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
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.
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.
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
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
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....
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.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.