Monday, October 3, 2011
Every year around labor day, we have an invasion of stink bugs, Assassin Beetles, Zelus renardii. This always strikes fear in my heart. I have to tell you, I am not afraid of snakes, horses, wild cattle, heights or deep Amazonian jungle type things. I am; however, petrified of stink bugs. The sound of their raspy wings in flight sends icy fingers of fear into my heart. They sound like little crusty helicopters. They have crazy, unpredictable flight patterns that send me dodging and diving and sometimes screaming, whenever I hear that horrid sound. It never fails, regardless of which direction they start out, they always end up either in my hair or mouth. I have taken to sleeping with the covers over my head in self defense.
There are many ways to kill a stink bug. Most ways involve the stink bug emitting a noxious mushroom cloud of insect chemical warfare. These include squashing them by panicked swatting when they get into your hair, similar squashing of scary insects as they land on your upper lip while you are sleeping (this results in the mushroom cloud and one dismembered leg ending up in your mouth!), and drinking the tiny menace in your coffee in the morning...ACK!
I have studied these things for years. There doesn't seem to be trap or a lure (other than my hair and mouth) to catch them with. I do not spray pesticides in or on my house, so I am stuck with the old fashioned way of destroying them. There is some evidence that they mark structures for invasion with their scent so we try to capture them without detonation. One way that we have been practicing for years is to gently pick them up with a pouf of toilet paper and flush them. This works except they will sometimes at the last second decide to fly toward my hair and/or mouth...back to the mushroom cloud scenario. If you are successful at getting the Zelus renardii into the toilet, he tries valiantly to escape by climbing the sinking pouf. I flush quickly for fear of the hair/mouth thingy. Also, I think they silently mouth tiny threats as they go down and sometimes shake chitinous little fists at you. I have a secret fear that my septic tank will erupt one day with millions of mutant stinkbugs saying "We're back!".
We have had so many stinkbugs this year that we can't afford all the little toilet paper poufs to catch and flush them and I think our well was going to go dry. So, Clint, my brave husband, has taken to the entemology 101 technique of putting them in a jar with rubbing alcohol. He gently scoops them up with a pasta spork and taps them into the quart jar. This is working great and we are able to water our garden with the water we are saving from flushing bugs. Remind me to mark that pasta spork and that jar.
Stink bug trivia.
How many stink bugs does it take to make a grown man jump out of bed from a deep sleep? 1
How many stink bugs does it take to clear the house of McGuffey girls? 1
How many stink bugs are in my bedroom every evening on average? 24
How fast do you have to drive to dislodge a stink bug from your window glass in your 1989 Cavalier? 32
How fast do you have to go to dislodge a stink bug from the windshield of your Ford e-350? 72
Sometimes after a month of battle, apples and bananas taste like stink bug.
Cats will not eat stink bugs.
Dogs will not eat stink bugs.
Nothing will eat stink bugs.