Stink bugs are the bane of the Texas gardener. These invasive pests swarm onto vegetables, particularly tomatoes, sucking the juices out of the fruit, causing unsightly blemishes and sapping the strength of the plant itself.
Facts About Stink Bugs
While there are several species of stink bugs, the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) and the green stink bug (Acrostemum hilare) are the most common in our Texas gardens. Native to Korea and Taiwan, stink bugs found their way to the U.S. hidden away in a packing crate in 1998, and gardeners have been battling them ever since.
The balancing act of getting rid of stink bugs is finding a way to kill the insects without toxic chemicals that make your fruits and vegetables inedible.
How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs
The upside is that stink bugs have a limited population range. Unlike mealy bugs and aphids, they don’t roam far from their food source . . . your garden area. Once you find an effective way to kill them, you can make serious inroads in controlling the population.
One way to control stink bugs is to use an organic spray which contains spinosad. This organic systemic will kill the pests that infest your fruits and vegetables.
Some treatments available at the Kingwood Garden Center are Captain Jack’s from Bonide and Monterey Garden Spray. Stop by our garden bar for other recommended products.
A second proactive and manual way to get rid of stink bugs is with the use of a ShopVac. Take your Shopvac and vacuum the stink bugs off of your plants. Then spray the ShopVac with a regular insecticide. This will kill the plants without contaminating your plants or soil with toxic chemicals.
Stink Bugs and Assassin Bugs
Assassin bugs (Reduviidae) are beneficial insects that will eat stink bugs and other harmful pests. However, the nymphs of stink bugs and assassin bugs look extremely similar, so much so that it is difficult for the average observer to distinguish between the two.
One rule of thumb for determining whether or not a bug is harmful or helpful is pests tend to swarm while beneficial insects will present themselves individually or here and there.
Still have questions? Take a photo of the bug or bring a specimen by the Kingwood Garden Center for help by our expert staff.