The other day, in the early days of February, I was sitting on the toilet when what do my wondrous eyes did appear: a stinkbug. This lonely sole was meandering in my bathtub as it tried to find its way to wherever it was headed and I suspected it probably didn’t even know.
My limited knowledge about stink bugs is that they find their way into our homes and indoor refuges through windows and doorways in a mad-dash frenzy to find shelter before the snow blows and wind howls. Only this year, at least so far, the snow hasn’t blown nor the winds howled – at least not in the usual sense of a winter in upstate New York. I have read that stinkbugs are benign creatures who seek no harm unless they are unwittingly, or purposefully, mishandled, crushed or otherwise threatened. It is then that their bodies emit the smell from hell, an odor I have luckily never experienced.
Stinkbugs do have their enemies and the numbers are great. They are an agricultural pest and cause damage to apples, soybeans, peaches, and pears. This is a problem, and surely a reason for what will be their eventual demise. Interestingly, stinkbugs were only just discovered in Allentown, PA in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
Lady bugs are another harmless species and as a child I grew up to believe you were in luck if one landed on you. Technically a beetle, these innocent creatures are actually of benefit to the home gardener because they eat harmful aphids.
So the point is, why hurt these lovely creatures who simply seek to coexist in our human world? As for my little stink bug, I saw one lying upside down in the living room the other day. Was it ‘my stinkbug’? Who knows? Whatever it was, its life cycle was completely out of synch with the normal, early April emergence from ‘over-wintering’. This makes me sad.