This time of year, lots of delicious things are ready to eat: peppers, eggplants, and especially tomatoes. And who wants to eat them? Stink bugs.
Unfortunately, stink bugs can get to your tomatoes before you do. Gardening expert Bill Finch says there are lots of varieties. In the case of leaf-footed stink bugs, they have leaf-shaped feet at the ends of their legs. The young, orange, hungry little ones swarm your plants and quickly turn into hungry big ones. They poke holes in your tomatoes and often inject bacteria there, too.
So what do you do?
One thing is to plant a “catch crop” to draw the stinkbugs away from your precious tomatoes. Bill uses cardoons, a cousin of the artichoke. Once the stink bugs swarm the cardoon, Bill squishes them. That’s right. Squishes. He says a lot of people will also use small, portable vacuum cleaners and suck those nasty bugs right off the plant. No kidding, Bill says it works great.
For the bigger, uglier version—the giant stink bug—Bill uses what he calls “the Gloves of Death,” He puts on thick gardening gloves, then catches the bugs and squeezes…gardening is not for the faint of heart.
While there are some pesticides that can be used on young stink bugs, Bill says most are ineffective and you don’t want them on things you’ll be eating later. Catching and squishing remains the most effective way to combat the hungry stinkers.
Learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Bill’s radio show Sunday mornings 9-11 am on 106.5FM.