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Stink bug control

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Stink bug control

Post  Bayou Life on 4/16/2011, 10:14 am

Is there even such a thing?

These smelly monsters ruined my late crop last year, and I am already plucking them off of my new plants this year. I have started checking for them every day, as well as for eggs, but something tells me that this will be a long, frustrating season.

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Stink bug control

Post  sherryeo on 4/16/2011, 4:29 pm

Bayou Life,

Do I ever feel your pain!!! I had a conventional garden last year here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The stink bugs were horrendous and greatly reduced the harvest from my garden, plus my ability to enjoy gardening! I haven't found anything that helps unless you want to use chemicals, which I don't. I had hoped to use row covers to keep bugs off my plants at least until they start blooming, when I think you're supposed to take the covers off. But I have been searching for the floating row cover and haven't been able to find it in my area yet.

If anybody out there has any more knowledge of how to keep stink bugs from ruling the garden, please let us know!

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  sceleste54 on 4/16/2011, 5:05 pm

I managed to stay ahead of them last year, but one time I did resort to using an organic spray that had pyrethrin in it.. decimated a whole bunch of little ones that way and then washed everything down a couple of days later. I also stopped on my way in from work EVERY day and hand picked. I kept a jar half full of alcohol stuck back in the shade and I'd hold the jar under one and shoo it into the jar.

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/16/2011, 7:39 pm

I just bought a cordless hand vac to keep the buggers under control (hopefully).

I've been researching this topic for a class I'm teaching at our community college next month called "Grow Your Food".

One person said they plant sunflowers about 30 ft away from their tomatoes & the stink bugs "flock" to the flowers instead of the tomatoes. Another proposed the same thing but suggested "intercropping" to confuse the bugs.

Another suggest growing pollen & nectar plants like dill & fennel to attract natural insect enemies - parasitic wasps, tachinid flies, big-eye bugs, assassin bugs & damsel bugs.

Others say "timing is everything" that early & late crops aren't as prone to stink bug invasion. They suggest you avoid planting legumes, peppers, corn & tomatoes (yeh, right) or use floating row covers until the plant need to be pollinated then "patrol" for egg masses.

Still another says we need to be grateful because stink bugs eat other pests that do even more damage to crops.

Is anyone else as confused as I am? :?: :?:

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Stink bug control

Post  sherryeo on 4/16/2011, 8:47 pm

ksroman, Thanks for jumping in! As far as being grateful for the stink bugs because they eat other bugs that do more damage to crops - I've never seen the stink bugs eat anything but my veggies! I find it hard to believe that there could be much worse than them. They were horrendous here last summer. I can see that having an early garden or a later garden might help, but I want my summer garden!

I guess maybe the dwarf sunflowers might work just as well as the giant kind? I don't really like the looks of the huge ones. I have planted some dill in one of my 2 sfgs - so maybe that'll help - it'll be interesting to see. I want the floating row covers, but haven't found them yet.

I have tried to plant as many different veggies & herbs in my squares as possible - though I do have more than 1 tomato and more than 1 square of bush snap beans in each garden. I'm interested to see if the different varieties might actually confuse some of the bugs so that they can't find their "favorites."

I might try the handheld vaccuum - that's an appealing thought. I got pretty obsessive with trying to handpick the darn things last summer - there were so many of them I found it hard to stop because I so hated to leave any of them to munching my veggies.

Please post back if you find out anything else helpful during your research! Desparate for help with this problem (short of chemicals).

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  Bayou Life on 4/16/2011, 9:43 pm

Everyone that I've talked to, between my coast and yours, Sherry, had a serious infestation.

Let me give you guys a list of things I've tried.  

Vacuuming:  seems as fast as you could get them off, there were twice as many that would show up 10 minutes later.  It's as if they were out of the gardens perimeter, just waiting for enough room to have their turn to get in for a taste.

Shaking them off and drowning them in soapy water:  see vacuuming results.

Hitting them with a blast of water:  again, see vacuuming results.

As much as I hated to use chemicals.

 I went out and bought a bottle of liquid sevin:  low and behold, they were gone!  Until the next day, it only killed the ones it came into direct contact with, and then....... well, I was back at square one.

Pyrethrin:  worked great on the little ones, but they were also breeding in other areas, which kept them coming.

I just couldnt get a handle on them, no matter how much I hunted the bugs and eggs.  They won.  My tomatoes were the first victim, then the peppers, then the beans.  I had gotten so frustrated I just ripped everything out and discarded it all.  I really do not like the fact that I'm already seeing them.

Next, I'm going to try a tobacco tea, add a little dish soap, and spray them when I see them.  Which may keep them from breeding in my garden, but it won't do much for them breeding in other areas.

  I've been spraying neem oil on the plants to see if that may help also.  (This is a little off topic, but I sprayed a couple of fire ant mounds with the neem, and it seemed to keep them at bay.)  I figured that if it kept those little bad guys out, which is a fight within itself, well just maybe it will do the same with the stink bugs..... my fingers are crossed.

KS,

I have heard about the sunflowers, but from what I understand they shouldn't be planted close to the garden.  The reason is because they would probably attract MORE stinkers into the garden.  If I had enough room to plant some away from the garden, I would definitely try it.

From what I've read, there are only a handful of beneficial (predatory) stink bug species,  but the species that caused the infestation that we had along the coast here, unfortunately, didn't fall into that category.  I did find some of the beneficial ones in my garden, but when I sprayed the sevin dust, I'm sure they became casualties along with some of my other beneficials.

I also read that they have no natural enemy in the States, because the stink bugs (at least the brown, green, and speckled guys that were in my garden) are invasive species from other parts of the world.  Like the fire ant, there is no native insect  that will keep them in check.

I did hear, however, that chickens will gobble them up.  This is another option that I'd like to try, but the coyotes in the sugarcane field behind my place would love that too much.

On the plus side, I haven't found one cut worm, hornworm, or aphid yet.  Although, I think I would rather fight them because I could control those much better. Rolling Eyes

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Stink bug control

Post  sherryeo on 4/16/2011, 10:20 pm

I know, they do seem indestructible. I live in city limits and I don't think they'd let me keep chickens even if I wanted to! I read a magazine article that said that guineas would eat squash bugs. I don't know whether they'd eat stink bugs. But the article said that the guineas won't destroy plantings like chickens will with their "nonstop scratching." Course, I can't keep guineas in city limits, either.

The person in the article said that they put an electric net fencing around the plants to keep the guineas in the garden. I don't know if that's exactly humane, though. He also suggests clipping their wings to prevent flying to help keep them from escaping, also. I don't know enough about the animals to know if that's inhumane treatment - but don't think I'd like it if I was a guinea! Hhhhmm, maybe a cage made of chicken wire or something like I saw on another post would keep them penned into the garden - could probably manage that with a sfg, but not a huge traditional garden.

Stink bugs got my tomatoes last year, too, and when I pulled those plants up & disposed of them, the stink bugs went after my tomatillos, which I've read are "rarely bothered by insects." I have tried most of the things you mention, too. I haven't tried the row covers and hope to find some before I start having troubles with insects - just got my garden planted so haven't noticed anything bothering them yet.

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  shannon1 on 4/17/2011, 4:36 am

The best way I have found to keep them off my toms and peppers is floating row cover. These plants do not need insects to pollenate them it is done by the wind so you can leave it on all season. I get mine from Gardens Alive but I am sure lots of places must carry it. Make sure it is not the same weight you use for frost protection as there is a chance the heat will build up too high under it. If you can't cover the whole plant like with summer squash that need bees, just make pouches to cover the fruit after it is set making sure it is large enough for the mature fruit. Hope this helps. Oh, and asassin bugs are bennifical insects related to stink bugs, but stink bugs do not eat other insects just your plants.

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  Ha-v-v on 4/17/2011, 7:55 am

I use this to kill bugs of some types Organocide. Its a fish oil, sesame oil based thing.

http://www.organiclabs.com/organic_labs_home_lawn_garden_organocide_product.htm

I wonder if this will work on the stink bugs. I havent had that bad of an issue with them here in southwest Ms. but I use this for other things.
Ha-v-v

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/17/2011, 8:17 am

LOL I hope people realize that I was just "throwing out" what I've read in my research so far and am NOT endorsing any method. I hope my level of frustration was evident.

Regarding the sunflowers, it seems to me that the "drink red wine for your heart" vs. "red wine will shrink your brain" syndrome is alive and well in this issue too. Bayou, I believe like you do, that it seems ludicrous to put them IN with the tomatoes. Kinda like a blinking neon "OPEN" sign as far as I'm concerned.

It would be great to find some SCIENTIFIC studies on stink bugs. If anyone runs across anything CREDIBLE, please forward it on to me.

Thanks,
Kim

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  Bayou Life on 4/17/2011, 10:07 am

KS,
Sure we realize that. Smile If there is one important thing that I've learned in life, it's this: "one can never learn too much".  Sharing research and past experiences gives back the precious time that it takes to learn it all on our own.  Your frustration was evident.  Could you imagine ours?  With 10-15 stink bugs on a tomato (not counting the ones climbing on the plant itself), for every tomato on your plant, for every plant in the garden.  They would get discarded and would be back again 20 minutes later.  I'm sure even our frustration is nothing compared to the folks whose homes get invaded.

I'm not at all saying that the different methods that I tried in my garden last year wouldn't work elsewhere.  It did not work here, because we were just overrun with them.  It was by far, THE worst year I've ever seen.  I haven't found anything solid on controlling these things.  So far, the only solid proof of "control" I have found thru research is prevention.  Of course, they tell me some of the same things you listed, "keep from planting the plants that they love".  Or, "cut the foliage".  Well,  I happen to love those same plants, and I really doubt that I would have much of a garden without foliage.  Lol.  I will go out today and figure out where I could place some sunflowers.  I wonder if they would grow well in a pot?  Anyhow,  I have these first two sites that list a couple of the beneficial guys.  The latter is an article from your part of the country, which may be some good news for the future.  

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/CropNews/2010/0816ritsonhodgson.htm

http://www.lsuagcenter.com/NR/rdonlyres/2D86C691-D443-42DF-B0E3-BF401EBB8117/20143/StinkBugsandLeaffootedBugs.pdf

http://www.gazette.net/stories/03192011/frednew91759_32548.php

Shannon,
Do you know what type of material that is used on the covers?  I did a search for them, and only came up with the frost protection. Besides that, I couldn't find anything tall enough for tomatoes and beans.  I figure I could build my own custom frames and cover them, if I know what type of material to use.  Thanks.

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  walshevak on 4/17/2011, 5:08 pm

Do you know what type of material that is used on the covers? I did a search for them, and only came up with the frost protection. Besides that, I couldn't find anything tall enough for tomatoes and beans. I figure I could build my own custom frames and cover them, if I know what type of material to use. Thanks.





Nylon bridal veil tulle, 108" wide will work. Usually $2.99 at Joanne's Fabrics, but they are having a coupon promotion this week and you can get a 50% off coupon. I just bougt 15 yds.


Kay

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  Bayou Life on 4/17/2011, 10:22 pm

Thanks Kay.

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  shannon1 on 4/18/2011, 1:06 am

This is what I have always used as the no heat build up is critical here.










































82274Super-Light Insect Barrier 8 ft x 20 ft Barrier
1+ $9.95 Qty
2002Super-Light Insect Barrier 8 ft x 48 ft Barrier
1+ $19.95 Qty
2003Super-Light Insect Barrier 8 ft x 96 ft Barrier
1 - 2 $34.95 Qty
3+ $29.95




Super-Light Insect Barrier

Keeps out hungry insects

This lightweight row cover is an excellent all-season insect shield. Our customers confirm field trial results, in which Super-Light Insect Barrier stops crop damage from Mexican bean beetles, cabbageworms, cabbage maggots, carrot weevils, Colorado potato beetles, cucumber beetles, flea beetles, leafhoppers, leafminers, squash bugs, squash vine borers and other pests.

Translucent polypropylene fabric transmits 95% of sunlight but causes almost no heat buildup, so you can leave covers on all summer without harming heat-sensitive plants. (Remove covers at bloom time for crops that need insect pollination.) Cut to any size. Lasts one or two seasons.

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The hand vac worked quite well!

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/25/2011, 8:59 pm

FYI when they took the shutters off my house today I found where the little buggers have been hiding/nesting.

Just wanted to let everyone know that my cordless hand vac did a GREAT job of taking care of them. I was able to dump them into a plastic sack, tie the top & throw them in the trash.

____________________________

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Stink bug control

Post  sherryeo on 4/25/2011, 9:22 pm

Thanks, ksroman, for remembering our interest in this subject and for posting your experience here. I also saw your other post about this today. The stinkers don't seem to have hit my area too much as yet, but I'm sure they'll be coming as the weather heats up more and more.

For those of us who are bothered so much by these bugs, let's try to remember to post hints or news here as we hear it - try to help each other or at least keep each other up to date as to what's going on with our gardens and the bugs.

Thanks again for posting!

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  shannon1 on 4/25/2011, 11:38 pm

No stink bugs yet did have a couple of days were the fl.biglegged leaf bugs were out and about but a lot more interested in eachother Wink than the garden when the offspring arrive it will be a different story. Great job finding the stinkers overwintering place and high tech./nontoxic removal.

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  sceleste54 on 4/25/2011, 11:48 pm

Those Leaf-Footed bugs were my main problem last year..I've GOT to get me one of those hand held vacs soon, that sounds like the way to go..I pulled some of my onions, beet greens, and sugar snap peas tonight for supper and I really do want to continue to do without any pesticides. It sure was nice to pick those items and know for sure that there was no risk of ingesting nasty stuff cause I GREW IT !!

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  shannon1 on 4/26/2011, 12:09 am

I am so sold on the SL insect barrier I use it in every garden except the container vegies. Can't wait to post pics.

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Re: Stink bug control

Post  Bayou Life on 4/26/2011, 12:37 am

Great job! I've been trying to do the same. Sucking and picking them off when I find them. Maybe that will slow reproduction down a tad. Hopefully, I'll have some tulle up in a couple of weeks.

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Re: Stink bug control

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