Trail riding? Apple Picking? Carving Pumpkins? Nope. The answer is stinkbugs!
For those of you living in blissful ignorance (that means anyone who does not live on the East coast) stinkbugs have not only become a major nuisance in the garden and orchards, they are everywhere. Any warm day, I can find hundreds on my back porch sticking to the screen or in the garage crawling behind trash cans. They fall out of umbrellas and fan blades. They hide in cracks and crevices waiting for the door to open. Once inside they sneak behind pictures and into drawers. My husband even found one in his chili.
Remember Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds"? Stinkbugs are even worse. The ones clinging to the porch screen literally whisper, "I'm coming for you. You can't stop me." Because you can't. Their sheer number are overwhelming. And they live up to their name. Grab them in your hand and it stinks with a pungent odor, which means you don't dare step on them or you'll track stink bug smell through the house with every step.
Stink bugs are considered a new pest. They arrived from China in 1998, 'hitching a ride" in a packing crate. They were first recorded in Pennsylvania, and quickly spread. I first spotted them in my garden two years ago. When I Googled them for this blog, I got 2,250,000 hits, which means I am not the only one this fall with stink bugs on my mind.
One big problem is they have no know natural enemies -- most birds won't eat them, and even my huge garden spider can't handle more than one or two. I battle them with a pan of soapy water, making stink bug soup that I throw out far into the woods. Fortunately, they are slow and stupid and once they plop into the sudsy soup, they quickly drown. UN- fortunately, a few always escape. They are the smart ones. The devious ones. The ones who will lay eggs and next spring, when the eggs hatch, a craftier, hardier breed of stink bug will arrive, slowly making their way west . . .