Stink bugs, sometimes known as “shield bugs”, have overrun Pennsylvania and much of the east coast. The pesky insects not only leave an unpleasant odor but are devastating to gardens and agriculture.
Apparently the bugs arrived to us from the orient via shipping containers.
Surprise, surprise! The explosive growth of stink bug populations seems to be linked to mono-culture agriculture practices and our current suburban trend of having ultra-clean landscape design with no native herbs or plantings. (Source)
The article goes on to point out how the use of GMO crops has drastically reduced the need for cotton farmers to use pesticides, which also accounts for the rise in population of the stink bug.
- Dorms in West Virginia University overrun by Stink Bugs
- Stink bugs over-run Baltimore
- Scientists call stink bug invasion of Pennsylvania “an epidemic of the invaders”
- Stink bug populations are on the increase
How do we get rid of these stink bugs? Well so far the only method I have found that seems to work is to vacuum them up with a shop vac. I’ve scoured the web for organic methods of stink bug control and here is what I have come up with:
- Trap Cropping or the method of planting a border of crops around crops you wish to protect which might be more appealing to the stink bugs, for example growing buckwheat around a crop of tomatoes
- Shop vac (this is what I have been using)
- Companion Planting: Marigold, Radish, Catnip, Mint, Garlic, Tansy
- I found this great reference for some organic techniques.. I actually grow a lot of mint, and it seems garlic may help too.
Bottom line is it seems the best defense from these pests is plant diversity. The same things which control these pests work to control most garden threats, and that is creating a natural pest free environment by planting a wide array of plantings.
Have you effectively controlled these pests? Let’s hear what has worked for you in the comments.