A new weapon in the war against stink bugs

Written by Doug Oster on .


Carole Walters feeds a local titmouse stinkbugs and shot this photo through the window.

Facebook friend Carole Walters from Penn Township sends this photo as proof that titmice will devour stink bugs. She posted something on my Facebook page detailing how this local species of bird loves stink bugs. She throws them out on the deck and they freeze immediately, then the birds do the rest. Look at all those stink bugs on the deck, they won't be there long.

A couple of months ago my radio partner Jessica Walliser noticed that her chickens loved stink bugs. We surmised that since the chickens enjoyed them that our birds would eventually find the pest and this is proof positive our local species will help control them.

Jess was talking to Penn State Cooperative Extension agent Sandy Feather who mentioned that when the gypsy moth caterpillars first arrived the birds didn't know they were a food source and it took a few years for them to discover the crawling worms.

This is a great sign and hopefully native species of birds in the wild will start to feast on the slow moving, smelly pests.

Its official name is the brown marmorated stink bug that until its discovery in 1998 was no previously seen on our continent. It was first found in Allentown, and scientists think it was an insect not previously seen on our continent, was apparently accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania. It was first collected in September of 1998 in Allentown, Pa. The insect is native to China and the accidental introduction might have come from some type of shipping container.

Last season, the BMSB wreaked havoc on tomatoes, apples and other crops both for gardeners and farmers alike. There is no organic pesticide known to combat them. A 50/50 mixture of Dawn Dish Soap and water kills them.

An article in Mother Earth News has some great tips for dealing with the pest without the use of chemicals and holds out hope for a pheromone trap that's in the works.

Next season, use caulk and screening to try and keep these bugs out of the house. Here's a homemade trap for the BMSB invented by Jody Williams.

If you have stink bugs, find a place to teach the birds they are good to eat. It could make a big difference in your garden next year.



Yum, yum, eat them stink bugs up! Photo by Carole Walters

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