When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. ~John Muir
I’m no expert on stink bugs, but I’m certainly no stranger to them either. The weather in western Pennsylvania has been fluctuating lately, from snowy cold days, which is normal for January, to sunny abnormally warm days reaching the 60s. Sometimes this temperature range happens within 24-hours.
Besides unfavorable road conditions, the up and down weather is tricking the stink bugs into an early spring. The warmth draws them out to make their appearance in droves.
Annoyed with these stinkers, literally, I was curious about them, since I don’t remember the critters from my childhood. Evidently, the stink bug were accidentally introduced into Pennsylvania, Allentown to be exact, in the mid-1990s. They’re native to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
Presently, the stink bug can be found in most states and are now posing a real problem with the fruit and vegetable farms. The stink bugs feed on these plants as well as weeds and tree leaves. Okay, now we’ve gone from annoying to a true issue. Stink bugs don’t scare me as per say, but the thought of their ultimate damage doesn’t settle well with me.
Now some fun facts. Stink bugs can lay 20 to 30 eggs, leading to developed adults within 35 to 45 days, in optimal conditions. In the lifespan of a female stink bug, she can lay four hundred eggs. That explains a lot.
From what I’ve read, these pests are impervious to insecticides. Although, I’m not a fan of toxic remedies, especially when pesticides are harming the bee population. I’m also not a fan of distributing the ecological structure of an area to deal with a single pest. Sure, there’s more natural solutions such as soapy water, however, I don’t think that’s a reasonable solution for large farms. What to do with the stink bugs? I guess that’s the ultimate question.
I read an article on the consideration of introducing a parasitoid wasp, which is a primary predator to the stink bug, to solve the problem. NO! That’s not a solution. That’s a recipe for an even bigger problem. Instead, I have an idea.
Chickens! Really? Yes. Since you can’t squash, frighten or even disturb a stink bug without it secreting its foul-smelling order, which seriously turns my stomach, I started collecting them. Well, not in the collectible coin fashion, but rather for a food supply for my feathery friends.
Idiotic solution? No more than using toxic chemicals and infesting the area with wasps.
Sure, stink bugs have always been a nuisance, but when they started flying into me while I slept, disrupting my sleep and freaking me out when I felt them walk across my skin, I had enough. Using basic common sense, I began capturing the smelly buzzing bugs in a pint size mason jar with a lid. Originally, I started trapping them with the intent to kill the bugs behind glass doors, so to speak. However, I realized they served a better purpose. The chickens LOVE the stink bugs.
They do! The chickens are now accustomed to the jar and flock toward the little protein crunchies. It almost makes me want to find more stink bugs to deliver.
I’ve never read about chickens as a solution to stink bugs, but why not? Now’s the time to get creative, through natural means. Perhaps find safe traps for the stink bugs and deliver the tasty meal to some farm animal. There could be other stink bug predators that are native to each area to use. I don’t know if chickens could be the ultimate solution for farmers, but it might be a nice try. This would also ensure we no longer have an egg shortage like we did a couple years ago. Now that’s solving two problems at once, productive.
Anyone have a better solution?