Stink bugs can destroy your garden in short order and they smell pretty bad.
Stink bug identification
Stink bugs are true bugs, which means they are members of Hemiptera. The word Hemiptera comes the Greek for half-wing. The front half of their wings are hard and the back half are soft. Stink bugs can be recognized easily because of their flattened, boxy, shield-shaped body and tiny scent gland openings near where their shoulder blades would be if they were human. There are several species of stink bug in California:
Stink bug damage
There are 250 varieties of stink bugs in the U.S. and 4700 worldwide. They can be brown or green. Stink bugs eat seeds, grain, fruit, vegetables, ornamental plants, legumes, weeds and tree leaves. They can also transmit tomato bacterial spot with piercing mouthparts. Unfortunately, insecticides are ineffective against stink bugs.
Stink bug controls
Wasps and flies, such as the tachinid fly (Trichopoda pennipes) and the Trissolcus basalis wasp will parasitize the eggs, but those critters are not always available when you need them. You can also provide habitat for birds, spiders, toads, and other insect eating critters. The best method of control for stink bugs is to handpick and deposit them in a container of soapy water or feed them to your chickens!
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
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