Here in the Northeast with our seasonal weather, we have issues with certain species of bugs but they are easily remedied since it gets narrowed down to just a few we need to take care of. Up until last year I have never had any issues with the stink bug. Somehow they found their way into our society and now we need to get rid of them if we have any hope of successful crops.
First let’s talk about what a stink bug is. A stink bug, also called a squash bug and even sometimes a shield bug, are about the size of a thumbnail with a triangular back that is usually brown and/or gray in color.
They are harmless to humans. In other words they don’t bite or spread diseases, at least none that have been reported. But what they do well is attack broadleaf vegetable plants. Not only do they do it well, but the underside of broadleaf plants is a perfect breeding ground for their offspring. And because it is perfect for them they can breed at a very fast pace.
About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A guide to vegetable gardening for the rest of us. He can be reached at his wesbite: AveragePersonGardening.com where you can sign up for his free newsletter and he will send you a pack of vegetable seeds to get your home vegetable garden started.
Do not fear though, there is help. You can eliminate these pests without the use of chemicals that could not only harm your plants, but the surrounding environment as well. The downfall is this technique will require you to actually do some work. If you are willing to put in the time and effort in, you can get rid of these bugs each growing season.
The first step you can take is to never plant your broadleaf vegetables in the same location each year. Of course you should be exercising plant rotation regardless of a bug problem, but most bugs actually hibernated within the soil and when they come out as the weather gets warmer if your broad leaf vegetables aren’t around, they won’t have an immediate food source close by. They may go elsewhere or may simply die from starvation.
But let’s say you did that and they have still found their way into your squash crop. If that happens, roll your sleeves up, put on some gardening gloves, grab yourself a coffee can and a lid, and some honey, syrup or molasses (something sticky) and let’s get to work.
Your first step is to coat the bottom and the sides of your coffee can with something sticky. Syrup, molasses or honey works well. You will see in a moment as to why we do this.
With sticky coated coffee can in hand (don’t forget the lid), put on your gardening gloves, and take a walk over to the area where the stink bugs live. Remember they won’t harm you. Now start flicking the bugs into your coffee can. The sticky substance will help keep them in the can. Just keep taking them off the leaves and putting them into the can. Don’t forget to look on the underside of the leaves. That is where the egg sacks are. You need to get rid of them as well, otherwise the problem will continue.
Once you have all of the bugs in the can, put the airtight lid on and place in an area where the sun will shine on it. I think it goes without saying what will happen to the bugs inside the can. Now all you have to do is stay on top of them by checking the plants every other day and repeating this process. If you do this you will get rid of these bugs and their destructive nature form your crops.