Most gardeners are eager to share a bountiful harvest with friends and neighbors. There is usually enough to go around, but a few greedy stink bugs can destroy an entire crop in a few short weeks. Take precautions now to deter these hungry bugs from devouring the spoils of your hard labor—even in winter.
Identify the Enemy
Stink bugs are easily recognized due to their brown or green shield-shaped bodies. Their markings vary in color, and triangles on their backs are called scutellum.
Stink bugs leave blemishes the size of pinheads on fruits and vegetables, including winter veggies such as kale and spinach. Sometimes excrement is also present. The damage is more than cosmetic—the area underneath the depression or blemish may not ripen. Some fruits will turn brown underneath the blemish.
Take steps before the growing season begins to deter stink bugs from settling into the garden. Our Houston lawn care and landscaping specialists at ABC can advise which ground covers are inviting to stink bugs. A professional landscaper can adequately prepare your garden area for optimal results.
More relaxed weather forces stink bugs into houses and attics, so be sure your home’s windows and doors are properly sealed. Some gardeners install screens on the inside of attic fans. If stink bugs are already in the house, use a vacuum to remove them.
Some natural predators may also decrease the number of stink bugs in your area. Praying mantises and ants, for instance, do not mind the sour taste of stink bugs. Unfortunately, these predatory pests bring gardeners additional headaches. Some birds also feast upon stink bugs. Keep bird seeds in feeders and provide fresh water to encourage birds in your garden.
How to Treat an Infestation
Once stink bugs have settled into a garden, there are only a few ways to control them. Gardeners who seek refuge from these hungry pests can either spend hours removing stink bugs and their eggs from vegetation or turn to a reputable pest control company. ABC’s Pest control services in Houston can address concerns about garden pests and any other pest issues you’d like to address.
For more information about stink bugs, refer to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.