squirrels, again

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    I've been reading about those on the W3 for some time, now. As far as I can determine, they've not yet made it down to Florida but it seems inevitable. And when they do, they're certain to find it the same bug Nirvana as has a host of other imports.     We do have a wide variety of green and brown "shield" bugs and of the related "leaf footed" bugs. One or two varieties of shield bugs are "bugiverous"; unfortunately it is virtually impossible to identify them without first killing them.     In addition to transmitting viruses (virii ?) all of the plant-feeding species do immediate and lasting damage to leaves as well as to fruit. They are particularly debilitating to tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and beans.     I know of no effective control except, perhaps, for carbaryl ("Sevin"), which is too extreme for me to consider. Also, surrounded as I am by a broad expanse of native habitat, control efforts are futile.     A wide array of commercial and of DIY stink bug traps, including one developed by University of Florida, exists but, as far as I can determine, they all trap too many innocent bystanders to suit me so I just live with the bugs, accepting the damage they do as sort of an "interloper's tax". However, I do believe I'd try to devise some method of screening the target plants from their attacks before ceasing cultivation entirely.     I suppose that if I were gardening for the market, my attitude might be a little different but for now I'm content just to skoosh the adults and to drown the nymphs in soapy water. Nymphs are easy to spot because of their bright color and are easy to catch due to their habit of releasing and dropping to the ground when disturbed. Gratifying but of no net benefit in controlling their number.
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Derald
USDA 9b
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On 7/31/2013 7:03 PM, Derald wrote:

Don't know what's going on with the wasp they were looking at for control:
http://www.delawareonline.com/VideoNetwork/814386081001/Killer-wasps-to-kill-stink-bugs
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    Nor do I but it begs the question: "What happens when the wasps run out of stink bugs?". Unless the wasps feed exclusively on the stink bugs, other species may be put at risk either by becoming a food source or by being displaced in the hunt for food in much the same manner that imported honeybees displace native bees when they're allowed to "naturalize" in the wild. I am not averse to "natural" controls and use them myself in my own garden (Bt, "carnivorous" nematodes, and "nolo") but they all require thorough investigation in order to avoid or, at least, to minimize the chances of unintended consequences.
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That'll be 2-cents, please,
Derald
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Derald wrote:

it is rare that a biological control will reach 100%. so they are unlikely to get them all, instead it just helps to moderate the damage to acceptable levels.

yes, i consider it a rare event that if a bug feeds on other bugs that it only feeds on one.
i think the broader question is to look at what happens over time. like it has been mentioned (in the wiki page i think it was) that there seems to be some adaptation and feeding by local bugovores to reduce the population.
if what we have is them about then i'm not seeing the supposed damage they can cause. and we do have plenty of them about in the fall and spring based upon how many i find indoors. as i never actually find them on plants i can't say what they might be feeding upon.
songbird
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Derald wrote:

i know you keep saying this about honey bees vs. native bees, but i don't see it out in the gardens here.
today i was sitting in the pathway near some flowering mint, thyme and many other flowers listening and watching (it's amazing how loud and busy it was as that pathway is between two large patches of flowers) and i was observing honey bees next to small bumble bees, the larger bumble bees and the very tiny hovering bees. all of them feeding off the same plant within a few inches of each other. no fighting, no squabbles, no bumping, just busy working the flowers.
songbird
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    Same in my garden, too. But those are irrelevant. The fact is that all "races" of imported European honeybees are social, herding animals -- some moreso than others. At the start of each day, a colony sends out scouts in search of food sources. Upon returning to the hive, these scouts perform a dance that tells the other workers direction of and distance to and, some believe, aroma of the food source (they literally regurgitate nectar). The workers then travel, in large number, to these food sources and begin their harvest (not really "foraging" because the ladies already "know" where to go and what to "smell" for). Each bee harvests nectar and pollen from only one kind of flower -- that one being whatever is the first suitable species that it encounters -- in a day. It is this peculiarity of bee behavior that enables beekeepers to produce varietal honeys and makes bees so vital to pollenation: The herders simply place the hives where the target plants are sure to be among the first -- preferrably the _only_ -- found by the scouts. The hives do not even have to be literally _in_ the field, orchard or grove.     It is this same peculiarity of behavior that causes flocks of "naturalized" bees to descend on fields of wildflowers -- clover, for example -- and, by their sheer numbers, to seriously reduce the availability of nectar and pollen to other bees. Over time, they displace native bees by depriving them of food. Solitary bees do not stockpile food reserves in the same way the honeybees and, to some degree, bumblebees do. No bumping shoving aggression or hostility involved; just mass feeding. The insect equivalent to overgrazing, if you will. The bees that you and I observe in our gardens are outlyers, stragglers or layabouts that missed the morning call.     Competent, conscientious beekeers are aware of this behavior and take pains to prevent escape of "rogue" queens at swarming time. In my youth, I was mentored by a local, now long-dead, beeherder who assisted me in an at-home course in beekeeping. I'll dig through the remaining flotsam of those days and see if I can produce a citation. Nowadays, I do my part by never buying so-called "wildflower" and/or "clover" honey ;-) Honey bees definitely have their "place" and I know that fully one-third of US agriculture production depends on them and that their numbers, along with those of the people who nurture them, are declining but that place definitely is not in the wild.     Now, don't get me started on imported foxes or "wild" horses....
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Derald
USDA 9b
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They are very specific to which plants they like here. Bell peppers were pretty bad. I just hate the couple hundred a year I take own inside the house, all winter long.
Greg
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On 7/31/2013 9:18 PM, gregz wrote:

The only good I found from them coming in was they pointed out areas around windows and sliding doors that needed caulking.
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On 8/1/2013 2:24 PM, Frank wrote:

Pouring water in my Mr Coffee yesterday and a dead stink bug floated to the top. Don't know how long he was there. Told my wife that she might notice a change in the taste of the coffee.
I could also tell you about the time a accidentally started to chew one.
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