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Monday, May 23, 2011

Stinkbug Armegeddon

On these idyllic summer mornings, I take my coffee, Post and mini-vac to the porch.  Before sinking into my soft cushions of my Adirondack chair, I aim my mini-vac and, with a sneer, flip the switch. 

There aren't many stink bugs out in the mornings; they seem to prefer the heat of the afternoons.  And we can't figure out how they get under the screening.  Our best guess is they drop from the over-hanging pine trees and climb in where the screening is secured to the posts.  They don't get in the house, which is a mercy -- a BIG mercy. 
We long ago learned not to squish them for when so treated, they emit a disgusting, semi-sweet, rotting stink that lasts and lasts. Yesterday one got under my shirt, and, in a thoughtless act, I smushed where I felt something.  I had to go take a shower. In more mindful moments, you can capture them loosely in one hand and give them a hard toss into the toilet and flush them away. It has to be a hard toss because they have sticky little feet that will first cling to the screen and then to your hand, grasping on for dear life. I don’t blame them, but resistance in futile.
A more efficient way to kill them was to spray them with Raid. This worked fine as far as the death thing went, and then I'd vacuum up their little, brown husks.  Unfortunately, if I was spraying high on the screening (and our porch has a cathedral ceiling), I’d get a good lungful of poison and then walk around all day in Eau de Raid. It’s not that they bite or even fly into you. No, they make a pilgrimage up the screens to the sky lights and by early evenings there is a crawling, interweaving swarm. You’re sitting on the porch enjoying a chilled Chenin Blanc and make the mistake of looking up. Bleh.

A more efficient method, I found, is to skip the Raid and go straight to the vacuum.  They don't realize there is a chase; they neither fly from the loud, vibrating noise or the large, black shadow.  They just sit there until you suck ‘em up. You have to be a little careful or the hoosh of the vacuum a few inches away disturbs their equilibrium and they fall away. Instead, you have to carefully approach from directly behind and pop the tip over them. If you’re practicing for the Zombie Apocalypse, this can be accomplished on tip toe, whomping the nozzle directly on the unsuspecting bug and screaming, “Die, damn you, die!” It releases a lot of pent-up anger, and who’s to know? Hey, it’s not like the little four-year-old next door will be irreparably damaged, 'um, right?

They can't escape out the nozzle, either (or at least, they don’t), and stay in there visiting their friends until I dump the whole disgusting mass into the toilet.

They die on their own, too. Every morning, before I begin battle, I clean up ten or so dead, bug bodies, stereotypically lying on their backs, little buggy feet reaching for the sky. The regularity of their deaths gives me pause about the speed of their reproductive cycle.

I’d estimate I flush 100 stink bugs per day. That’s a lot of bugs, and you’d think it would disgust me. Instead, I get a bizarre sense of accomplishment. In an odd reverse of the normal, though, I plugged every small tear or slit in our screening yesterday, hoping for a little less accomplishment and a little more uninterrupted wine drinking. 

1 comment:

  1. We've had this issue. Got an exterminator. They're still around but definitely fewer!