Letter to the editor: Stinkbug warsPublished 11:13pm Tuesday, October 15, 2013
To the editor:
I’ve lived in enough places in my 66 years to know quite a bit about bugs. I’ve battled mosquitoes and tent worms in Minnesota, tarantulas in Puerto Rico, but the worst of them all is the mighty, ancient, Carolina Stinkbug.
It looks like a grey heraldic shield. If you press its abdomen it will emit a noxious stink.
They love windows of every sort, and if they can get inside they find clever hidey-holes and hardly make themselves known unless they fart or start buzzing around your head like drones.
The other day, when I started cleaning out the spider webs and their egg sacs that have popped up in the month of September, I noticed that nearly every web had at least one stinkbug hanging, desiccated. There was no odor. The spider looked exceptionally healthy. Maybe I’ll give the spiders a rest this year.
I’ve engaged in several steps to rid my house and deck of these pernicious creatures.
First, I used reason. I carefully picked them up on a piece of paper and walked them to the edge of the deck, where I tossed them into the air.
There were more. I had already removed the curtains, but they had found a resting place in amongst the 2,000 paper cranes dangling from either end of the poles over the sliding glass doors. I refrained from intentionally killing, but I did get a broom and sweep every one of them I could find off the deck. There was a brief respite. I began to think I had convinced them they would go away.
Suddenly they were once again in every window and doorway. I put up screens. That worked okay except that they would mockingly sink their abdomens into the mesh and send their odor into the room. It was chemical warfare waged by an ancient alien species.
I finally broke. I was at Wal-Mart getting dog food and passed through the pest control section. I never go to the pest control section, unless it’s to look for an organic deterrent like peppermint and rosemary (that didn’t work, I can tell you, they staggered away like they were drunk, then came back with a vengeance).
But I’d had enough. The bug under the blanket was the last straw. There was this snazzy bottle with a battery-powered squirter intended to annihilate a stinkbug with one press of the trigger. It was $8 but it was worth it.
Well, it worked. An odorless squirt, the stinkbug staggered, crawled, tried to hide, died. And this selfish part of me was glad.
I still pray, meditate, visualize, talk to them and apologize. When they swarm, I spray. There are a lot fewer of them now.
But I can hardly see through the windows for all the poisons sprayed on them. I wonder what that’s doing to me. I wonder if this is the harbinger of what’s to come.
– Ellen Thomas, Tryon