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Monday, March 18, 2013

Organic Control of Stinkbugs

Q. What is the best way to control Shield Bugs here in Las Vegas?   They were found on my Italian Cypress.   My concern is that they will invade my garden.  The broccoli and cabbage seem to be ok right now but the new garden is going in this week.  
Shield or stink bug. They have a hypodermic-like mouthpart
lying under their abdomen that can pierce fruit or vegetables
and withdraw fluids.

A. These can also be called “stink bugs” because it can release an odor from its abdomen when attacked or threatened. Many of these types of insects will damage fruits and vegetables and they have no really good predators here for them. Even birds will leave them alone because of their “stink”. 

            We will find lots of bugs on our plants. It is really the numbers that count. They are overwintering right now and waiting for a chance to find some food with the new growth and make some babies. I would at this point just hand pick them when you see them and put them in a bottle with vinegar or alcohol.

Stinkbug and apple to give you relative size. The dimples
on the fruit were probably caused by stinkbug feeding
            If you do not need to use a pesticide, I wouldn’t. These guys have wings under that shield and can fly from yard to yard. Pesticides used unnecessarily will also kill other insects, good and bad.

            Also if you just take a spray bottle with soap and water and spray them directly this will also kill them. This is true of all insects, good and bad. The water is made “wetter” or it loses its surface tension and can then invade the tiny spiracles that insects have on their body for taking in air and “breathing”. This causes them to basically drown.

            Soap and water sprays are good to use but must land directly on the insect to “drown” it. It will not leave a poisonous residue behind like pesticides can.

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