Stink bugs are frequently found in gardens and yards. The ‘stink’ in their name is because of their natural defense mechanism that releases a stinky chemical to deter predators. Scientists refer to them as plant feeders as well, considering that they take residence in the vegetation, feed on plants, and invade your property and garden. This article explores different steps of stink bug extermination and other details that you need to know to protect your plants.
What Attracts Stink Bugs to Plants?
Weeds, fruits, and ornamental plants attract stink bugs yards and gardens. The bugs make gardens their second home because they feed on leafy vegetables and berries. A stink bug infestation in your garden can cause stunted growth in plants, kill seedlings, create spots and pits on fruits, and wilt leaves. Over time stink bugs can literally suck the life out of the plants, causing them to die.
You will find stink bugs infestation in your garden during warm weather, as this is the time they thrive and multiply. In winter, they hide in walls to stay warm and once winter ends, they will gather again in a large numbers and release pheromones to draw attract more insects into that area.
Places Where Stink Bugs Lay Eggs
While stink bugs are foraging on foliage and fruits, they also lay their eggs on the back or underside of leaves. You can see stink bug eggs on leaves during the spring season. Once the nymphs are out of the eggs, they eat nearby plants, and these young bugs grow into adults during the summer. When stink bugs use their sharp mouth to pierce the skin of fruits and plants for juice, they leave toxic saliva on them which ultimately kill plant cells.
Signs of a Stink Bug Infestation
While your garden may have stink bugs, you might have difficulty identifying them as they vary in shape and appearance. Adult stink bugs are shield-shaped and can grow up to 6 inches long. Some may have colored markers while others can be cream green or a mottled tan shade. Nymphs are smaller and can be of brown, red, green, or black. Their eggs can vary in color based on their species, but they usually look like small pistachio nuts or barrels. The first sign of stink bug infestation is the presence of large numbers of nymphs on fruits.
How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in Garden
Here are a few easy and effective ideas to prevent stink bugs from ruining your garden:
Keep the Area Clean
To keep pests away from your garden and out of your home, remove weeds from the area as bugs use them as a cover. Other hiding places are logs and boards, etc.
Seal Potential Entryways
Your doors and windows should always be shut tight or covered with screens. Furthermore, some people find rubbing windows with dryer sheets can be effective for stink bug control as it makes the house aromatic, which repels the pests. Fill cracks and openings in walls with caulking and use insect repellent spray to keep them at bay.
Use Natural Pest Repellents
Spraying kaolin clay solution in your garden prevents adult bugs from laying eggs on leaves or feeding on plants. The solution is easy to wash off and safe for plants so there will be no harm to your garden.
Include Beneficial Plants
This may come as a surprise, but stink bugs have a few natural enemies that can help you restrict their entry into your garden. You can also use natural predators known as beneficial insects. Some common enemies of stink bugs, and many other harmful insects, are praying mantis, minute pirate bugs, toads, ladybugs, birds, lacewings, parasitic flies, and spiders.
Place Planting Traps
Use decoy plants to lure stink bugs away from the garden. Some plants that attract stink bugs are sweet corn, mustard, okra, amaranth, and sunflower.
Raymond Web is the digital marketing manager for Take Care Termite and Pest Control, a pest control service in Tracy, CA.