppers suffer from stink bugs this year?
|Stink-bug damaged peppers,|
Crimson Select (top) and Golden Treasure (bottom)
Bottom line: Stink bug news here at Meadow Glenn was good for tomatoes and bad for peppers. Now that nighttime temperatures are sinking, we’re finding a few adults inside our house, likely looking for cozy wintertime hiding places. Today we found four or five, and they’ve all failed their first swimming test in a bottle of soapy water.
My experience with the stink bugs in 2013 may not be typical. J.S., a Master Gardener in Harford County—about an hour away—in an email recently told her sad story: “I read the GIEI blog … about the wonderful tomatoes and the lack of stink bugs. I could have cried. I lost about 60% of my corn, all my cherries, peaches, pears, and apples and now am losing about 40% of my tomatoes to stink bugs. I guess they just love me best. Oh, whoopee!”
What impact did brown marmorated stink bugs have on your gardens this year?
In the Environment section of Monday’s Washington Post, Darryl Fears reviews regional stink-bug happenings in his article, “Stink bugs are plentiful in Mid-Atlantic states, and they’re ready to come indoors for winter.”
|Knock, knock. Got a cozy place for winter?|