StinkBugs?? ? Will The Extreme Cold Kill Them??

Marmorated Stink Bug

Marmorated Stink Bug

Stink Bug Extinction?

We have had an epic winter that will be listed in the record books for extreme long lasting cold, ice and snow and I am looking for the upside, something that would cheer me up.  I thought maybe our stink bug population would be decimated, as I read that the emerald ash borer could be knocked down with the extreme cold. I was hoping that those darn stink bugs would stop dive bombing my head when I sit down to eat dinner. Wrong!!! The explanation after talking with Dr. Qing-He Zhang, a PhD scientist with Rescue!, is that the stink bug takes cover either in homes or outside in a sheltered location, adapts to these temperatures, and will be back. Darn!, and I was hoping for some good news to tell people.

The brown marmorated stinkbug, Halyomorpha halys, is an exotic that was introduced into Allentown, Pa. in 1996. Go to  http://www.weatherbook.com/Stinkbug/stinkbugs.pdf  for more information about it’s lifecycle and how it entered the United States.

Traps, If You’re Desperate

I hate these bugs so much, that I take extreme measures to get rid of them, which is to trap the suckers. I don’t use traps for any other pest, but I make an exception for stink bugs and will set a few up around my garden. An attractant is inserted in the top of the trap that the stink bugs love, and as long as the fins on the bottom are in contact with a tree or shrub, they march right in and can’t get out. I have been very successful with these and am increasing my number of traps, especially around the veggie garden, which they chew their way through.

For more information on the stink bug traps that are similar to Japanese Beetle ones, go to http://www.rescue.com/.

Stink Bug Trap by Rescue!

Stink Bug Trap by Rescue!

According to entomologist Dr. Zhang “The stink bug and other insects have the ability to super cool themselves when they are in hibernation. Think of it as “antifreeze” inside their bodies that allows them to tolerate sub-zero temperatures”. He continues to burst my bubble by saying, “Insects such as stink bugs, yellow jackets and Japanese beetles also have behavioral means of surviving the winter. Many stink bugs will go indoors, which protects them. Or, they will hide under soil or a tree stump. Japanese Beetles can burrow into the soil several feet down so they’re protected. The snow cover actually helps to provide shelter for any insects overwintering outdoors.” I know snow cover does provides insulating effects for garden plants, preventing frost heaving, so this made sense to me, but I wasn’t happy about it. Snow cover is the reason that many things can survive.

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer burrows under Ash tree bark, eventually killing the tree

Emerald Ash Borer burrows under Ash tree bark, eventually killing the tree

As for the Emerald Ash Borer, which is decimating Ash trees in the United States, Dr. Zhang, says, “Because of the life stage (larvae), and location in which they overwinter, the Emerald Ash Borer population could see a drop in numbers due to the cold. They overwinter as larvae, which is a stage more vulnerable and less tolerant of cold. Also, they position themselves under tree bark, so if the layer of bark is not thick, they may not survive the cold”. Yes! Now, that is good news for Maryland and 23 other states that have been hit hard by this scourge. EAB, or emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002 and has since moved like wildfire and killed many millions of ash trees.  See more at: http://www.emeraldashborer.info/#sthash.eQZqh4yL.dpuf

The emerald Ash Borer is a beautiful insect. but destructive, from Wikipedia

The emerald Ash Borer is a beautiful insect. but destructive, from Wikipedia

The Emerald Ash Borer damages and kills Ash trees by tunneling under the bark, from Wikipedia

The Emerald Ash Borer damages and kills Ash trees by tunneling under the bark, from Wikipedia

Hive Beetles

As any beekeeper is aware, small hive beetles, Aethina tumida, are a beekeeper’s nemesis. These tiny black beetles scurry throughout the hive, eating honey, and weakening and even eventually killing the hive with their activities. Go to http://thegardendiaries.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/the-dreaded-hive-beetle-attacks/   and see my post on my efforts to eradicate these pests in my hives. I asked Dr. Zhang about the emergence of these dreaded apiary pests that burrow into the ground around the hive to overwinter. Again, the answer is that any insect that burrows into the ground will be protected with snow cover. I was disappointed but not surprised. The takeaway from this information is that the Emerald Ash Borer will probably suffer a drop in numbers because of their vulnerability as larvae, and positioning themselves underneath bark which would not be thick enough for adequate shelter. But my other enemies will do just fine.

The larvae of the hive beetle makes a mess of a bee hive. Wikipedia

The larvae of the hive beetle makes a mess of a bee hive. Wikipedia

Small hive beetle, wikipedia

Small hive beetle, wikipedia

About thegardendiaries

Claire Jones is a landscape and floral designer and owner of Claire Jones Landscapes, LLC. She designs and helps people to create their own personal outdoor oasis and loves to write about her gardening failures and successes.
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6 Responses to StinkBugs?? ? Will The Extreme Cold Kill Them??

  1. Gee, when I read the title I was hoping it was going to be true and then I was going to hope the Japanese Beetles would go with them to bug heaven. Oh well. :-)

  2. Oh no, I was hoping you came bearing good news and that I won’t have to look at those ugly bugs again come spring. :-( At least it looks like traps work to get rid of some of them. I’ll give them a try.

  3. zipcoffelt says:

    I wish I could get “into” learning about bugs. But so far, not doing it. Too bad the stink bugs will survive the winter. I’m not sure I will…

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