There’s no getting around the fact that sometimes gardening can stink. That is, if your garden is plagued by stinkbugs. These pesky creatures are big fans of the veggie garden and their presence is not advantageous in any way. In addition to stinking the place up, they can do heavy damage to plants and veggies if the population is large enough, laying eggs to hatch more stinkbugs in the process. Add to that the odor they emit to deter predators and it is safe to say no veggie gardener wants them around.
If you are seeing stinkbugs and/or damage to plants in the form of tiny holes surrounded by a change in plant color, the time to act is now. Although a few stinkbugs isn’t a big deal, a swarm of them is, so it is important to nip them in the bud before their numbers increase. Luckily there are several ways to deter them and treat the problem before it progresses.
Since stinkbugs are attracted to heavy vegetation, you want to start battling them by keeping your garden and surrounding areas tidy. This means removing weeds as well as any debris that might be lingering around. The less hospitable your garden and home areas are to stinkbugs, the more likely they will be to take up residence elsewhere. Of course this alone will not 100% send them packing, but it is an important step in eradication.
Stinkbugs can be repelled by several natural means which are healthier for the garden than heavy chemical repellents may be. A good place to start is with a kaolin clay solution as this will stop feeding as well as reproduction but is safe for plants and veggies. Another option is to mix garlic powder and water and spray onto plants to repel stinkbugs. Mint works in much the same way; mix up some mint essential oil in a spray bottle and administer to plants to send a clear message to stinkbugs that they are not welcome.
Another option is to trap stinkbugs by using their own pheromone odors. Pheromone traps can be purchased that emit a scent that appeals to stinkbugs and draws them inside. Once there, they cannot escape and wind up dying of dehydration. The downside of these traps, however, is that they must be replaced frequently if you have a large stinkbug problem.
Also possible is to let the insects that nature provides do some of the stinkbug eradication work. Stinkbugs have many natural enemies that you can welcome into your garden to gladly do the work for you. Some examples of these include ladybugs, praying mantis, and spiders. Even toads and birds will do their part in picking off a tasty stinkbug snack.
Unfortunately some stinkbug populations don’t want to go down without a fight. In those cases, you may have no choice but to resort to using pesticides. The thing to remember when selecting a pesticide is that stinkbugs are resistant to many of those commonly seen on the market. Therefore, when looking for pesticides to combat stinkbugs, chose those with cypermethrin.
Although stinkbugs can be a pest that won’t give up without a stinky fight, getting rid of them is important to the health of your garden. If you start seeing them, be vigilant from the get-go in order to avoid bigger problems later on. The sooner you get the stink out, the happier and healthier your veggie plants will be!